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Current & Past Projects

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Affecting Student Racial Attitudes Using Game-Based & Self-Regulated Learning Approaches

The broader education community has urgently called for increased antiracism education research to help address racial issues, such as problematic attitudes and microaggressions imbedded within Predominately White Institutions (PWI) of higher education. Currently, there is limited research utilizing racial bias interventions for higher education STEMM audiences and those studies that have are often limited to group workshops, small samples, and pre/post survey designs. Furthermore, most studies on racial attitudes have assessed limited cognitive, affective, and behavioral attitudes, suggesting a need for empirical studies that examine the effects of interventions across a wider range of attitudes. Using a mixed-method experimental design, this project evaluates a solo-player, online, gamified racial bias intervention designed for STEMM audiences affected the cognitive, affective, and behavioral racial attitudes and during-learning processes of students at a PWI. Specifically this project asks: (1) What are the effects of a digital game-based racial microaggression intervention on students’ racial attitudes? (2) Are the effects of the intervention affected by during-learning behaviors and emotions?  Insights from this project will provide a better understanding of how self-regulated learning theories apply to the learning and teaching of racialized topics within a digital learning environment and can help support the development of more effective racial bias interventions.

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Exploring Psychosocial Constructs Through Photovoice: Empowering Student Narratives and Skill Development

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“A picture is worth a thousand words” is an expression that holds true in educational research – photos can serve as a data source and from the literal lens of your participants and the artifacts encourage dialogue around the content or themes captured. Photovoice is a participatory and empowering tool to record photos and enable critical thinking, dialogue, and reflection about social issues in interaction with the photographs to raise consciousness of issues in order to bring about social & policy change (Simmonds et al., 2015; Wang & Burris, 1997). This project evaluates the integration of photovoice as a pedagogical method in interdisciplinary course project collaborations, particularly between photography and psychology students. Using a co-developed, 6-week curriculum, students complete activities such as background knowledge research, collaborative photowalks, and a photo exhibition/critique explore. Through dialogue and capturing evidence of psychosocial constructs through photography, this project aims to explore the effectiveness of PhotoVoice as an active learning approach that supports technical and transferable skill development, as well as raises awareness and understanding of complex psychosocial issues such as gender and mental health.


Digital Realities: Investigating Attitudes & Moral Decision-Making via a Poverty Simulation Video Game

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Overdraft fees, higher interest rates, and lower quality consumer goods that require more frequent replacement are just a few examples of how people living in poverty face a premium cost. In the United States with an increasing equality gap more individuals are facing the cost of poverty; however, there are still moral judgments and social stigmas associated with the decisions people who come from financially insecure households are often forced to make. 

The aim of this project is to explore differences in moral decision-making processes between  low-income and high-income individuals through a digital perspective-taking video game and the impact the simulation can have on attitudes towards poverty. Specifically I ask, 1) What moral decision-making processes do low-income and high-income individuals engage in when playing a poverty simulation video game?, 2) How are low-income and high-income individuals' attitudes towards poverty affected by participation in a poverty simulation video game?, and 3) How are the effects of the video game affected by during-learning emotions and behaviors? By answering these questions, we will be able to better understand how and why people make the decisions they do when faced with moral dilemmas stressed by financial insecurity and whether simulating these dilemmas can raise awareness of the stigmas and challenges brought on by living in poverty.

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