Winners of annual competition demonstrate commitment to diversity and access in education.
The Second Annual Research and Inquiry Conference (RIC) held on May 28 highlighted the innovative work done by undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. The daylong event at the UCLA Faculty Center included 16 papers that were presented during interdisciplinary panel discussions and 77 poster presentations that were on view throughout the afternoon.
An awards committee consisting of Education and Information Studies faculty and students awarded the Outstanding Presentation Award of $500 to Patty Quinones, a Ph.D. student in the Social Research Methodology Division (SRM) for her paper titled, “Validation Study of the Community College Engagement Scale.” In addition, Honorable Mention Awards of $200 were given to Anne Blackstock-Bernstein of the Human Development and Psychology Division for her paper, “The Pragmatic Demands of Mathematics: Elementary School Students’ Oral Language Use in Mathematical Explanations,” Cathy Chu of the Social Sciences and Comparative Education Division for her poster, “Asian American Youth Resistance and Critical Consciousness,” and Rebecca Neri of the Urban Schooling Division for her poster, “Police Diversity: The Complexity of Professional Identity Construction.” Finally, Ashley Leach, an undergraduate in the Education Minor Program was recognized with the Honorable Mention Award for her poster, “Understanding the Role of Elementary School Pedagogy and Relationships in Black Identity Development.”
The selection of awardees was based on ratings of the initial proposals, ratings of the conference presentations, a review by the Awards Committee of the finished paper or poster, and representation across multiple programs and divisions. Members of the 2015 RIC Awards Committee were Jalil Bishop, Esthela Chavez, Tomoko Nakajima, Karen Hunter Quartz, Kate Riedell, Noreen Webb, and Stacy Wood.
Professor Jennie Grammer of the Division of Human Development and Psychology (HDP) was elected by student participants in the RIC to kick off the conference with her remarks on the meaning of “Engaged Scholarship.” The assistant professor, whose expertise bridges the fields of developmental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and education, spoke on her own training and research trajectory, which includes the study of how children’s cognitive skills, which are shaped at home, intersect with their classroom learning.
“We think of these skills as being kind of basic, but also potentially really important for kids’ academic abilities in the classroom,” said Grammer. “So, I investigate these skills and their development across the school transition period, and I also think a lot about what teachers are doing to promote the development of these abilities. To do this work, I take a very kind of multi-method and interdisciplinary approach. I started off doing longitudinal studies as a graduate student, mainly quantitative in nature to explore this question. But I also did qualitative work. Most of this work was observational, a lot of standardized testing, that type of thing… to understand the daily lives of children, so we could understand what was going on with them day-to-day.”
Grammer said that she wanted the ability to have another lens with which to examine her research, so she pursued her postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience. She underscored the advantages of graduate students learning about their peers’ work across disciplines.
“This is a forum for discussing ongoing work and deepening our intellectual understanding and our exchange around shared interests,” she said. “I would encourage you all today as you walk among posters and listen to papers, to think about that framework and…think about this interdisciplinary theme that you can carry with you and engage with one another.
“We tend to go to conferences that only have the same type of [colleagues]. But here we have a great opportunity to talk with colleagues and our peers to [find out from each other], ‘How do you answer this question? What are you doing that is different from me?’ This is a community of scholarship, and as graduate students, this is your opportunity to have that kind of dialogue with people who are working on other topics that you might not get in the same type of way once you leave this space.”
For a list of all poster and paper entries to the 2nd Annual Research and Inquiry Conference, click here.
Above: The 2nd Annual Research and Inquiry Conference, held at the UCLA Faculty Center on May 28, showcased the diversity of scholarship and expertise at UCLA Ed & IS.