Education Researcher

Gemma Cooper-Novack
Photo by Edward Grattan

Gemma recently received her doctorate in Literacy Education from Syracuse University, where her work focused on the affective experiences and writer identities of adolescent writers in out-of-school spaces, particularly those who are LGBTQ+. Gemma’s dissertation, “A Sense of Safe Connection”: An Affective Narrative Exploration with Queer Teenage Writers in an Out-of-School Time Space, received the 2022-2023 All University Doctoral Prize. She spent the 2022-2023 school year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Literacy Education at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY.

  • Cooper-Novack, G., & Jones, K. (2022). Creative writing as a way of knowing each other in digital spaces. In T. S. Hodges (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Teacher Practices for Diverse Writing Instruction (pp. 70–87). IGI Global.
  • Coleman, J.J., Schey, R., Blackburn, M.V., Brochin, C., Cooper-Novack, G., Crawley, S.A., Cruz, C., Dutro, E., Helton, J., Islam, A., Jiménez, I., Johnson, L., Lizárraga, J.R., Shrodes, A., Simon, R., Wickens, C.M., Young, C.A. (2022). Intergenerational queer method(ologies): Dialogues in literacy research. Literacy research: Theory, method, and practice, 71(1), pp. 1-19.
  • Cooper-Novack, G. & Nordquist, B. (2022). Unsettling community and university:  Finding fluidity in community literacies and the academy. In Henry, L., & Stahl, N., eds. A field guide to community literacy: Case studies and tools for praxis, evaluation, and research. Taylor & Francis.
  • Cooper-Novack, G. (2021). Curation. English Journal, 110(3), 47.
  • Cooper-Novack, G. (2020). Sonnet for Sixth Grade. English Journal, 110(1), 105.
  • Vaughn, M., Jang, B.G., Sotirovska, V., & Cooper-Novack, G. (2020). Student agency in literacy: A systematic review of the literature. Reading Psychology, 41(7), 712-734.
  • Berger, E. & Cooper-Novack, G. (2013). Inclusive practices for graduate students with disabilities: A writing coach model. NASPA Knowledge Communities.
  • Cooper-Novack, G. & Jones, K. (2022). Affective experiences of marginalized adolescent writers on Zoom: A cross-case synthesis. Literacy Research Association, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Cooper-Novack, G. & Jones, K. (2022). Creative writing as a way of knowing each other in digital spaces. American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.
  • Cooper-Novack, G. (2022). New self-portraits: Deep dialogue to create poetic texts. Central New York Reading Council Conference (virtual).
  • Cooper-Novack, G., & Johnson, L.P. (2021). Dialogue on intergenerational queer methods. Literacy Research Association (virtual).
  • Cooper-Novack, G., Nordquist, B., Laila, A., Mohamed, K., & Mohamed, R. (2021). Creating sustainable arts literacy programming for refugee youth through partnership. Conference on Community Writing (virtual).
  • Storm, S., Cooper-Novack, G., Lund, V.K., & Starling-Davis, E. (2020). Agency and justice through creative writing in and out of school. Literacy Research Association. (accepted, not presented due to COVID-19)
  • Cooper-Novack, G. (2020). Multiliteracies in a shared language of US-based out-of-school time
  • programs. American Educational Research Association Conference, San Francisco, CA. (accepted, not presented due to COVID-19)
  • Cooper-Novack, G. (2020). Collective writing exercises to build relationships in literacy classrooms. Central New York Reading Council Conference, Syracuse, NY.
  • Cooper-Novack, G. (2019). Creating collaborative writing with refugee-background youth. National Council of Teachers of English Conference, Baltimore, MD.
  • Nordquist, B., Cooper-Novack, G., Robinson, M.J., & Farah, H. (2019). Community literacy and
  • superdiversity: Doing the work across time, space, and culture. Conference on Community Writing, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Cooper-Novack, G. (2019). How critical audience shapes authorship: The resuscitation of the author. Conference on College Composition and Communication, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Cooper-Novack, G. (2019). Why fiction? A systematic literature review of fiction writing pedagogy in secondary school curricula. American Educational Research Association, Toronto, ON, CA.
  • Jang, B.G. & Cooper-Novack, G. (2019). How preservice teachers exercise agency in planning and executing two distinct ELA lessons in a mediated field experience. American Educational Research Association, Toronto, ON, CA.
  • Jang, B.G., Roy-Campbell, Z., & Cooper-Novack, G. (2018). Bridging the gap between preservice teachers’ coursework and fieldwork: Mediated field experience (MFE) in an elementary ELA methods course. Literacy Research Association, Palm Springs, CA.
  • Berger, E.C., Cooper-Novack, G., & Hussein, Y. (2014). More time is not enough: Supporting graduate students with learning disabilities using a writing coach model, a case study. Conference on Equity and Social Justice, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.
  • Abdel Ghani, K., Cooper-Novack, G., Gill, M.F. & Kittredge, S. (2014). The Brighton Word Factory: Fun collaborative writing exercises. Massachusetts Poetry Festival, Salem, MA.
  • Conference Committee, New York State Reading Association (2023)
  • Graduate Committee Member / New Media Scholarship Co-Chair, Writing and Literacies SIG, American Educational Research Association (2020–2022)
  • President, Open Doors LGBTQ+ Grad Students Organization, Syracuse University (2017–2022)
  • Student Representative,School of Education Assembly, Syracuse University (2018–2019)
  • Teaching Mentor, The Graduate School, Syracuse University (2018–2021)

Gemma connects with her students in rich and meaningful way. She never sees a room full of students, but rather a room full of humans ready to explore and experience the world together.



You were my favorite enrichment teacher that I ever had.


student, age 10

Gemma … arrived in Ghana on day one to call on all the schools where we have relationships through our scholarship program. She recruited two co-teachers so that what she would organize over the next six months would be carried forward and be sustained (and it has!). When she started teaching her curriculum I must admit to skepticism. Until I witnessed her teaching and the class interaction. Theater done the way Gemma does it is multi-variable, where each child participating develops leadership, management and peer accountability. Original storytelling helps each child face their own hurts and hurdles, often very serious -- the plays are written by the kids to represent the lives they have to deal with in a setting with such great poverty.


Founder, WomensTrust

Contact me to collaborate on writing, editing, education, and theater!

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