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Erica Lembke2013 Rising Alumni

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Erica Lembke works with teachers, students, and schools to help improve services for students with disabilities and those who are struggling. She serves as president-elect on the board for the national Division for Learning Disabilities and volunteers extensively with the Council for Exceptional Children.


Associate Professor
Department of Special Education, University of Missouri

CEHD Degree

Ph.D., Educational Psychology

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

I think of Stan Deno and his words often. He manages to always remain humble, even in light of significant achievement. He is a noble and ethical scholar, and imparts that wisdom to others. He pushed me, but also supported me immensely. I couldn't have gotten through the program without him, and his support, training, and guidance have been with me as I've begun my career. In particular, I always appreciate his focus on a balance between work, family, and personal commitments.

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

Spending time with students and faculty in Burton Hall, making the long walk across the Washington Avenue bridge to the West Bank library in frigid temperatures, getting my first experiences in teaching and research from my mentors, and delicious burgers and fries at Annie’s Parlor.

What is a fun fact about you?

I have moved more than 15 times in my life. I guess you would say I'm pretty resilient!

What skills are important to succeed as a young professional today?

Keep a fine balance of expertise and humble understanding. Network. Take advantage of opportunities that come your way. Work hard and put in extra hours when it is important. Spend time on personal goals, as well as work goals. Seek out others you are interested in collaborating with. Maintain contacts over time.

What was the impact and benefit of your experience in CEHD?

My time in CEHD was invaluable. When I tell people where I completed my doctorate, it is always met with a smile and a nod, indicating that people know of the reputation of the college. The partnerships that I have developed as a result of the relationships I formed at Minnesota have carried forward. I continue to collaborate with both former peers and colleagues, but also current CEHD faculty whose areas of expertise overlap with my own. I will always consider the college “home.”