I always struggle to write about myself so here's my best shot....
In May 2010, I recieved my bachelors in middle school mathematics and science education from the University of Missouri, thinking I would change the world of STEM learning. I however found teaching 7th graders extremely unrewarding but still possessed a love for learning and helping others to learn. For a year after graduation, I continued to work for the Biological Sciences Division at MU in a academic support program. I helped to run an in-house tutoring program for students taking biology courses. The students that I worked with both through tutor training or directly through tutoring sessions revived me; these students truly wanted to learn! With a little pushing from my supervisor and another mentor of mine in the biology program I starting thinking about graduate school so I could run an academic support program. So here I am in my very first semester of Indiana University's Learning Sciences PhD program.
Currently, I am the incoming President-elect for the Heartland Chapter of the College Reading and Learning Association (and therefore planning a spring chapter conference). Because of my interests in academic support and developmental education as well as my connections at the CRLA I hope to pursue research in the area of support center assessment (i.e. how do we know if a support center is helping it's students and in what ways is it helping?) My current research (of course closely aligned with my advisor's endeavours) is in the area of the common core standards for math education as well as online learning for graduate students with a little bit of badge work mixed in. Through my work I have already become very intersted in qualitative data analysis, because while it can be messy I feel like it allows the data to have a soul and tell researchers a story; something I feel quantitative data lacks. Thus I am personally working on a qualitative analysis investigating community and the use of the badges in an online course. I am very new to the land of academia, a place I never thought I would venture into, so I hope to gain exposure and insight by being invovled in the scholars program.
On a personal note, while being a first year graduate student I am also planning my summer wedding! My fiance, Andy, and I are going to be married at a state park just a little ways from my hometown in Illinois. When I am not doing school work or wedding planning, I enjoy cooking and playing with our 1 year old cat, Josie. I also enjoy dancing, watching indie films and reading but so far I haven't had much time since we moved to Indiana to do those things. My non-career goal is to see as many countries as I can, I will do this of course when I am making the big bucks in the student assistance field....or when Andy gets a fancy engineering job, which is much more likely :) So far I have been to Ireland and England (to research our family generology, aka walking around graveyards) then to France (with family) and most recently to South Africa to learn about their education system and teacher training programs.
I am looking forward to meeting you all!