Our Students in Action

Alexis Alabastro

Middle-School Aged Children and Culture

Second-year doctoral student Alexis Alabastro has soaring hopes to provide inspiring research that will one day change the education process for middle school aged children. Why middle school age? "Middle school aged children are transitioning really quickly," says Alexis, "And that's where we need to focus on understanding the learning process."

To compliment her research interests, Alexis is currently working in conjunction with DBOS professor Dr. Rebecca Eddy on a semester-long project which monitors achievement as a result of students' perceived academic control and tendency to use self-regulatory learning strategies. What she hopes to get out of this research experience is to understand the variables that go into academic achievement.
"I come from a diverse family of mixed races," she says, "And I feel that culture really has an effect on achievement." For that reason, one of her goals is to explore culture within education for her dissertation project.

However, Alexis says her current focus is to explore the attribution process and self-efficacy, seeing how these factors influence students' perception of control. "To the extent (students) perceive control over their academic environment, they are going to execute self-regulatory behavior which has a huge impact on their overall academic achievement". Her goal for understanding this process is to "improve teaching interventions while making them most effective and long-lasting."
In the end, Alexis says that trying to fuse the traditionally separate research in education, development, and social psychology can become difficult at times. Happily, there is hope: "CGU really fosters and encourages transdisciplinary research which is perfect for my interests." Alexis will continue the year working on her research as well as working as a Teacher’s Assistant in Research Methods for the Fall.