Dr Marianna Stella is a Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Education at the School of Social Sciences and Humanities. Marianna is the Course Leader for the BA (Hons) Childhood and BA (Hons) Childhood: Primary Education with QTS courses.
Marianna’s main areas of focus are around development of educational practice, teacher training, Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), dyslexia, inclusive education and widening participation. Marianna is an expert in SpLD, dyslexia and effective strategies for children and people with SpLD in education.
Career overview and Qualifications
Marianna completed a BEd (Hons) in Primary Education Studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece. She then continued on to complete an MA in SpLD (dyslexia) at UCL Institute of Education. During her Master’s, Marianna trained as a specialist dyslexia teacher and assessor while gaining an Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA).
In 2015, Marianna undertook a funded PhD in Psychology at the University of East Anglia (UEA) with Dr Paul Engelhardt, which she completed in 2019. Her thesis focused on examining the comprehension, processing and eye movements during reading of sentences with complex syntax in dyslexic adults and adolescents. As part of her PhD research, she also examined potential cognitive factors that are involved in processing of complex syntax in sentences, like working memory.
Marianna has taught as an Associate Tutor in the BA in Education and the BSc in Psychology at UEA. She has also worked as a SpLD Adviser at the Student Support Services at UEA.
Marianna initially joined the University of Suffolk as an Occasional Lecturer teaching in the FdA Early Years Practice, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and BA (Hons) Early and Primary Education programmes.
Marianna teaches in a variety of modules around practice, education and inclusion in the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies Graduate Practitioner and BA (Hons) Early and Primary Education Studies.
More specifically she is the module leader for the following modules:
Year 2: SEND and Inclusion, Developing Practice GP1
Year 3: Professional Practice GP2
Marianna is supervising undergraduate and postgraduate taught dissertations, as well as postgraduate research/doctorate students.
Marianna’s research interests are located within the field of psychology, psycholinguistics and education, as she is interested in applying the knowledge and research in SpLD to education and effective interventions. Marianna is interested in sentence comprehension, specific learning difficulties, dyslexia, language processing and eye tracking. Methodologically, Marianna has experience with both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
Marianna is currently part of the PhD supervisory team of Jude Dzregah, who is investigating the experiences of trainee teachers while in placement.
Please email Marianna if you would like to do a PhD, gain research experience or discuss a potential collaboration.
Marianna is currently the principal investigator for a project with nurtureuk, which is evaluating the impact of nurture interventions and programmes in schools across London.
- Cognitive ability testing and learning difficulties diagnostic assessments for children and adults
- WISC, CTOPP, PhAB, TOMAL, SWST, DASH, WRIT, YARC, WAIS
- Experimental control and programming software: SR Research Experiment Builder, SR Research Data Viewer
- Data analysis: SPSS, Excel
- Other software used in research, teaching and public engagement: PowerPoint, BlackBoard, Brightspace
Selected publications (see ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9562-8225 for full listing)
Stella, M. and Boggis, A. (2023). ‘Capturing narratives: the ordinary lives of young disabled people’, in Richards, S. and Coombs, S. (ed) Critical Perspectives on Research with Children Reflexivity, Voice, Interdependence, Agency and Ethics. Bristol: Bristol University Press. https://bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/critical-perspectives-on-research-with-children
Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO) (2022). Summer Schools in the time of Covid-19: Interim findings on the impact of widening participation. https://taso.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Report_Summer-schools-in-the-time-of-Covid-19_Interim-findings-on-the-impact-on-widening-participation.pdf
Stella, M., & Engelhardt, P. E. (2022). Use of Parsing Heuristics in the Comprehension of Passive Sentences: Evidence from Dyslexia and Individual Differences. Brain Sciences, 12(2), 209. MDPI AG. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12020209
Stella, M., & Engelhardt, P. E. (2021). Comprehension and eye movements in the processing of subject- and object-relative clauses: Evidence from dyslexia and individual differences. Brain Sciences, 11(7), 915. MDPI AG. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11070915
Stella, M., & Engelhardt P.E. (2019) Syntactic ambiguity resolution in dyslexia: An examination of cognitive factors underlying eye movement differences and comprehension failures. Dyslexia, 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.1613
Marianna was part of the conference team organising the Children and Childhoods Conferences, the latest of which took place in July 2022.
Marianna is part of the editorial team of Childhood Remixed, the online journal of the Centre for the Study of Children and Childhood (CSCC).
Stella, M. (2021) Sentence comprehension and eye movements in adolescents with dyslexia. Talk presented at Inclusive and Supporting Education Conference, UCL Institute of Education.
Stella, M. (2021) Sentence comprehension and eye movements in adolescents with dyslexia. Talk presented at British Dyslexia Association International Conference 2021, Virtual conference.
Stella, M. & Engelhardt, P. E. (2019) Sentence comprehension and eye movements in adolescents with dyslexia. Talk presented at Children and Childhoods Conference, University of Suffolk, Ipswich.
Stella, M. (2018) Sentence processing in dyslexia: An examination of eye movements and comprehension. Participation in School of Psychology Micro-conference and Three-Minute thesis competition, University of East Anglia.
Stella, M. & Engelhardt, P. E. (2018) Eye movements in dyslexia: An analysis of sentence comprehension and underlying risk factors. Talk presented at British Dyslexia Association Conference, Telford.
Stella, M. & Engelhardt, P. E. (2016) Can dyslexic readers get off the Garden Path? An analysis of underlying comorbid risk factors. Poster presented at ‘Using eye movements to study literacy development’ Experimental Psychology Society-funded workshop in Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton.
Stella, M. & Engelhardt, P. E. (2016) Can dyslexic readers get off the Garden Path? An analysis of underlying comorbid risk factors. Talk presented at Neurodevelopmental Disorders Annual Seminar, London.
Stella, M. (2021) Dyslexia as a Neurodevelopmental Difference in Children and Adults. Virtually streamed invited webinar, Brainside (https://lectures.brainside.org/courses/dyslexia)
Stella, M. (2020) Can dyslexic readers get off the Garden Path? An examination of sentence comprehension and eye movements. Invited talk at Research Community Seminar Series, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Suffolk, Ipswich.
Stella, M. (2019) Can dyslexics get off the Garden Path?: Examining eye movements in psycholinguistics. Invited talk at Language and Linguistics at Christmas workshop, University of Suffolk, Ipswich.
Stella, M. (2019) Supporting students with SpLD. Invited talk presented at Pre-Hospital Educators Symposium, University of East Anglia, Norwich.
Marianna is interested in sharing her knowledge and expertise in SpLD with researchers, practitioners and the wider public.
Marianna has been frequently invited to deliver and participate in workshops and training events for teachers and trainee teachers on effective strategies for children with literacy difficulties and SpLD. She would be very interested in making further contacts with educational settings, practitioners, teachers and training providers to share her experience and expertise.
Marianna delivered a Bitesized recorded session on SpLD, Employability and Employment, as part of Together with Business Project with Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC) at University of Suffolk in the summer of 2020.
Following on from that, Marianna delivered a Lunch ‘n’ Learn session on the strengths of SpLD (like dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and dyscalculia), for employers and job applicants in an effort to raise awareness as part of Dyslexia Awareness Week, Dyspraxia Awareness Week and ADHD Awareness Month in October 2020.
Marianna is a Social Media Champion for the Childhood and Education courses within the School of Social Sciences and Humanities.
Fellowship of Higher Education Academy/Advance Higher Education (FHEA)
Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA)