Hua (Elaine) Luo received her BA in Education Sciences in December 2018 with two specialization: (a) Early Childhood Learning and Development and (b) Research and Evaluation. She minored in Accounting. Below Hua reflects upon her decision to pursue her college education in the U.S. and shares how her experiences have encouraged her to conduct research with the goal of cultivating youths' strength with quality educational programs.
I was born and raised in China for the first 17 years of my life. I went to an elementary school that was close to home for six years and then went to an international school for the second half of my K-12 journey. It was in that school that I learned of the option of studying abroad in another county. At the time, it was a big decision for me to make - whether I should leave my hometown, my family, and my friends. After talking to my parents and a long debate with myself, at the age of 14, I gave up the chance of taking the “Gaokao” exam, a test every Chinese student takes to get into college, and started my plan of coming to the United States. I had no idea which school I would attend and what the future would hold. Looking back at that moment after graduating from UCI, I would say it was the right decision to make.
When I entered UC Irvine as a freshman in 2016 majoring in Education, I was curious to find out how the U.S. education system is different from what I have experienced in China, what role does culture play in forming the educational system and policies, and what is the future trend of education from a global view. The UC Irvine School of Education was the best place for me to get those answers. It provided a platform for people from various backgrounds who were passionate about education to learn, discuss, and make changes in a student's life. I was moved by the great passion my professors had in their careers. Despite the fact that they came with different backgrounds - some of them were practitioners and some of them were researchers - they all influenced me deeply with their cutting-edge opinions and their faith in the importance of education. Slowly, I came to a conclusion that no matter how different Chinese culture and American culture are, education would always be the foundation of people’s lives, which helped me solidify my interest in becoming an educational researcher.
With the numerous questions I had on how to help children reach their best potentials, I joined Dr. Reich’s Development in Social Context lab trying to find more answers. I was lucky enough to be part of Joanna Yao's study (Joanna was my graduate student mentor), and I participated in different stages of the research project. Through this experience, I formed a research interest in understanding how parents help their youth make a good decision when using mobile devices. In the 21st century, where much learning takes place online, students’ time out of school is also crucial to their development. As a digital-native myself, my parents and I had problems finding the balances between using and overusing the Internet. Under the guidance of Dr. Reich and Joanna, I started my own project on this interesting topic and applied to the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) at UCI. Fortunately, I received funding from the program and was able to present my research results to a broader audience, including practitioners, parents, and researchers.
During my time at UCI, I gained many other practical experiences working closely with college students as a Learning Assistant for the Statistics class as well as with preschoolers at the Early Childhood Education Center. Moreover, I have also learned advanced research methods and analysis in Dr. Simpkins’ Project Reach lab when exploring the effect of quality after-school programs on youth developmental outcomes. It was these students, professors, and graduate student mentors that kept me going on this path full of unfamiliarity. Thanks to them, I will continue to pursue a career in conducting research with the goal of cultivating youths' strength with quality educational programs.
Looking forward, I am excited to go get my Master’s degree at Harvard Graduate School of Education in Human Development and Psychology and then pursue a Ph.D. degree in the field. I am grateful of the decision I made when I was a 14-year-old girl, and I am appreciative of all the challenging faculties and students at UCI that helped me grow to a better version of myself and will keep on inspiring me to become a better educator.
Presenting Research at SRCD, 2019
Audrey Mosley is a senior double majoring in Education Sciences and Psychology and Social Behavior. As an undergraduate, she joined Stephanie Reich's research lab, studying how mobile devices affect children's behavior. This spring she will be sharing her research during UCI Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program on May 18 at the UCI Student Center. Below she reflects upon her educational experiences and her choice of UCI.
I was born and raised in Marin County, California in a wonderful and loving home. My two parents and four older siblings created an extremely supportive and warm environment, resulting in an unforgettable childhood experience. Growing up in Northern California, I knew little about anywhere outside of my Bay Area bubble, but attending my more diverse high school in San Francisco opened my eyes up to being open to and exploring new places. Although my commute to school in San Francisco was only a 30-minute drive out of Marin County, this is where and how I became comfortable with the idea of finding comfort in new and different spaces.
When it came to the college application process, I vividly remember being confused and unsure of where I wanted to go. Because of the uncertainty I held and my great fear of the future, I ended up applying to over 15 different schools with the hope that I would choose the best fit for me once the results come out.
One of my closest friends decided on applying to, and eventually selecting, UC Irvine. This influenced me to visit the campus in the spring of my senior year of high school, which is when I ended up falling in love with the campus and culture of UCI during my tour. I knew instantly in that moment that this is where I would spend the next four years of my life.
Like many other college students, I hit roadblocks during my first year at UCI, such as homesickness, switching majors, and other typical struggles of being a college student. However, I eventually found my path as a double major in Education Sciences and Psychology & Social Behavior. One of the main influences for my choice to major in Education Sciences comes from my mom being a teacher, since she has always been my biggest support system and role model. UC Irvine ended up being the perfect fit for me, and I was able to join various organizations to explore interests that I didn’t even realize I had, such as becoming a SPOP (Student Parent Orientation Program) orientation leader and a member of Soulstice League, a sketch comedy group, where I got to perform in front of hundreds of UCI students.
I am passionate in the fields of child development and education. I was given the opportunity to become a research assistant in the School of Education under the supervision or Professor Stephanie Reich and graduate student Wendy Ochoa. My focus has been on the influence of mobile devices on the quality of caregiver-child interactions, and specifically how devices affect children’s behaviors. This research interest motivated me to apply and participate in UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program), where I was granted funding to continue researching this topic. Gaining research experience has been an extremely vital part of my college experience, as it has inspired me to wish to continue researching areas of child and adolescent development in graduate school.
I am extremely grateful for all of the wonderful experiences and opportunities that UC Irvine has allowed me to have. Because I now consider UCI to be my second home, I will miss it dearly when I graduate this spring.
PhD in Education student Hye Rin Lee has been awarded a 2019 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) Fellowship. Fellowships are awarded to graduate students whose proposed research has the potential to advance knowledge and understanding (intellectual merit) and benefit society/advance societal outcomes. Hye Rin will be focusing her research on social media, physics identity, and women's motivation. She is advised by Distinguished Professor Jacquelynne Eccles.
To succeed in physics, students must maintain a high motivation. One way to enhance continuing motivation in physics is through role models who have persisted in physics. The underrepresentation of women in physics reduces the likelihood that young women will have such role models. Social media could offer such female role models. YouTube is a free, popular, and widely accessible platform that could provide positive role models who major in physics, enjoy the subject, and plan to enter physics careers that are interesting, important, and compatible with many women’s life goals. These images could support viewers’ continuing a “sense of identification” with physics and help female students believe that “if she can do this, I can too.” In turn, as proposed by various theories (e.g., belonging, expectancy-value, identity theory, etc.), the resulting “physics identity” could promote women’s physics interest, course-taking, and persistence, especially if the videos involve stories of overcoming adversity, enjoying physics learning, and exciting careers as physicists. Therefore, in this study, we attempt to examine the following questions: 1. Can physics role models on YouTube increase the academic motivation for female college students in physic classes? 2. Does this intervention promote female college students’ physics interest and increase physics course grades? 3. How long will the effect persist?
PhD in Education student Alexandria Nicole Weaver has been awarded a 2019 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) Fellowship. Fellowships are awarded to graduate students whose proposed research has the potential to advance knowledge and understanding (intellectual merit) and benefit society/advance societal outcomes. Alexandria will be focusing her research on factors influencing math achievement. She is advised by Associate Professor Susanne Jaeggi.
Math education typically involves a great deal of attention to auditory instruction in the classroom, and success in higher-level mathematics is highly dependent on verbal ability as well as on general executive and working memory (WM) skills. Ability to control attention is a significant contributing factor to differences in WM performance, therefore, this fundamental component of the learning process is essential to effectively integrate and manipulate information to solve complex problems present in one’s math class. Given that plasticity is greatest amongst young children, interventions aimed at strengthening WM skills during childhood may be particularly beneficial. Cognitive training targeting WM has shown promise that requires further investigation. Another form of “training” that is recognized as beneficial to WM development is engaging in music practice, as musical engagement provides an abundance of benefits to cognitive functions, especially improvements in auditory attention. Interventions targeting the development of auditory attention skills could lead to improvements in WM, and therefore improve academic success. Although enrolling students in music lessons seems promising, that is not feasible or accessible for many students and families that struggle financially or who otherwise do not have access to those kinds of resources. My proposal seeks to provide an alternative method of WM training, focusing specifically on improving auditory attention skills, an essential component of WM. I propose an innovative, accessible, cost-effective form of training that utilizes music to specifically target auditory attention, as attention could be a potential mediator between WM and math achievement.
PhD in Education student Daniela Alvarez-Vargas has been awarded a 2019 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) Fellowship. Fellowships are awarded to graduate students whose proposed research has the potential to advance knowledge and understanding (intellectual merit) and benefit society/advance societal outcomes. Daniela will be focusing her research on the effects of math interventions. She will be advised by Associate Professor Drew Bailey.
Even the most effective math interventions have shown a fadeout of their original treatment impacts over time. A policy-relevant factor that may moderate the persistence of education intervention impacts is the quality of the environment following an intervention. We propose to explore two theories that make opposite predictions about how a high-quality subsequent environment might influence the persistence of intervention impacts. The theory of sustaining environments posits that a high-quality subsequent environment, which reinforces and builds the material learned during an educational intervention, should increase the persistence of intervention impacts, as it leads to more durable and transferrable learning for children who received the intervention. The contrasting catch-up theory claims that a high-quality subsequent environment will lead to faster learning for students who did not participate in the intervention helping them catch up to the performance of the students who did receive the intervention, thus diminishing the impact of the intervention. Support for both theories has been found, and both are likely at least partially true, but their relative magnitudes in real-world educational settings have not been systematically studied.
To this end, I will ask the following research questions: (1) Does an intervention’s impact on student learning persist more when the intervention teaches material that will be covered in the subsequent classroom, or when it teaches material not covered later? (2) Does the long-term retention of math vocabulary relate to increased math achievement at the end of the school year? (3) Does spaced training extend the retention of math vocabulary into 6th grade? First, we will test the feasibility of administering a vocabulary intervention online with undergraduate students. Then a second feasibility pilot study will be conducted with our target population of 5th graders, followed by a mechanistic study to determine which conditions yield persistent math vocabulary retention.
UCI hosted the spring 2019 Credential Advisory Council meeting on April 26. Attending council members included administrators from Capistrano Unified School District, Garden Grove Unified School District, Irvine Unified School District, Newport-Mesa Unified School, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Santa Ana Unified School District, Orange County Department of Education, and UCI.
Following opening remarks from Director of Teacher Education Virginia Panish, members shared district, school, and county updates, then discussed the CTC Completer Survey Data, the addition of special education methods courses, research and initiatives to support multilingual students, the graduate impact survey, out-of-school fieldwork experiences, and guidelines for candidate placements.
The next Credential Advisory Council meeting will be held fall 2019.
Presenter: Alexandria Weaver
We live in a world rich with sounds. Unfortunately, as we age the risk of experiencing hearing loss increases. Having trouble hearing makes it difficult to enjoy talking with friends and family, respond to warnings, and can affect our overall wellbeing. Even mild hearing loss as a natural result of aging is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. Although hearing aids have been revolutionary, they are unable to help individuals discriminate speech in noisy environments. In my research, I explore how musical training impacts cognitive functions as a means to improve skills that are outside of training specific areas. Here I will discuss an intervention I am creating to improve one’s ability to process speech in noisy environments.
Presenter: Vicky Chen
According to the 2011 NAEP, only 27% of all 12th graders and 1% of ELs scored at proficient or higher in writing. By analyzing a sample of not-pass (174 essays), adequate-pass (173 essays), and strong-pass (114 essays) text-based, analytical essays written by middle and high school students, this study sought to determine what characteristics, if any, might distinguish essays that are considered proficient from essays that are not so that teachers can better assist their students. Essays were drawn from the 2015-2016 Pathway writing and reading intervention pretests and posttests. Results revealed that the use of relevant summary was an important difference between not-pass and adequate-pass essays where significantly more adequate-pass essays used summary in a purposeful rather than general way. In contrast, major characteristics that set apart strong-pass essays from adequate-pass essays involved providing analysis and including a clear conclusion or end.
Presenter: Sirui Wan
To determine whether scaling decisions might induce fadeout of cognitive impacts in early education interventions, we reanalyze a well-known RCT of an early mathematics intervention which showed substantial fadeout in the two years following the end of the intervention. We examine how various order-preserving transformations of the scale affect the relative mathematics achievement of the control and experimental groups by age. Although fadeout was generally robust, we can eliminate fadeout by treating variation in achievement near the norm for first-graders as important and as unimportant elsewhere. Adopting this perspective would have substantial implications for interpreting the effects of educational interventions.
UCI's Associated Student Government (AGS) Annual Graduate Research Symposium, held April 26 at the UCI Student Center, showcased outstanding graduate and professional student research. Graduate students applied to AGS for the opportunity to present their research posters. During the symposium, presenters were allotted seven minutes to explain their research in language appropriate for a lay audience, followed by two minutes of questions by an evaluation team. The AGS symposium is designed to provide graduate students with opportunities to interact with other students, faculty, and community members and network with industry and academic professionals.
Three PhD in Education students presented at the symposium. Click on the presentation titles to access the abstracts.
Title: Is Intervention Fadeout a Scaling Artefact?
Presenter: Sirui Wan
Title: Music to My Ears: A Proposed Intervention for Speech Discrimination in Noise
Presenter: Alexandria Weaver
Title: Understanding Writing Proficiency
Presenter: Vicky Chen