UCI Grad Division selected fourth-year doctoral students Sharin Jacob and Sirui Wan as finalists for the 2021 Grad Slam Competition.
Grad Slam participants are selected for the quality of a three-minute presentation of their research, suitable for a lay audience. Jacob and Wan are among 10 UCI finalists selected from a group of 50 semi-finalists.
"Expanding the computer access pipeline is a critical issue for our nation," said Professor Mark Warschauer, Jacob’s advisor. "Jacob's research on developing computer science curriculum for diverse elementary school students is making an invaluable contribution toward that goal."
Associate Professor Drew Bailey and Distinguished Professor Jacquelynne Eccles serve as his advisors.
“Sirui’s work is important for understanding how students come to view themselves as being stronger students in math or reading over time,” Bailey said. “Sirui is doing strong work, and we’re proud of him for making the Grad Slam Finals!”
Grad Slam is a UC systemwide competition that showcases and awards the best three-minute research presentations by graduate scholars. The competition is designed to showcase graduate scholars and their research, while encouraging graduate students' communication skills and their capacity to effectively present their work with poise and confidence. The event is open to the public.
On March 4, the student presenting the best three-minute explanation of their research will be declared the UCI Grad Slam Champion and will advance to a system-wide UC Grad Slam Competition in May.
Sharin Jacob -- Learning computer science (CS) provides access not only to high-paying jobs, but also the power and influence that comes from designing the technologies, entertainment, and businesses of tomorrow. Unfortunately, multilingual students do not have the same access to CS as native English speakers. We represent the first team in the country to develop a CS curriculum designed to help predominantly Latinx, multilingual students from low-income backgrounds learn CS. Upper elementary students code in a child-friendly language that helps them learn about foundational CS concepts. More importantly, we added culturally responsive materials and linguistic scaffolding to help students develop CS and language skills. We are rolling this curriculum out to all 4,000 fourth grade students in the district, eventually reaching Santa Ana’s 53,000 students. In elementary school there is no dedicated time for CS instruction during the school day. Our project provides a protected 50 minutes of CS instruction weekly for all fourth-grade students in the district. This initiative will provide early CS exposure to diverse students and build our nation's diverse talent in the field.
Sirui Wan -- When students make self-evaluations, they may not only use information from interindividual comparisons with others (i.e., social comparison), but also use information from intraindividual comparisons across domains such as math and language arts (i.e., dimensional comparison). Dimensional comparisons play a key role in specialization, and it may have implications for education policies and interventions aimed at promoting students’ motivation in school and cultivating talent development. However, there is a lack of empirical work on investigating the developmental changes in dimensional comparisons and the mechanisms underlying such changes. To help address this gap, my research focuses on changes in dimensional comparisons during K-12. I found that students’ reliance on dimensional comparisons to form motivational beliefs increases across the K-12 school years. In addition, I found that the increase in dimensional comparisons may result from 1) the increase in students’ ability to make dimensional comparisons and 2) the increase in their tendency to use dimensional comparison information in ability self-evaluation.