Thursday, April 6, 2017

URSP Student Ashley Whimpey Hopes to Understand What Motivates Students to Have an Interest In Programs

Research was not my first pick. In 2014 when I started college OSCAR seemed like an event I may never think about again, and I was completely wrong. My name is Ashley Whimpey, I came to Mason to pursue a dream studying media production, project management, and rhetoric. An interest in well being tumbled me into a minor in Consciousness Studies, and a class under that minor landed me right smack in the middle of a high paced psychology lab. Working closely with grad students turning over questions made me want to engage deeper in my own research. As a communication major, I wanted to play up my love of media and connection while bringing in my growing love of well-being. As my mentor, Mark Thurston, began to build a pathway through the Mason CORE (general education), I saw an opportunity. Now, I love research and work, think, and play with it every single day.

My research mentor, Chris Clarke, helped me put together a project with focus groups and coding analysis. Should the project succeed, we will be able to better understand what type of things motivate and inspire undergraduate freshmen to take an interest in programs (like ENCORE) in order to better design, establish, and recruit for them.

An average week means lots of meetings with different professors, offices, and students about coordinating times, ideas, and clarifications. Mostly, I spend a lot of time reading articles about the theory’s application in other projects to get the best ideas and see where my work fits in.

In my research, I’ve had this wonderful opportunity to learn more about what students like me like and see how they see the world’s opportunities. I also have watched so many seemingly unconnected aspects of my college experience come together. Much of what I do doesn’t always seem to connect, and this project has brought home a lot of faith in me that I can not only tread where the path is slim, but pave my very own when necessary. Hopefully a grad school, PhD program, and my mentors all think that’s as rad as I do when it’s all said and done.