Category Archives: Research

Dr. Kelly Steelman to participate in HFES fellowship program

Dr. Kelly Steelman (CLS) has been selected from a competitive pool of applicants to participate in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Science Policy Fellowship program.

The HFES Science Policy Fellows (SPF) program provides a valuable opportunity for HFES members to learn how to successfully advocate for human factors and ergonomics on the national stage. SPF Participants will receive extensive training in public affairs, advocacy and outreach to be provided by Lewis-Burke Associates and the HFES Government Relations Committee during the HFES Annual Meeting. They will also participate in an annual spring Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C., including a Hill visit training session and a policy-related speaker prior to the visit day. They will be invited to attend monthly conference calls with Lewis-Burke and the HFES Government Relations Committee covering ongoing events and opportunities for HFES to engage in policy decisions.

Following an initial one-year term in the SPF program, each program graduate will commit to two years of service in an outreach capacity. They will create a customized plan that may include continued participation in the Capitol Hill day and interactions with policymakers in Washington, DC, working at the local/state level, serving on the GRC or a subcommittee, and other forms of outreach developed by each participant. HFES SPF participants and graduates will form the basis of a future brain trust with expertise in outreach creating a pipeline of politically engaged and knowledgeable members within HFES.

Copied from Tech Today page for June 17th 2019.


Dr. Stockero is new AMTE Executive Director

Raleigh NC, June 07, 2019 – The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) is excited to announce the selection of Executive Director Designate, Dr. Shari Stockero from Michigan Tech University, who will begin her term of service as Executive Director in February 2020.

Shari Stockero is a Professor of Mathematics Education and the Director of Teacher Education at Michigan Technological University. She has served AMTE in a variety of ways, including as Associate Vice-President for the Emerging Issues Committee, as a member of the Conference Program Committee, and on the Editorial Panel of the seventh AMTE monograph. She also led the group that formed the Michigan AMTE affiliate (MI-AMTE) and has served as chair of the PME-NA Steering Committee. Her collaborative NSF-funded research project (Building on MOSTs: Investigating Productive Use of High-Leverage Student Mathematical Thinking) focuses on understanding what it looks like to productively use high-potential instances of student mathematical thinking during a lesson to support student learning. She is also co-PI on an NSF Noyce project (Michigan Middle School Master Teacher Fellows Program) that focuses on developing middle school science teacher leaders in Michigan.

We were pleased to receive excellent applications and to interview two outstanding finalists for the position.  Persons on the search team were impressed both by Shari’s history of active participation and experience in AMTE activities, as well as her ability to look broadly at the mathematics teacher education landscape and envision how AMTE can continue to be a strong voice in mathematics teacher education.  All of the applications we received were from persons who have great organizational skills, strong communication skills, and a deep love for the work of AMTE.

The search process for the new executive director was completed over three months, but included many months prior with discussions and encouragement of members to apply for the position.  The formal search was led by Randy Philipp, current Past-President of AMTE, and included the following members of the search team: Mike Steelecurrent AMTE PresidentTim Hendrixcurrent AMTE Executive DirectorJennifer Bay-Williamspast president of AMTE; Christine Browning, former Vice-President of Publications and former AMTE Board member; Eva Thanheiser, current Board Member-at-LargeDorothy Y. White, former AMTE Board member;and Trena Wilkerson, former AMTE Board Member and current Associate Vice-President for Conferences.  We want to thank these individuals for their service to AMTE in leading this important search process.

Applications for the position were solicited and submitted by the end of February.  Review of applications and interview of finalist candidates were conducted in March.  In the April Board meeting, the search committee made a recommendation to the AMTE Board of Directors to appoint Shari Stockero. After unanimous approval, the offer of service was extended to Shari, who accepted the appointment with an initial four-year term of service. Discussions then began between Shari, AMTE, and her home institution, Michigan Technological University (MTU), to develop a Memorandum of Agreement, which was approved by the AMTE Board in their May meeting, and has been executed by both AMTE and MTU.  AMTE provides the Executive Director with a nominal stipend and support funds to operate the AMTE Headquarters at their home institution, given in the form of a subcontract to the host institution.

Shari Stockero will become the fourth Executive Director of AMTE, following Judith Jacobs (1998 – 2000), Nadine Bezuk (2001 – 2014) and Tim Hendrix (2014 – 2020). Shari will shadow current Executive Director, Tim Hendrix, and continue to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of Executive Director. At the conclusion of the 24th AMTE Annual Conference in February 2020, Hendrix will step down and Stockero will begin her term of service.  AMTE is fortunate to have dedicated members who are invested in the mission and goals of the organization, and who commit their professional time and service to AMTE.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Timothy Hendrix, current AMTE Executive Director at 919.760.8240 or by email at hendrixt@meredith.edu.

Copied from AMTE website 


Psychology Undergraduate Honored as Departmental Scholar

At the end of each academic year, each department nominates one student to represent them as their Departmental Scholar. The Provost’s Award for Scholarship is given to a senior who best represents student scholarship at Michigan Tech. This outstanding student is considered excellent not only by academic standards, but also for participation in research scholarship activity, levels of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and communication skills.

This year, the Departmental Scholar award was given to psychology undergraduate student Hannah Kariniemi. Hannah may only be finishing her second year but has already accomplished a lot. She has achieved Junior status with an impressive GPA of 3.64 overall and 3.7 in the Major. Dr. Veinott who has Hannah in the Research Methods II course says “Hannah is motivated and diligent to chase down problems and figure them out”. She is also interning at the 97th Regional Treatment court and doing research with Dr. Amato-Henderson. Dr. Amato-Henderson says she hopes to guide Hannah through writing a manuscript to be submitted for publication. Hannah has also recently been inducted into Psi Chi (the International Honor Society in Psychology) and is also active in the Association for Psychology Students (APS). It is amazing how quickly Hannah is advancing here and she plans to continue in graduate school where she will continue working toward clinical psychology with an emphasis on judicial corrections and community health. Congratulations Hannah!

 


CLS Congratulates Thomas Offer Westort

We are happy to announce that Tom successfully defended his Master’s Thesis titled “Attitudes About Acceptable Risk in the Context of the Biodiversity Crisis” on April 12th. Crafting and enforcing conservation policy requires making normative judgements about what levels of risk are acceptable. These judgements include crucial decisions that impact which species qualify as “endangered.” If a government’s policies are going to represent the values of the public they govern, then public attitudes should be understood. Unfortunately, essentially nothing is known about public attitudes as they pertain to acceptable risk and the biodiversity crisis.

Read more about Tom’s research below.

My research aims to address this gap using data from an internet-based survey (n=1050). I focused on the Endangered Species Act of 1973 which defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” Because a species’ risk of extinction increases with decreasing geographic range, the phrase “significant portion of its range” requires a judgement about what level of risk is acceptable. I then examined how the public’s attitudes regarding risk differs both from the guidance provided by conservationists and the practices of government agencies. I also explored the extent to which variation in attitudes could be explained by relevant knowledge, social identity, level of education, personality, moral foundations, and numeracy. I then used structural equation modeling to model the relationships between predictors.


Stockero Receives Award

Shari Stockero (CLS/Math) has been named the 2019 Mathematics Teacher Education Outstanding Reviewer by the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators. Her research focuses on noticing high-potential instances of student mathematical thinking (MOSTs) and understanding what it means to productively use these instances to support student learning. Specifically, in her current work, she and her colleagues are working with a group of teacher-researchers from across the US to enact and study the teaching practice of building on MOSTs. She is also working on a project to develop middle school science teacher leaders in Michigan.  Congratulations Shari!


Amato-Henderson Elected Chair-elect of AHDP

Susan Amato-HendersonSusan Amato-Henderson, chair of the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, attended the Association of Heads of Departments of Psychology (AHDP) meeting in Atlanta, Georgia Nov. 2-3.
AHDP is a professional development organization for heads and chairs of academic departments of psychology. At this year’s meeting, Amato-Henderson was elected chair-elect, which she will hold for two years prior to then serving a two-year term as chair of AHDP.
AHDP first began with a small, informal gathering of chairs at an annual Southeastern Psychology Association meeting in 1967. The first annual meeting of AHDP was held at an Atlanta airport Dec. 5-7, 1968.
Since that time, annual AHDP meetings have been held every fall in Atlanta. The association hosts leadership training and professional development seminars at its annual meetings, where a broad range of educational concerns as well as the research and service missions common to institutions of higher education are discussed. Membership includes representatives from very large and very small departments in both private and public academies.

Stockero tops most cited articles

Shastockero-personnelri Stockero (CLS/Math) co-authored two of the most cited articles in the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education (JMTE) and Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (JRME). According to Google Metrics,  Stockero’s article “Characterizing pivotal teaching moments in beginning mathematics teachers’ practice”, was the 9th most cited JMTE article from 2013-2017. Laura Van Zoest from Western Michigan University is co-author.

A second article, “Conceptualizing Mathematically Significant Pedagogical Opportunities to Build on Student Thinking”, was the 12th most cited JRME article for that same time period. The article was co-authored by Keith Leatham and Blake Peterson (Brigham Young University) and  Laura Van Zoest.

 


Research for Teachers Poster Session

Group of Teachers present posters on mobile chalkboards to attendeesA poster session for the Michigan Tech 2018 Research Experiences for Teachers was held from 3 to 5 p.m. yesterday (Aug. 9) in the Great Lakes Research Center Second Floor Atrium.

The poster session concludes the NSF-funded Teacher Professional Development summer institute, “Computational Tools and the Environment.”  Twelve in-service teachers were paired up with civil and environmental engineering graduate students to research topics such as water quality, lead contamination, aquaponics and renewable energy.

The results of their research have been translated into curricula for science and mathematics classes. They will present the results of their research and curriculum development at the poster session.

New Funding

Kevin TrewarthaKevin Trewartha (CLS/RICC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $455,884 research and development grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health. Shane Meuller (CLS/RICC) is the Co-PI on the project “Motor Learning as a Sensitive Behavioral Marker of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Early Alzheimer’s Disease.”

This is a three-year project.


Psychology Students Present Research

2018_PsychUG_MiniconferenceStudents enrolled in PSY 3001 presented their research projects in the Meese 110 classroom on Thursday, April 26. While promoting the event, Dr. Hungwe expressed that “the mini-conference has a really great set of projects that the students conceived of, researched, designed, obtained IRB approval for, carried out, analyzed, and are finally presenting. Also, several members of the class are graduating, so this will be a great chance to see how far they’ve come.”

The mini-conference included eight projects, mentored by Professor Mueller and Professor Hungwe, that answered psychological questions in tech domains such as smart phones, health care, work place and STEM education.  Topics range from stress to work attitudes, working memory to ethical decisions, and personality to STEM education. Abstracts of the projects are listed below.
  1. Abigail Kuehne & Kira Warner : Examining Associations Between the Big Five Personality Traits, Math Attitudes and Numeracy
Previous studies have found associations between personality traits and attitudes related to anxiety and various cognitive abilities (Murdock, Oddi, Bridgett, 2013; Smith, 2017). The present study focused on college students and was comprised of two parts. Study 1 examined associations between the cognitive ability numeracy, and the Big Five Personality traits, focusing on the traits of openness to experience and neuroticism (opposite of emotional stability). The study employed a survey that contained a measure of personality using the 44-item Big Five Inventory, and a measure of numeracy using the Berlin Numeracy Test (Cokely et al., in press; John and Srivastava, 1999). The trait of numeracy was not found to be significantly correlated with any of the Big Five Personality traits. Study 2 examined associations between general math anxiety and self-perceived ability, and numeracy. A survey was conducted using the 15-item Modified Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitudes Scale and the 7-item Berlin Numeracy Test. Results suggested a negative relation between math anxiety and self-perceptions of math ability. Results also suggested a negative relation between math anxiety and the ability to interpret statistical information. These findings have important implications given the widely published research on the negative impacts of math anxiety on performance on mathematical task performance. Future research should investigate ways to help diminish math anxiety in specific populations (e.g. college students).
2. Ginger Sleeman & Ashley DeVoge: Impacts of Advertisement on Online Health Care Awareness and Utilization
 Employers have started adopting online health care programs in an effort to allow for flexibility amongst health care plans, and to reduce employer and employee medical costs. This study examines the effects of advertising on employee awareness and utilization of the Blue Cross Online Visits program. It is hypothesized that engaging employees through various advertising campaigns will increase program awareness and utilization. A pre-advertisement email survey was completed a random sample of University of 105 employees. Upon completion of the advertising campaign, a post-advertisement survey was  completed by 134 response employees. The advertising campaign had a significant impact on general awareness of online healthcare (X2(1)=16.02, p=<.001), as well as on awareness of the University offering the Blue Cross Online Visits program as a benefit (X2(1)=7.351, p=0.007). To determine if advertising had an effect on the likelihood of an employee using the program, an independent samples t-test was conducted and showed that advertising does not impact the likelihood of an individual partaking in the benefit (t(237.0)=0.175, p=0.861.)The results  also showed that age (X2(4)=4.705, p=0.319) and gender (X2(2)=2.407, p=0.300) did not impact how likely someone was to use the program.
3.     Greta Fisher, Rose Hildebrandt, & Sara Pietila: Effects of Keyword Mnemonics in Educational Settings
Past research has shown that keyword mnemonics have been effective in second-language learning, but there is limited research on its use in education (Putnam, 2015). If mnemonics are effective in helping students learn vocabulary for second languages, they may also be helpful in retaining information in other areas of education. In a preliminary survey taken by 48 participants, it was found that there was a positive correlation in the percentage of correct answers with the use of mnemonics to help answer the question, with Pearson’s R= 0.692 with p < 0.001. It was also found that although students used these methods, they rarely created their own mnemonics in order to study new materials.  The second study focused on the use of keyword mnemonics in comparison to other study methods used in educational settings, such as rote memorization.  In order to test if mnemonics were a more effective study method than rote memorization three surveys were sent out to students and asked them the same test questions. One survey had participants study with a mnemonic, another had participants study with a flashcard method and a third used no study method. If the hypothesis that mnemonics are a more effective study method is supported, we predict that participants who study with mnemonics will produce better results on a test than rote memorization. These results could help to prove that mnemonics can be utilized in subjects other than second-language learning.
4. Emmitt Forbush & Glory Creed: Effects of Priming on Ethical Reasoning
In order to create an ethically responsible society, we must understand peoples natural will to reason for themselves. The study was to explore the extent to which people put independent thought into ethical choices compared to the propensity to follow the crowd opinions or fall into framing/priming effects. In the first phase of our study, we discovered that people tend to place a high level of importance on decisions that they deem ethically challenging. We also gathered information on the types of ethical situations that people encounter in day to day life. In the second phase of our study, we used the scenarios provided by participants in study 1 to develop realistic ethical dilemmas. These ethical dilemmas were then answered by the participants of the second phase, some of whom were primed with different types of ethical reasoning logic before encountering the scenarios. We found a significant difference between groups primed with different ethical schools of thought, meaning that it appears we were able to manipulate the ethical decision making process for individuals who were primed.
5. Elizabeth Kelliher & Mariah Sherman: Occupation and self-efficacy: Predictor of success in the workplace
What makes a person successful in business? Previous research found that education is a predictor of salary, promotion, and career satisfaction (Ng, Eby, Sorensen, & Feldman, 2005). We interviewed people who considered themselves successful in business.  The results from the interviews were used to develop a survey. The survey question focuses on personal and academic background, work experience, personal beliefs about factors that influence success, management styles, personality, their education and other factors. A total of 134 people participated. Overall, we found MTU graduates felt better prepared by their education and reported that they were better equipped with the skills it takes to be successful in their jobs. Current students from all universities also had significantly different ratings of qualities for success, desired management styles, and best ways to learn on the job compared to working individuals.
6. Trista Burton: Does College cause anxiety
Anxiety is an issue that affects people in different ways and many will deal with it in their lifetime. Past experiments have focused on test anxiety of college students but have not focused on whether or not college students demonstrate higher levels of anxiety than the general population (Galassi, Frierson, & Sharer, 1981).  It was hypothesized that  those currently enrolled in college will demonstrate higher levels of anxiety. Study 1 used a 25-item which was consisting of three parts: 10 Trait Anxiety questions, 10 State Anxiety questions, and 5 demographic questions. Results showed that college students demonstrated higher levels of State-Trait Anxiety than those not enrolled in college. The focus of study 2 was on short coping mechanisms and how they impacted  the State Anxiety of college students. A 25-question survey with a randomly assigned coping mechanism was used to test the hypothesis that there are differences between coping mechanisms used  and the effect on State Anxiety levels of college students. There were no significant differences found.
7. Elise Brehob, Via Ouellette-Ballas, Kevin Grathoff:  Effects of meditation on working memory
Previous research has shown that meditation can be used to reduce stress and treat stress-related mental disorders, such as PTSD and social anxiety (Kiyonaga, Wong, & Gelfand, 2010) and educational settings (Quach, Jastrowski Mano, & Alexander, 2015). Since stress is connected to memory, studies have suggested the possibility of using meditation to improve working memory. The study investigated this in two different settings. Participants in study 1 consisted of a meditating and no-meditating group. They were asked to respond to an online survey. The survey contained demographic questions concerning meditation, mindful attention (MAA) questions, and a word recall test. It was hypothesized that the meditating group would perform better than the non-meditating group on  memory and mindfulness tests. The differences were not significant. Study 2 was a lab experiment with an experimental and control group. The experimental group completed the N-back memory task, with an intervening 15-minute period of meditation, which was followed by  the completion of the Corsi memory task. The control group completed the memory tasks with a 5-minute break between the tests, with no meditation. The results are inconclusive. Follow up studies with larger samples are recommended.
8. Madeline Shortt: The compulsion to use smartphones in college students
There has been an increasing interest in understanding problematic smartphone use and its characteristic (Wang, Lee & Li, 2016). This two part study  investigated the compulsion to use the smartphone among a college population. Study 1 was designed as an online survey with 34 participants.  It was hypothesized that the compulsion to use smartphones would be associated with the number of apps used. A Chi-square test was conducted with compulsion (DV) and social media apps on their devices (IV). The social media apps were categorized as  either high compulsion or low compulsion, and the social media use was categorized the same. There was  no significant difference found (X2(1) =0.075, p=0.78). Study 2 investigated if the compulsion to use a smartphone would disrupt an attention task. Fourteen college students participated in a lab setting where they were given a task. Halfway through the experiment, two messages were sent to their phones. The participants’ level of concentration was observed before and after the messages were sent using a rating scale. A note was also made on whether they attended to the message or not.  A paired-sample t-test was conducted to compare the before and after their phone went off concentration scores. There was a significant difference in the paired-sample t-test (M=2.0, SD=0.34); t(13)=6.360, p<.001). Results showed that almost every individual’s concentration score went down once their device went off and over half of the individuals checked their devices.  The result show that students had developed a compulsion to use smartphones even when their attention was needed to complete a task.