Social Sciences: Cogitive Development, Education

Department: Curry- EDLF

Supervising Faculty Member: Jamie Jirout

Specialization: Cognitive development, education

Research Focus: My research focuses on two areas of children′s learning: 1) children′s curiosity and question asking, especially in the preschool and early elementary years, and 2) children′s spatial reasoning skills. Both areas are important for science learning, and for STEM learning more broadly. In current studies on curiosity I am looking at how teachers promote or suppress curiosity through instruction, as well as developing a computer measure of young children's curiosity that we are testing in a museum setting. In current spatial learning studies I am looking at gender-stereotypes in play behavior and how they relate to STEM interests, as well as how children develop spatial-relational reasoning skills through play.

Position Description: Students will be matched to one or more project based on research interests. Primary research tasks may include developing materials, such as spatial play activities, collecting data at a museum or school, and coding videos of either children playing or teachers in a classroom for language, gesture, etc. Students interested in data analysis may have the opportunity to explore the data to answer questions related to their interests.

Required skills: Ideal candidates should be looking for experience in education research, have interest in a career in education, or have interest in pursuing graduate study in psychology or education.  Attention to detail, strong communication skills, and the ability to work within a team are highly preferred skills. Students who have taken Intro Psych and/or courses in child development, education, or research methods are preferred but not necessary.

Computer software: Basic competency in Microsoft Word and Excel are desirable.

Training/certification: Students will be required to complete CITI training before working on any human subjects data.

What you will learn: As a result of working with me, students will have an understanding of the questions asked in developmental and educational research. They will be knowledgeable about the methods used and challenges in this type of work, and they will have a deeper understanding of how children think about and interact with their world.

Web site link to research: