SOAR Student Profiles
- SOAR Position: Member; Alumni
- Major: Chemistry
- Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Elizabeth Dyer, Dr. Chengshan Wang
Current Focus: Teachers' familiarity with the new computer science standards and their readiness to implement the subject
Additional Interests: Peptide synthesis, spectroscopic methods, bio-analytical chemistry, STEM Education
Project DescriptionComputational thinking is stated to be a fundamental skill for everyone in the digital world of the 21st century. Therefore, many states are making it mandatory for the subject to be taught in schools, especially in early education. In Fall 2018, Tennessee released new standards for K-8 schools to enhance the teaching and learning of computer science. Besides that, the success of computer science teaching in K-8 schools also greatly depends on the readiness of teachers in incorporating the subject in their classrooms. Despite the importance of the subject, classroom implementation remains challenging for teachers, especially K-8 teachers. My project aims to apply different statistical tests and Item Response Theory to analyze and assess data to find how ready TN teachers are in teaching CS and what challenges they are facing. From this, we hope to enhance the teaching and learning quality of Computer Science in TN.
Why does this topic interest you?Besides being a Chemistry major, I also minor in Data Science. While involving in the scientific research of both fields, I understand how useful and important computational thinking is, not only in Computer Science but also in various fields including natural science and social science research. Therefore, it is very important for students to receive high-quality education on this subject from an early age. In addition, I think the transferable skills (statistics, data analysis, education) that I acquired from this project will be beneficial for my future career in Chemistry.
What are your professional aspirations?While I love conducting scientific research and sharing knowledge to educate people about science, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry and become a professor.
Do you have any advice for future researchers?Don't be afraid to ask your professors for the opportunities to get involved in their research, even if you never take their classes. The faculty members will never refuse to help their motivated students. However, I would advise you to know their expertise and research interest before reaching out to them. You can find helpful information by looking at their website and reading their recent publications.