Student Research Poster Winners

Winner of the The Innovation Scholarship for Student Research


Lisa McDonald

How Teacher Identity Impacts the Learning of Science for Elementary Students
Read more about this poster here.





Winner of the People's Choice Award




CJ Reilly III

STEAM-Powered Food Security

Read more about this poster here.



Student Research Posters 

We're happy to once again partner with Student Senate this year in presenting TC students and their research during our Closing Networking Reception. During this Poster Session you will have the opportunity to interact with students and learn more about the work they are doing at TC.

Take a moment to review the 10 finalists below! A winner will be selected by a panel of judges but be sure to vote during the reception for your favorite as part of our "People's Choice" award. 


Katia Chapman
Department/Program: Sociology of Education-Sociology of Education
Poster Title: “Proving them wrong”: Resistance and accommodation within an undocumented YPAR collective.
Abstract: “Resistance emphasizes that individuals are not simply acted on by structures. In contrast, resistance theories demonstrate how individuals negotiate and struggle with structures and create meanings of their own from these interactions” (Solórzano & Delgado Bernal, 2001, p.315). Undocumented young people find themselves pushing against powerful structures including legal barriers, the threat of deportation, and at times apathetic educational agents. Nonetheless, the national undocumented student movement is one of the most visible organized groups at this time. For the members of Adelante Student Voices in upstate New York, the movement feels a step removed from their towns and rural communities, and they have a hard time seeing themselves within the Dreamer narrative because they arrived too recently for DACA or coverage under the current Dream Act legislation. I initiated a youth participatory action research (YPAR) project with a group of Adelante members so they could explore local experiences. We spent ten days together as part of Adelante’s annual summer overnight empowerment program, and then 8 months exploring the topic through regular meetings. The members of the team gave me permission to use participant observation and interviews for my Master’s Integrative Project to analyze their (and my own) growth in critical consciousness, defined here as the recognition of systems of oppression and self-identification as a possible change-maker. Findings suggest that 1. isolation both from mentors who share a similar story and from trusted sources of information, and 2. uncertainty about the future given the lack of security or professional employment opportunities, are chief areas of concern. Within the same session, a given student may say an acritical response such as “here anyone can go to college if you just do the work” alongside a precritical response that questions the impact of racist comments from counselors. These seeming contradictions reflect the importance of a space to grapple with a complex system, and suggest that while eight months of YPAR may not be enough to demonstrate growth in critical consciousness outright, it provides a space for the young people to be transformational role models for one another (Solorzano & Delgado Bernal, 2001).

Yanru Chen
Department/Program: Department of Health and Behavior Studies-Intellectual Disabilities/ Autism Program
Poster Title: Social-Emotional Abilities for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A National Survey of Special Education Teachers in China
Abstract: The significant roles of three highly associated social-emotional abilities, including executive function, emotional regulation, and theory of mind, have been highlighted in the development of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Teachers’ sufficient and accurate understandings of these abilities are crucial to develop the appropriate educational practices for students with ASD. However, there is limited evidence about how special education teachers perceive and teach these social-emotional abilities in applied educational settings. To fill in this gap, this study conducted a self-designed survey to investigate the most important psychological abilities considered by the teachers for students with ASD and to examine teachers’ notions of social-emotional abilities. A total of 893 special education teachers in China participated in this study. Results showed that the majority of the participants ranked emotional regulation as the most important ability for students with ASD. However, the special education teachers demonstrated varied understandings of different domains of executive function, and few of them identified the significant role of theory of mind. The educational setting was a significant factor affecting how teachers perceived the importance in developing social-emotional abilities and overcoming deficits in these domains for individuals with ASD. Specifically, teachers who worked in the Rehabilitation Center reported higher rates of importance in developing social-emotional abilities than did those who worked in inclusive or self-contained classrooms. Results also showed that teachers who have or plan to have special education certificates reported significantly higher rates of importance in overcoming emotional regulation deficits than did those without a special education certificate. This finding highlighted the importance of professional special education training for teacher’s understanding of social-emotional abilities. Therefore, it is suggested that more teacher education and training should be provided to special education teachers in China to enrich their understandings of executive function and theory of mind and to improve their awareness of the importance of developing social-emotional abilities to students with ASD.

Ahram Choi
Department/Program: Department of Math, Science, and Technology-Instructional Technology and Media
Poster Title: How learning from a peer model who overcame difficulties impacted novice learners’ self-efficacy, learning, and transfer
Abstract: Scientific expertise requires concerted effort and the ability to overcome obstacles, but little research has addressed how these behaviors are modeled for learners in the context of a simulation-based learning environment. Thus, this study aimed to design instruction using cognitive modeling to promote active engagement by novice learners to ensure they feel competent to tackle novel learning problems in science. Largely drawing on work on social cognitive theory, the current study suggested the importance of a coping model, having incorrect knowledge and inadequate skills and gradually improving to a level of expertise, as an instructional aid to promote student motivation and learning in a simulation-based science learning environment. This use of coping modeling is relevant to the national science curriculum standards that highlight the importance of understanding and reflecting upon errors and failures during iterative process of scientific investigation.
Ninety Korean high school students who did not have prior knowledge in the topic were assigned to either a Coping Model (CM) condition, where a model makes errors and demonstrates initial difficulties but overcomes them, or a Mastery Model (MM) condition, where a model presents an error-free process of interpreting information while manipulating the simulation. Students in the CM condition tended to have a higher post-self-efficacy than those in the MM condition. However, it did not change over time, nor did it differ by condition. The coping model had a more favorable impact on learning and transfer than a mastery model. These findings imply that learning from someone else’s error enhances students’ learning and transfer, potentially because they processed additional information about erroneous interpretations of in-simulation observations and how to correct them. Moreover, as novice learners, they might have find a coping model who overcame initial difficulties more relatable, and thereby tended to have higher self-efficacy. This also provides implications for classroom instructions because modeling videos, as a low-key technology, can be combined with existing stand-alone learning technologies.


Caitlyn Griffith-Heritage
Department/Program: ITS-International and Comparative Education
Poster Title: Learner centered pedagogy and competency-based education in Rwanda: A game of telephone
Abstract: In 2015, Rwanda introduced a new, competency-based curriculum for all grade levels K-upper secondary with a strong emphasis on learner centered pedagogy (LCP). Over the last two years, the country has utilized a cascade training model to disseminate the new curriculum and pedagogy. This article will review the literature pertaining to LCP and CBE as pedagogy and curriculum framework and as global education phenomena. I then look at these concepts in the Rwandan context specifically. I analyze the process of integrating LCP into Rwandan classrooms by essentially following one game of telephone from top to bottom within the cascade training model. Interviews with representatives from the Rwandan Education Board provide insight into how LCP and the key concepts of competency-based curriculum are operationalized at the national level. Observations at a district training of trainers and interviews with a national trainer, sector-based trainer and three teachers, illuminate how the definitions and application of these key concepts change as they move down the cascade. Data gathered from a focus group of secondary school students provides additional insight as to how these concepts are impacting student learning. I review the ways teachers localize and apply LCP in their classrooms and consider the barriers that prevent the use of LCP in competency-based education in Rwanda. Lastly, I identify three bright spots for LCP and CBE implementation and make recommendations to maximize effective and meaningful implementation moving forward.

Tanvi Kankan
Department/Program: Clinical and Counseling Psychology-Psychology in Education
Poster Title: Attitudes and Perceived Barriers toward Seeking Psychological Treatment in Urban India
Abstract:There is a profound mental health treatment gap in India (World Health Organization, 2015) due to paucity and inadequacy of services available (Patel et al., 2016), stigma and poor mental health literacy. The little empirical research available suggests that existing treatment is largely pharmacological (Jain & Jadhav, 2009), despite demonstrated effectiveness for psychotherapy’s value in ameliorating mental health problems. Public attitudes toward therapy, however, are unknown. This study examined psychological help-seeking in India through an anonymous survey administered to urban, English-speaking adults (n=152) aged 25-35 years from the National Capital Region using the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale – Short Form (ATSPPH-SF) and open-ended items guided by the Perceived Barriers to Psychological Treatment scale (PBPT). Regression analysis of ATSSPH-SF scores revealed more positive attitudes for those with prior indirect exposure to therapy, regardless of perceived benefit to the friend or family member. Contrastingly, the relationship of personal history of therapy with attitudes changed in direction depending on whether these experiences were considered beneficial or not. Males were less inclined to seek professional help, but these results were not significant. This corroborates research indicating that Asian cultures moderate the effect of gender on help-seeking (Nam et al., 2010). Despite the prevalence of alternative healing systems in India, endorsement of alternative resource persons did not predict professional-help-seeking attitudes in this educated sample. Thematic analysis of perceived barriers to treatment revealed cost, time, preference to deal with problems on one’s own, stigma, difficulty of finding a good therapist and perceived incompetence of most available mental health professionals as primary concerns. Improved mental health literacy and discussion on how to seek professional help may normalize this behavior and reduce the treatment gap. Narratives of therapy experiences in which the professional appeared insensitive, judgmental or disinterested suggests a need for improved training, regulation and supervision of professionals in India.


Lisa McDonald
Department/Program: Science Education
Poster Title: How Teacher Identity Impacts the Learning of Science for Elementary Students
Abstract: An intersecctionlity framework was used to understand how race and student science identity are integrated. Intersectionality allows us to examine one through a holistic approach in describing and represented lived experiences of individuals. Theories of intersectionality suggest that in order for us to examine our social identity, we must look at how identity interacts with other social identities. The social identities that will be merged together for this study will be race with language. Therefore, intersectionality allows for the examination of an integrated approach in describing and representing lived experiences of individuals. This paper follows three elementary students to examine their identity and science identity in their classroom. Within the current elementary classrooms, lessons often consist of literacy, mathematics, social studies and science. However, discourse around scientific practices are often limited depending on ones teacher science identity. All the participants participated in discourse about race and identity in their home, but not at school. This could be inferred as their school environment being a place where diversity and multiculturalism accepted. Teacher identity was prevalent with both participants as well as discourse of science content. Race did not play a role into the student’s conceptual understandings of science.

Charles J. Reilly III
Department/Program: Art and Art Education-Art and Art Education with Initial Teacher Certification
Poster Title: STEAM-Powered Food Security
Abstract: Over 70% of Nepal’s population is involved in agriculture and yet two out of every three Nepalese suffer from food insecurity yearly. As a result, more than 37% of the population suffers from stunting. As part of its food security efforts, the government of Nepal has made a concerted push for more innovative crop choices and growing methodologies. Macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia), a good source of both food and income, is a cash crop of interest. Since its introduction, however, a number of barriers to successful production remain. A preliminary review of macadamia farms in the western and central development regions of Nepal revealed nurseries plagued by poor potting soil and widespread use of flawed grafting techniques; approximately 40% of the macadamia saplings were planted incorrectly. These factors contributed to stunted saplings, low grafting success rate, poor nut production, and an increased likelihood stunted tree growth and abandonment of macadamia farming. My work looked at how new technologies (e.g., 3D printing and virtual reality) could create more effective educational materials for fledgling macadamia farmers and improve agricultural yields. Partnering with Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) and HELVETAS Nepal, I lead a 10-day pilot project that included novel educational tools from 3D printed macadamia grafting models to 360 virtual reality (VR) orchard tours. 65 Nepalese from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds were enrolled, including 42 men and 23 women. At the end of the project, farmers were asked to rate the usefulness of the materials on a 4 point scale from “Very Helpful” to “Not Helpful.” Initial results of the pilot program have been encouraging. Of the 3 types of materials tested, the Step-by-Step series received the most positive feedback: 80% (52/65) of farmers found the material to be “Very Helpful.” When polled about the effectiveness of the materials overall, 92% (60/65) of farmers said the tools were “Very Helpful.” While the new educational materials were a welcome change for macadamia farmers, more research is needed to determine their true value. A follow-up study is being planned to measure how macadamia production has changed as a result of training.


Carine Verschueren
Department/Program: International and Transcultural Studies-International and Comparative Education
Poster Title: Urban Politics and Environmental and Sustainability Education:a case study of New York City K-12 Public Schools.
Abstract: Given the projected continued growth of urban populations, cities play a crucial role in a transformation to sustainability: a less economistic vision of development and growth, where social equity and concerns for nature and resources are more explicit. Since the 1987 Brundtland Report of the United Nations, this concept has been advanced globally and culminated in the Sustainable Development Goals (2015). To reach these goals, education plays a crucial role to lift people out of poverty and enhance skills to use resources more sustainably. Sitting at the intersection of urban politics, education and sustainability, this study therefore traces the politics and policies with regards to sustainability initiatives in NYC public schools since 2006. This is when Mayor Bloomberg created the city’s first sustainability plan: PlaNYC. Among the 127 initiatives in the plan, a number pertained to schools forcing the NYC Department of Education to collaborate with other municipal agencies. Moreover, in 2009 a chancellor’s regulation mandated the appointment of a sustainability coordinator in each public school in NYC. This city-wide initiative pertains not only to recycling and energy conservation, but also to ecology and green curriculum. Scholars have long examined the outcomes of programs intended to engage students with environmental and sustainability issues. However, research to date has overlooked the politics and policies of environmental and sustainability education. This study, funded by the Dean’s Grant for Student Research will add to Teachers College’s body of work to shape public policy and educate future leaders to meet global challenges such as climate change. The research employs qualitative research and uses document analysis and interviews to unravel the tensions and challenges in policies, governance, resources, and partnerships in one of the largest school districts in the country and in the world. It uses Stone’s (1993) urban regime theory which posits that politics can counterbalance the economic interests that drive urban regimes. Also, in order to compare and contrast the Bloomberg and de Blasio’s administrations, the research applies a comparative case study approach (Bartlett & Vavrus, 2017) to connect people, situations, events, and processes.


Emma Wookey
Department/Program: Clinical Psychology-Clinical Psychology
Poster Title: A Call for Health Education in a Rural African Context
Abstract: Youth in sub-Saharan rural Africa are a cohort at risk for early childbearing and sexually transmitted infections like HIV (Brieger et al., 2001). Researchers have concluded that many young people in the region have limited access to sexual and reproductive health education, including accurate HIV knowledge, and thus are at increased risk for engaging in unsafe sexual behavior and contracting HIV/AIDS (UNICEF, 2002, 2011). Further, greater access to reproductive and general health literacy is an important determinant of positive health outcomes and well-being to avoid sexual disease, alcoholism and drug use, risk-taking behavior, and stress (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2004).


Jung Yeon, Jaehyun, Jullia, and Liyang
Program/Department: Mathematics, Science & Technology / Communication, Media & Learning Technologies Design & Arts and Humanity / Applied Linguistics and the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages
Poster Title: LightPlay Your Creativity
Abstract: Albert Einstein once said, “creativity is intelligence having fun.” However today, many live with a focus to simply improve intelligence and gain knowledge. With advancement in technology, information has become more easily accessible than ever before and this has changed the way we live and interact with each other. We often neglect the importance of having original ideas and being creative. With this problem in mind, our group created LightPlay, a fun collaborative game that promotes individual creativity, where participants experiment to express ideas with colorful shadows.

Creativity has been flagged as an essential 21st century skill. And yet, insufficient resources exist to support the emerging need. Often times, creativity is misconceived as a skill possessed by special people, and therefore is difficult to have. The key to being creative is to simply look for new ways of doing things. However, people are often overwhelmed with the word creativity, and easily become trapped in mundane ways of thinking. In order to prevent learners from falling into this trap, educators should take initiative to promote creativity in the classroom. LightPlay promotes creative learning through social, constructive, investigative and expressive methods. Interdisciplinary curriculum through art is important because it enables students to solve problems and make meaningful connections. As the National Art Education Association states, interdisciplinary curriculum gives students the opportunity to generate new insights and to synthesize relationships among ideas. Moreover, LightPlay offers children, both in and out of classroom, the chance to think outside of the box using lights, shadows, and multiple resources provided by the game. Co¬Creativity naturally occurs while playing the game when students pose questions, debate new ideas, or negotiate differences. These also open up the opportunities to manipulate children’s thinking and actions to step away from traditional practices. In addition, students can collaborate ideas and actions and even take risks to explore new ideas. LightPlay will be a source for children to learn how others from different environment and background think and action through the balance between expressing oneself and collaborating with others.