Thursday, April 21, 2016

URSP Student Tameka Parker Explores the Relationship between Children's Environments and their Developmental outcomes

After completing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a double minor in Sociology and Childhood Studies this May, I will be attending graduate school for a Masters in Clinical Social Work. As a result of studying such disciplines, I feel a strong motivation to explore the relationship between children's environments and their developmental outcomes. Consequently, I decided to undertake an independent childhood research study before graduating. In embarking on this project, I felt that I could best combine the principles supported by each of the aforementioned fields of knowledge that I am passionate about.

My future career goals involve working with at-risk children, as well as children who are within the juvenile justice system. Hence, the topic of the research that I am currently studying reflects an aspect of children’s lives that has lasting implications. By exploring the ways in which parents, early childhood educators, and early childhood preservice teachers perceive and handle bullying, I seek to examine the role of importance that adults play in shaping the phenomenon of peer victimization and the implications of how their responses may directly or indirectly affect children’s lives in the future. By working closely with a mentor who has a doctorate in Educational Psychology and Human Development as well as postdoctoral training in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, I am provided with the best possible guidance for a project of this nature.

In the first few weeks of the Spring semester, I spent time distributing questionnaires to individuals who fit within the criteria of my studied sample. Now, I spend roughly 5 hours of each week at my mentor’s office, entering that collected data into SPSS statistical software. As time has gone on, I have begun to have discussions with my mentor about what sorts of analyses would be appropriate for this study. One particular thing I learned this week is how to generate syntax for a dataset within SPSS.