Thursday, December 3, 2015

URSP Student Alenamie Alegrado Researches the Factors that Predict Middle School Student Enrollment and Retention in Music Electives

I love children and I love music. I have always wanted to work with kids or do meaningful work for the benefit of children. My entire life, I’ve been humming, whistling, playing an instrument, or singing. I’m so fortunate to have found a mentor who shares my passion for children and music and who generously helps me grow as a researcher. With my research project, I hope to identify factors that predict whether or not a student will choose to enroll and participate in middle school music programs. When I first met my mentor, I shared my enthusiasm for music with him and we chatted about how environment and culture shape a child’s decision to pursue music in school. The idea for my project began there and has transformed into quantitative research. 

My decision to become involved with research began with curiosity and eagerness to learn. I have learned more about myself, my abilities, and my potential because I decided to become involved with research and complete an undergraduate honors thesis. Also, I plan to go to graduate school. Graduate school in psychology revolves around research. I really wanted to gain research experience and skills as an undergraduate to prepare myself for the future.

On a weekly basis, I spend my time stressing over all the work I have to do! I am constantly revising my research paper, getting familiar with my sample data, and learning more about research in general. Although it is exhausting, I’m proud of the amount of work I’m able to do in a day. I always remind myself that it’s important to take a step back from my course load, my research, and my lab responsibilities to make time for my friends, my family, and myself.

One thing I discovered this week is my sample size! I have been manipulating and cleaning up my data set, but have not identified my sample size until this week. I’m excited to report that my sample consists of 24,970 participants!