Wednesday, December 3, 2014

URSP Student David Mathew Researches Predictors of School Suspension in Elementary School for Low-Income Ethnically Diverse Children

In the second semester of my junior year, I joined the Honors Program in Psychology. As part of the program, our class had the opportunity to have professors in the many subfields of psychology come into our classroom and explain the research they do in their field. One of the professors that came in was Dr. Adam Winsler who discussed his work in Applied Developmental Psychology. One of Dr. Winsler’s many areas of research that caught my interest was his work with the Miami-Dade County Public School System.

After arranging a meeting outside of class with Dr. Winsler, we decided to work on a collaborative project involving the data that he has on the Miami-Dade School System. One subset of data that really caught my interest was on school suspension. After further discussing the data on suspension rates, Dr. Winsler suggested that I look at predictors of school suspension.

This project has increased my desire to want to work in schools. Through extensive research on school suspension, I have begun to learn how frequently this punishment is utilized. Each time this punishment is used, students miss out on valuable instruction time in the classroom. My sincere hope is that through my future involvement in the school system, I can work to decrease the frequency of the punishment and allow all students to get the most out of their time in school.

On a weekly basis, I spend ten to fifteen hours researching existing literature on school suspension and writing preliminary drafts of my honors thesis. I have weekly meetings with my advisor to review my drafts and to evaluate my status on the project.

This week, I have begun to work with the data set that I will be analyzing. Beginning to work with this data set, has given me the opportunity to refresh my Microsoft Excel skills. This project has given me the opportunity to grow as a researcher and I truly hope that my findings will be able to further research in the field of psychology.