MERG and Dr. David Yeager’s Adolescent Development Research Group (ADRG) at UT’s Department of Psychology are joining forces to form the “SUPERLAB”! Once a month, we meet to discuss new research in a collaborative and collegial atmosphere. Below are some pictures from our most recent meeting. Thanks Ariana and Jennifer for presenting your research!
We’re so glad to have another member join MERG. Here’s a spotlight on Danika, our latest graduate student member!
Hometown: Brandon, FL
Favorite Food: Avocados
Favorite Movie/TV Show: Groundhog Day
Q. How did you decide to come to UT Austin for graduate school?
A. My first positive experience with UT Austin happened at AERA’s 2012 conference in Vancouver, when I was befriended by a handful of cheerful MERG members. I later discovered that UT’s School Psychology program has an excellent reputation, and on my interview day I was impressed by the warmth of the students and faculty and the quality and breadth of the training. I’m really interested in how to apply self-determination theory to classroom practice, so Erika Patall’s research is a great match for me. And I was charmed by Austin itself, not least by the interview-day breakfast tacos.
Q. What do you like best about the educational psychology program?
A. Everything is new to me right now, so my answer to this question will likely change over time. Right now I’m thrilled by the opportunity to be a part of the school psychology program and the MERG lab simultaneously. I want to eventually become a school psychologist who conducts research or program evaluation in schools, so it’s exciting that my training already involves a mixture of practical skills and research.
Q. How did you decide on your current research interests?
A. As a teacher, I was always drawn to students who didn’t like school or who shied away from difficult tasks. I’ve always believed that every student could connect with school and embrace challenge if teachers created motivating environments. In my teaching, I became particularly fascinated by issues surrounding autonomy-support and growth-mindset thinking—how could my curriculum balance freedom with high standards, and how could I encourage students to focus on improvement instead of performance? Once I started my Master’s program I was delighted to discover the rich body of research on these topics, and I want to become a school psychologist who helps put classroom research into practice—one teacher, school, or district at a time.
Q. Name one thing you have always wanted to do but have not yet had the chance.
A. Write a book.
Q. Do you have any interesting or unusual hobbies?
A. I love collage and bookmaking, and actually taught a paper crafts elective when I was a middle school teacher.
Q. What’s something a lot of your colleagues don’t know about you?
A. I have a black belt in karate.
Q. What was your proudest moment or greatest accomplishment?
A. My last year as a middle school English teacher, one of my primary goals was to promote growth-mindset thinking and an emphasis on process instead of product. On the last day of school, I ended class with a compliment circle, and almost every compliment the students offered focused on a peer’s effort or specific improvements—“I know you didn’t like reading very much last year but this year you worked really hard and got better at it,” or “You really added a lot of similes to your poems this year and that was neat.” That was a proud moment.
As the weather continues to cool down (hopefully), and as papers and exams start piling up, you may be longing to return back to summer. =)
Here’s a recap of what MERG members were doing this past summer and are probably wishing they had more of, now that the fall semester is in full swing!
“When I’m not working on my dissertation,
I’m reading great books such as Dan Brown’s Inferno and Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.”
“When I’m not working on reading all my students’ papers and analyzing confusing intensive longitudinal data,
I’m going to Little Shop of Horrors in Zilker park with my awesome family or hanging out in Hawaii with Asa!”
“When I’m not brainstorming ideas for new studies,
I’m keeping cool by the river. (Sometimes I even do both at the same time!)”
“When I’m not video coding for the Autonomy Support in High School study,
I’m decorating our new home.”
“When I’m not learning about meta-analysis,
I’m attending the weddings of friends and spending time with family.”
“When I’m not coding for my dissertation,
I’m enjoying beautiful nature at places like Yosemite and Monterey.”
Erika’s research was recently cited in a New York Post article entitled “Don’t bet on longer school days.”
Here’s an excerpt:
“And even the idea that added time for core subjects will improve academic performance is tenuous. A recent paper in the Review of Educational Research (by Erika A. Patall of the University of Texas at Austin and Duke University’s Harris Cooper and Ashley Batts Allen) warns that, even where longer school days have been followed by some small achievement gains, it’s very hard to show that they actually caused the improvement.”
Read the whole article here.
Last spring, the now Dr. Bridget Lee successfully defended her dissertation entitled “The Effect of Drama-based Instruction on PreK-16 Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis of Research from 1985 – 2012.” We wish her the best as she begins her new position as postdoctoral fellow at the Ohio State University. We’ll miss you!
Picture: Bridget and family jumping for joy after the Doctoral Graduation Ceremony! Whoop! Whoop!
This summer, we received wonderful news that two of our lab members received two research grants and fellowships. Jennifer K. Leach received the 2013 NACADA Research Grant for her dissertation work entitled “Examining the Effect of Advisor-Student Relationships on Academic Major Decision-Making.” NACADA is the National Academic Advising Association and advances theory, delivery, application and advancement of academic advising to enhance student learning and development.
In addition, Carlton J. Fong received the AERA 2013-2014 Minority Fellowship in Education Research in recognition of the high quality and quantity of work he has produced and will produce in the future. This award goes through a rigorous evaluation by a selection committee made up of top researchers who are members of the American Educational Research Association and provides funds for his dissertation.
Congrats to the both of them!
AERA 2013 is quickly approaching, and MERG members will be presenting in 10 sessions, through many divisions and SIGs including: Division C, Division E, Division J, Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent SIG, and the Arts and Learning SIG. Below are the presentations listed in alphabetical order, with MERG members in bold.
See you in San Francisco!
Berland, L. K., Ko, P., & Steingut, R. R. (2013, April). High school student perceptions of the utility of the engineering design process. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
Fong, C. J., Zaleski, D. J., & Leach, J. K. (2013, April). The relationship between the challenge-skill balance and flow: A meta-analysis. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
Fong, C. J., & Krause, J. M. (2013, April). Lost potential and confidence: A mixed methods study of underachieving college students’ sources of self-efficacy. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
Krause, J. M., Fong, C. J., & Rarick, J. D. (2013, April). Fearing failure and avoiding help: Examining Asian American college students’ strategic self-beliefs. Poster to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
Leach, J. K., & Patall, E. A. (2013, April). The effect of need-satisfying academic advising on academic major satisfaction. Poster to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
Lee, B., Cawthon, S., & Dawson, K. (2013, April). Teacher self-efficacy and pedagogical conceptual change in a drama-based professional development program. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, CA.
Park, J. H., Schallert, D. L., Williams, K. M., Yu, L., Seo, E., Sanders, A. J. Z., Song, K., & Vogler, J. S. (2013, April). Challenging educators’ hopes for the utility of online discussion: What do college students think. Paper to be presented at the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, California.
Patall, E. A., Crowther, A. C., & Steingut, R. R. (2013, April). Daily and cumulative effects of teachers’ autonomy support over time. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
Patall, E. A., Leach, J. K., & Schraw, G. J. (2013, April). The role of choice provision in cheating at school. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
Zientek, L. R., Fong, C. J., & Phelps, J. M. (2013, April). The sources of self-efficacy of community college students in developmental mathematics. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco, CA.