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Mentored Research Conference

Collaboration fuels and supports effective research. Products of student-faculty collaboration are showcased in the annual Mentored Research Conference, which brings together McKay School students and faculty to conduct and display their scholarly work.

Every year, McKay School students work with research advisors in their departments, and student and advisor decide on an area of research together. For example, Department of Communication Disorders (ComD) students Courtney Morris, Rebecca Mansfield, and Emily Gibbons conducted research with ComD faculty members Bonnie Brinton and Martin Fujiki on language impairment in children.

They explained that the conference has given them valuable opportunities to work with and learn from experts in the field. “[Brinton and Fujiki] are really on the forefront of social communication [in children] with language impairment,” Mansfield said. “Dr. Fujiki served on the [American Speech-Language-Hearing Association] national committee for viewing social communication intervention, so he just has this breadth and depth of experience. He’s passing a little of that on to us so we can go and do it in our professional careers,” Gibbons continued.

Brinton mirrored her students’ feelings, saying “The mentored research conference is an excellent opportunity for students to present their work and gain experience talking about their research in a supportive environment.” In addition, participating in the conference makes graduates more competitive than other potential job applicants. Professor Betty Ashbaker of the Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education explained that students can list their presentations and poster sessions on their curriculum vita, which they will present in searching for jobs or for future educational opportunities.

The conference is also an opportunity for faculty to learn from each other. Dr. Ashbaker commented on participating: “Between teaching classes, meetings, and citizenship activities such as committees, we often lack the necessary time to visit with colleagues and learn about their research. The conference provides me with an opportunity to share my research and learn more about the research of my colleagues.”

Danielle Cannon, a graduate student in school psychology, conducted research with Ashbaker, focusing on the need for training paraeducators in suicide prevention and counseling. “[The research] gets you out in the schools and doing something that you feel is important. You become an expert in an area that builds you professionally,” Cannon said. Ashbaker agreed, saying that Cannon’s research and that of students like her will make ripples in education far beyond the conference. “Danielle is conducting research that will have an impact on schools throughout the U.S,” Ashbaker said. “Her vision of this research will help many students.”

The ten winning students and their mentoring faculty members each received $500. The judging criteria included layout and aesthetic look of the posters and depth in study represented by the research. Ninety-seven students and 64 faculty members participated in the conference.

The conference is sponsored by the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling’s Research Division. All further questions can be directed to Posters presented at the conference will be displayed in the David O. McKay building.

Below is a complete list of the winners from the conference:

  • Counseling Psychology and Special Education
  • “Evaluation of a Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum, Strong Kids, Implemented School-wide”
  • Thomas Kramer
  • Mentor: Paul Caldarella
  • “Educational Services Provided to Students with Disabilities in a Tibetan Refugee Residential Rehabilitation Center in India: A Case Study”
  • Britany A. Barnes
  • Mentors: Gordon Gibb, Betty Ashbaker, Mary Ann Prater
  • “Screening and Diagnostic Validity of Affinity”
  • Heather Stephenson, Sierra Baird, Joy W. Cox, Rod Veas, Kristina Hansen, Danita Williams
  • Mentor: Lane Fischer
  • “Paraeducators: Gatekeepers to Youth Suicide Prevention”
  • Danielle Cannon
  • Mentor: Betty Ashbaker
  • “Secondary Teachers’ Role in Suicide Prevention: Preparation, Confidence, and Comfort in Intervening with Suicidal Students”
  • Victoria Hatton
  • Mentor: Melissa Allen Heath
  • Instructional Psychology and Technology
  • “Scholarship Trends in Blended Learning”
  • Lisa Halverson, Jeffrey S. Drysdale, Kristian J. Spring
  • Mentor: Charles R. Graham
  • “An Analysis of Research Trends in Dissertations and Theses Studying Blended Learning”
  • Jeffrey Drysdale
  • Mentor: Charles R. Graham
  • Communication Disorders
  • “Facilitating Emotion Words in Children with Social Communication Challenges”
  • Emily Gibbons, Courtney Morris, Rebecca Mansfield
  • Mentors: Martin Fujiki, Bonnie Brinton
  • Educational Inquiry, Measurement and Evaluation
  • “The Effects of Open Educational Resources on Science Learning Outcomes”
  • T. Jared Robinson
  • Mentor: Lane Fischer
  • Educational Leadership and Foundations
  • “A District-Wide Study Confirming the Relationship Between Professional Learning Communities and Student Achievement in Elementary Schools”
  • Joseph Backman
  • Mentors: Sterling Hilton, Ellen Williams, Pam Hallam, Teresa Leavitt, Shannon Dulaney