Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology graduate students at an event

Graduate students who lead the Graduate Student Initiative attended the celebration. Julie Fitz (center) leads the team. The other leaders are (L-R) Xinyue Lu, Abena Anyidoho, Barbara Sanchez, Onur Özkaynak, Debbie Jones.

Students propose projects, form teams, focus results

Four years ago, four forward-thinking graduate students proposed creating the Graduate Student Interdisciplinary Research Initiative within the college. The purpose was to create and fund research projects to address complex societal problems.

Dean Don Pope-Davis agreed to provide funding each year for small grants. He also took the idea a step further. He asked the students to form interdisciplinary teams to integrate diverse research skill sets across majors within the college.

Fourteen grants later, teams have gained or continue to gain the experience of working on their own approaches to a problem. With the guidance from faculty mentors or postdoctoral researchers, they have benefitted from the viewpoints of multiple perspectives.  

The projects address a variety of issues. In the past, one team examined how Ohio’s school expulsions, suspensions and arrests affect student proficiency rates. Three of the students published this paper in 2022 in a peer-reviewed journal.  

Last academic year, another team designed and implemented a learning community on a social media platform. They are studying its benefits for the college’s currently enrolled STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education teachers.

“I invite students to propose cross-disciplinary topics so they gain exposure to a variety of research methods and see how research topics are approached from multiple perspectives,” said Dean Don Pope-Davis. “This gives them a broader approach to consider as they develop their own scholarship. The grant opportunity is competitive, so we encourage proposers to be innovative and collaborative. If funded, they gain the experience of working with a team of colleagues with both shared and diverse interests.”

In 2022, GSIRI conducted a study of past grantees to determine the value added by the program. “Former GSIRI grantees communicated that the initiative provided ‘real-world’ research experience that has bolstered their sense of competence and confidence,” said Julie Fitz, president of GSIRI and a doctoral student in the Education Policy program.  

“Our study results showed that collaboration by team members created opportunities for peer-to-peer sharing of skills and knowledge. Several participants said it helped them better recognize their own areas of expertise,” she said. “The many publications and conference presentations coming out of teams’ work speak to the high quality and fruitfulness of these collaborations.”

The initiative also offers professional development, such as training in collaborative research methods.   

The four co-founders who launched the initiative are all thriving.  

Sahra Ahmed, ’21 PhD, returned to Nairobi, Kenya, and is now co-founder and dean of Academics for ILM Academy (Innovate, Lead and Mentor). The Islamic American school, the only one in the country, is international, co-educational and serves children of all backgrounds and faiths in pre-K through grade 12.

Busra Ceviren is a PhD candidate working with advisor Minjung Kim, an assistant professor in the Quantitative Research, Evaluation and Measurement program. Ceviren works as a graduate research associate with the college’s Office of Research, Innovation and Collaboration. She also is a graduate research associate on a project promoting preschoolers’ early language learning with the college’s Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy.

Eric McChesney graduated with his PhD in higher education and student affairs in August 2022. He is now an interdisciplinary postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.  

After Marcos Rivera completed his PhD in 2019, he spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher with the university’s Office of Research and Assessment. He then transitioned to become a UX researcher with Stack Overflow.

In January, the current graduate students gathered to celebrate the following four awards made for the 2022-23 academic year.

Ohio State Team members with the video club project Lanoke Paradita, Mutiara Syifa, Ionell Jay Terogo and Skye O'Beollain.
Team members with the video club project present for the celebration were (L-R) Lanoke Paradita, Mutiara Syifa, Ionell Jay Terogo and Skye O'Beollain. 

Video Club as Professional Development for Emerging STEM Teachers: An Equity-Based Investigation of Teacher Noticing

Mathematics and science teachers need to notice aspects in the classroom that impact students. For instance, a teacher can take note of whether students feel more or less empowered to take up space. Erickson (2011) calls this “teacher noticing for equity.”

As we move toward humanizing and responsive teaching and learning, we aim to explore how:  

  1. Emerging STEM teachers view educational equity in their classroom, as facilitated by a video club
  2. Teachers’ identity informs their noticing of educational equity issues
  3. Noticing for equity develops after engaging in video club professional development
  4. Noticing self-efficacy changes after engaging in video club

In this research, video club refers to a professional development program consisting of synchronous and asynchronous meetings to train participants in skills for noticing for equity.

We will collect and analyze the data, which will include participants’ written works. These works may include STEM autobiographies and teaching philosophies, discussions during professional development, interviews and self-efficacy surveys.  

This study can benefit participants by helping them recognize deficit ideologies in their teaching practices. The results will apply to multiple fields, such as higher education studies, teacher education program, education psychology, multicultural studies and STEM education.

Faculty Mentor: Sophia Jeong​, assistant professor – Inclusive STEAM Education program​, Department of Teaching and Learning

Team Members:  

  • Mutiara Syifa - Inclusive STEAM Education,​ Teaching and Learning
  • Skye O'Beollain ​ - Inclusive STEAM Education, Teaching and Learning ​
  • Ionell Jay Terogo ​- Higher Education and Student Affairs, Educational Studies ​
  • Adriana I. Martinez Calvit ​- Educational Psychology, Educational Studies ​
  • Lanoke Paradita​ - Language, Education and Society, Teaching and Learning, and a Fulbright Fellow from Indonesia​
  • Tyler Young​ - Engineering Education​, College of Engineering
  • Maretha Dellarosa​ - Multicultural and Equity Studies in Education​, Teaching and Learning
  • Alexander G. Pittman​ - Multicultural and Equity Studies, Teaching and Learning ​
Ohio State Graduate students Ionell Jay Garogo, Lisa Delacruz Combs, Kimiko Ching and Rumbidzai Mushunje.
Graduate students with the multiracial identity connection project present were (L-R) Ionell Jay Garogo, Lisa Delacruz Combs, Kimiko Ching and Rumbidzai Mushunje.

Multiracial Identity Connection: Belongingness, Exploration, Regard, Complexity and Importance of an Individual’s Multiracial Group Identity

Multiracial individuals often find connections with other multiracial individuals. We seek to better understand these individuals’ experiences and communities.

However, not all may feel connected to the identity “multiracial.” They may view themselves as having one or multiple monoracial identities.  

Nonetheless, “multiracial” has emerged as a separate racial identity from monoracial categories. Grounded in prior research, this project aims to construct and conduct initial validation of an instrument to measure connection to a multiracial group identity.

Currently, the work suggests five dimensions:

  1. Multiracial Identity Exploration: The extent to which an individual has explored their identity as part of a multiracial group
  2. Importance: The extent to which an individual thinks their multiracial identity is important or central to who they are (their self-concept)
  3. Agency/Complexity: The extent to which an individual feels they have the freedom to choose their identity
  4. Private Regard: The extent to which an individual holds positive emotions about being part of a multiracial group
  5. Sense of Belonging: The extent to which an individual feels connected and important to and valued and respected by a group of multiracial people

Faculty Mentor: Marc Johnston Guerrero, associate professor​ of Higher Education and Student Affairs program, Department of Educational Studies

Team Members:

  • Kimiko Ching​ - Educational Psychology​, Educational Studies
  • Lisa Delacruz Combs​ - Higher Education and Student Affairs, Educational Studies ​
  • Rebecca Cepeda​ - Higher Education and Student Affairs, Educational Studies ​
  • Fuyi Feng​ - Children and Young Adults Literature, Teaching and Learning ​
  • Rumbidzai Mushunje​ - Counselor Education and Supervision, Educational Studies ​
  • Krisann Stephany​ - Quantitative Research, Evaluation and Measurement, Educational Studies ​
  • Ionell Jay Terogo​ - Higher Education and Student Affairs, Educational Studies
Graduate students Fan Xu, Yue Sheng, Ziye Wen and Mike Frazier.
Graduate students with the cross-cultural comparison study who attended the celebration were (L-R) Fan Xu, Yue Sheng, Ziye Wen and Mike Frazier.

Parental and Adolescent Perceptions Toward Social Media and Video Games in China and the United States: A Cross-Cultural Comparison Study

Over the past decade, the worldwide proliferation of internet-accessible media and interactive technology has resulted in adolescents’ enhanced engagement in social media and video games.  

The current quantitative survey will investigate parental and adolescent perceptions toward social media and video games through a cross-national lens, mainly exploring the following aspects:

  1. Explore how adolescents in China and the United States perceive the effect of social media and video games on their academic learning and peer relationships
  2. Explore how parents in China and the United States perceive the effect of social media and video games on their adolescent children’s academic learning and peer relationships
  3. Investigate the relationship between adolescent perceptions and parent perceptions toward social media and video games, as well as their relationship with demographic backgrounds, parental online experiences, family rules and parental mediation in China and the United States, respectively
  4. Investigate cross-cultural similarities and discrepancies between adolescent perceptions and parent perceptions toward social media and video games in China and the United States

Faculty Mentor: Michael Glassman, professor, Educational Psychology program, Department of Educational Studies

Team Members:

  • Ziye Wen - Educational Psychology, Educational Studies ​
  • Yue Sheng​ - Educational Psychology, Educational Studies ​
  • Yilun Huang​ - Educational Psychology​, Educational Studies
  • Fan Xu - Learning Technologies, Educational Studies ​
  • Mike Frazier​ - Learning Technologies​, Educational Studies
  • Simon Murdock​ - STEM Education​, Teaching and Learning
Graduate students Chia-Hsin Yin and Ziye Wen
Graduate students (L-R) Chia-Hsin Yin and Ziye Wen with the project testing a new online search tool attended the grant awards celebration. 

The Potential of Distributed Information Search: Testing the Effect of a New Information Search Tool on College Students’ Critical Thinking

Today, we are exposed to a sea of information online. This broad access often leads users to grapple with ideas, for instance climate change, in highly limited echo chambers. Such eventualities have produced interest groups (e.g., COVID-19 communities on Reddit) and concerning outcomes (e.g., conspiracy theories).

Critically reflective information search, which allows users to navigate this sea of information, is an important skill that can help vet information and ideas. However, the way present search engines such as Google are designed is to favor a hierarchical, rank-based approach driven by keyword frequency. Users do become more “certain” about topics when fewer results are presented hierarchically.

However, lack of capacity to weigh critically takes away agency for unbiased understandings. Such issues have produced chasms in perceived and observed competence of college students with information search tasks.  

We seek to bridge these chasms through a new tool, and to equip students with skills to navigate an information-saturated reality. Our mixed methods experiment uses cognitive interviewing/reflective writing to understand undergraduate’s use of a new tool, Thoughtshuffler.

This tool supplements Google’s page-wise results, showcasing relationships between concepts inputted by users, such as cards containing snippets from webpages relevant to a user’s search query/keyword prompt. These may be compared and contrasted as collections of concepts.

Thoughtshuffler may allow young adults to critically navigate information streams by granting them agency to co-design search tasks, thereby spurring more nuanced perspectives on topics of interest.  

In testing usership of Thoughtshuffler and comparing it to using traditional search engines like Google, our study aims to:

  1. Experimentally understand whether using Thoughtshuffler spurs critically reflective information search
  2. Understand if Thoughtshuffler equips undergraduate students with higher agency in information search
  3. Understand how to redesign Thoughtshuffler from user insights

Faculty Mentor: Michael Glassman​, professor, Educational Psychology​ program, Department of Educational Studies

Team Members:

  • Shantanu Tilak​ - Educational Psychology, Educational Studies ​
  • Yvonne Allsop​ - Educational Psychology​, Educational Studies
  • Logan Pelfrey​ - Educational Psychology​, Educational Studies
  • Ziye Wen​ - Educational Psychology, Educational Studies ​
  • Marvin Evans​ - Educational Psychology​, Educational Studies
  • Latif Kadir​ - Quantitative Research, Evaluation and Measurement, Educational Studies ​
  • Chia-Hsin Yin​ - Multilingual Language Education​, Teaching and Learning

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