CSA Day 2021: Student Spotlights in Education & Child Development

Interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.


Madisyn sitting outside on a bench
Photo courtesy of Madisyn Clark

Madisyn Clark

Project title: “The Effects of Remote Teaching on Teacher Motivation”

Please describe your research.

My research was conducted in the Psychology Department, but I am a Meredith College Teaching Fellow. My research is looking at the effects of remote learning on teacher motivation and it consisted of a quick survey sent out to public school teachers asking them various questions related to preparation time for teaching, excitement levels, stress levels and overall motivation. I hypothesized that motivation would decrease for teachers who were teaching remotely as compared to those teaching face-to-face or combination. Results were trending towards higher stress levels and tiredness in online/combination formats when compared to face-to-face format. Conversely, results showed higher excitement levels in face-to-face when compared to online/combination formats.

What inspired your topic?

My topic was inspired due to being a Teaching Fellow and a senior who will be entering the teaching profession in a few short months. During COVID-19, I have noticed a decline in my motivation to get my school work done, and many studies are currently being done to look at student motivation during COVID-19. However, I was not able to find any studies being done to look at how teachers have been impacted during this pandemic. During this research, I hoped to see how teacher motivation was being impacted due to COVID-19 and what strategies teachers need to cope with this extra stress.

How did COVID-19 impact your research process?

COVID-19 completely changed my research topic from my original plan. Originally, I planned to conduct research face-to-face with preschool students over a long period of time.This new topic has allowed me to remotely send out surveys and not need to be face-to-face to conduct my research. While the pandemic has had many challenges on all of us, I hoped to gain more insight on how COVID-19 is impacting our teachers.

Do you feel that this research or some aspect of what you’ve learned will apply to your future, whether in continuing education or in the working world?

I feel that this research will greatly impact my future both in the working world and in continuing my education. Next year, I plan on going to graduate school to pursue a Masters of Arts in Teaching for Special Education. This research has given me the skills and resources to possibly continue conducting research throughout my time as a graduate student. Furthermore, it will help me in my career as a teacher as it has given me the knowledge to research and understand difficulties within the field of education.


Amyia standing outside by a tree
Photo courtesy of Amyia Gorham

Amyia Gorham and Hannah Porter

Project title: "Gender Bias in Schools: Role of School Dress Code Policy Enforcement, Body-Shaming on Female Adolescent Development”

Please describe your research.

Our undergraduate research project allowed us to conduct a focus group on several high school female students where we coded themes associated with gender, body image and dress code.

What inspired your topic?

We were both particularly interested in looking at how dress code affects female adolescent development since dress code is an aspect of the school system, and we are both pursuing degrees in the education field. Our project was inspired by a previous project that our advisor, Dr. Pamela Norcross, conducted last year with two other Meredith students about school dress codes. We were particularly interested in researching how those dress codes affected the adolescent identity development of females, especially since we both attended schools with dress codes for grades K-12 and have seen firsthand how varied the enforcement can be.

How did COVID-19 impact your research process?

COVID-19 impacted our undergraduate research process in a negative way by limiting the number of high school adolescents that we were able to interview within focus groups. However, we emphasized quality over quantity, so we feel that we still learned a multitude of information.

Do you feel that this research or some aspect of what you’ve learned will apply to your future, whether in continuing education or in the working world?

Hannah: My research endeavors will definitely apply to my future since they both correlate with the educational system.

Amyia: In the future, I will be working in the education field, and learning about how dress codes affect the identity development of students code will help me if I am ever in the position to enforce a dress code or even create one. I learned a lot about how to conduct research, as this was my first time doing research, and I will be able to use this skill later in my career if I ever choose to further my education or conduct more research.


Hannah standing outside
Photo courtesy of Hannah Porter

Hannah Porter

Project title: "The rise of virtual learning: How ESL teachers use technology to promote engaged literacy in K-2 non-native English speakers”

Please describe your research.

My thesis enabled me to conduct a survey via Google forms on seven ESL teachers in North Carolina. I asked them questions about educational terms that pertained to my literature review, confidence levels with implementing technology and how virtual learning affected their students' engaged literacy.

What inspired your topic?

This topic was directly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the virtual learning platform that all students are navigating. It is geared towards elementary school students in the K-2 range since I am currently most interested in teaching these grade levels. I also wanted to conduct research relating to English as a Second Language (ESL) education in order to acquire skills that will help me effectively educate students who are learning the English language. Additionally, I was hoping to gain technology resources that I can use in my future classroom. These elements led to the development of my thesis.

How did COVID-19 impact your research process?

COVID-19 impacted my thesis research process in a negative way by limiting the number of ESL teachers that I was able to gain as participants for my survey. However, COVID-19 ultimately led to the advent of my project, and it could be argued that my thesis would not have been born without the pandemic.

Do you feel that this research or some aspect of what you’ve learned will apply to your future, whether in continuing education or in the working world?

My thesis will give me insight into navigating teaching as we enter post-pandemic life.


Interviews compiled by Aminah Jenkins, Staff Writer

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