Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place April 11-15 this year. To celebrate undergraduate research and creative activity, we’re highlighting profiles of student researchers.
Research Topic: The African American Dream: A Progressive Discussion of Academic Achievement in African American Students
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Kevin Cokley, Department of Educational Psychology
“Whether you sit in on a research meeting, input data or conduct your own study, I believe research will be an invaluable experience as you begin to discover who you are and what you would like to become.” — Martinique Jones
Briefly describe your research project.
With the assistance of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program and faculty mentor Dr. Kevin Cokley, I completed a research project investigating the academic achievement of African American high school students. The purpose of this project was to combat many of the hegemonic notions surrounding the academic performance of African American students and shed light on methods by which students, parents, and teachers may best facilitate learning in African American students.
What was the most rewarding part of your research experience?
The most rewarding part of my research experience was presenting my research findings to the public. Through presentation opportunities sponsored by the McNair Scholars Program, the Heman Sweatt Symposium and the College of Liberal Arts, I was able to enlighten individuals on the unique educational experiences of African American students. It was rewarding to see how enthusiastic people are about education.
How has participating in research affected your undergraduate experience?
Participating in undergraduate research has been an invaluable experience for me. Throughout my research experience, I developed a new passion for learning –- not the type of learning you do for a regular class, but rather a passion for solving questions and learning about issues which have a large impact on society. All in all this passion has lead me to have a strong career interest in academia/research. My research opportunities have opened several doors for me. I have been awarded the opportunity to present my research at several symposiums and poster sessions, I have attended several conventions and conferences, and most important, I have been accepted to the University of Houston’s Ph.D. program in counseling psychology. Without this research experience, I would not be where I am at today.
What advice would you give incoming students about getting involved in research?
If I had to give advice to incoming students about becoming involved in research, I would say you should not leave The University of Texas at Austin without becoming involved in research in some form or fashion. Whether you sit in on a research meeting, input data or conduct your own study, I believe research will be an invaluable experience as you begin to discover who you are and what you would like to become.