I entered the CSTL program in 2010 after studying chemistry for four years at Beijing Normal University (BNU) in Beijing, China. My advisor, Dr. Richard C. Anderson gave me tremendous support during last three years to help me adjust to a new academic field. He helped me develop expertise in children’s reading and reasoning and strengthen my ability to do both quantitative and qualitative studies. With his professional guidance and inspirational encouragements, I completed my master thesis on English language learner’s oral narratives. This study investigated how collaborative group work promotes Hispanic children’s language production, storytelling, and thinking and reasoning. My second study investigated children’s ability to organize text information and bridging inferences into coherent causal chains, a process we call multi-link reasoning. We found that children who participated in collaborative group discussions were more likely to generate longer chains of reasoning. These two studies built my interests in self-directed knowledge construction process and the development of transferrable skills. I will continue studying how multi-link reasoning skill transfers in different tasks and how children integrate background knowledge, text information, and inferences into coherent mental models.
I enjoy doing educational research, but I also want to find a way to use what I learn. In the summer of 2012 I volunteered for Dream Corps International, a nonprofit organization devoted to improving the environment for learning and development of children in rural China. We built a library for the local elementary school and introduced a rich variety of high quality books to underprivileged children. I hope I can be more involved in this kind of activities.
In my free time I like to write novels, play piano, go to museums and art galleries.
I am a PhD Student in Educational Psychology (CSTL) at the College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently I serve as Graduate Research Assistant on multiple projects working with faculty from Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Psychology, Physics, and Engineering. I hold a M.A. in Educational Psychology from Wichita State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with endorsements in both mathematics and natural science from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. I have 11 years of math and science teaching experience at the middle school, high school, and technical college levels.
I have many diverse research interests. My master’s thesis involved investigating how research experiences affected graduate students Nature of Science beliefs. I am currently working with Prof. Jose Mestre, on several projects investigating expert-novice differences within introductory Physics courses, as well as designing interventions utilizing cognitive diagnostic computer adaptive testing aimed at struggling students. I am also working with Prof. Robb Lindgren investigating the ways in which embodied experiences affect learning within STEM courses, as well as students’ conceptual understanding of geologic time.
I have a 3-year-old son, so my free time involves a lot of playing with matchbox cars and watching cartoons. I also enjoy cooking and sports. I am also training for two half-marathons in the Spring.