MERG Spotlight: Rebecca

Here’s a spotlight for our latest Motivation and Education Research Group member, Rebecca Steingut!

Name: Rebecca

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Favorite Food: Sushi

Favorite Movie/TV Show: The Wire and Treme


Q. How did you decide to come to UT Austin for graduate school?

A. As a teacher, I was fascinated with the feelings and thoughts of my students and the impact of these psychological variables on academic performance. When I found the website for Human Development, Culture, and Learning Sciences (HDCLS), I knew that I had found a program that was uniquely well suited to my interests in the psychology of learning and teaching. Soon thereafter, I met with Marilla Svinicki, HDCLS Chair, and knew from that meeting how well-supported I would be in this department.

Q. What do you like best about the educational psychology program?

A. Others have mentioned over and over the community, so I decided to note a particular aspect of our community: the diversity. Professors and students alike are diverse in terms of experiences, identities, and skills. This diversity helps me to improve my projects by drawing from different viewpoints that demonstrate a project’s strengths and weaknesses. Without the diversity of our community, I might not have been able to understand or consider these perspectives.

Q. How did you decide on your current research interests?

A. I went to a K-12 school with no letter or number grades. Despite that unusual circumstance, or maybe because of it, I was a very motivated and hard-working student. I have always wanted to share my love of learning with my students. Although I have been able to motivate my students using grades, rewards and rationales, it has been more difficult to find instructional strategies that increase intrinsic motivation.

Q. What do you love about the city of Austin?

A. I love how active everyone is. It really pushes me to be more active too. Recently, I went on a hike on the Greenbelt. I didn’t even notice I was getting such good exercise because I was having so much fun. I absolutely love biking around the East Side for the East Austin Studio Tours with my friends.

Q. Do you have any interesting or unusual hobbies?

A. I like to cook a lot of ethnic foods and learn about other cultures. Recently, I took a Thai cooking class, which was a blast!