Summer research project helps CEHS student hone teaching skills

Sydney Gubbels stands outside of the glass door entrance to Lincoln North Star High School.
As part of her Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience this summer, CEHS student Sydney Gubbels conducted research at Lincoln North Star High School. (Loren Rye - Pixel Lab)

Summer research project helps CEHS student hone teaching skills

02 Aug 2023    

Meet Sydney Gubbels, a junior secondary education (mathematics) major from Lincoln. This summer, Sydney conducted research alongside Kara Viesca, professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, as part of the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) program. The research explored motivation with high school students. 

What made you interested in doing a summer research project? 

I received an email about the UCARE summer research opportunity and thought it sounded intriguing. Once I got in touch with Kara and learned about all the ways I could make my research my own, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.  


How were you able to connect what you’ve learned in classrooms to what you did this summer?  

I decided on my research topic because of an article I read in one of my classes. The article was about motivation and the self-determination theory. I was enthused by this and wanted to learn more. When it came time to choose my research topic, I knew I wanted to study motivation. As I’ve continued with my research, I have tied many of the research theories that I have learned in my classes to my experience in the summer school classroom.  


What have you learned while doing your summer research project that will help you as you move forward in your academic career and beyond?  

I have learned so much that will make me a better teacher. I have not only learned about how to encourage motivation in the classroom, but also how to be a more reflective teacher. The research I did was called self-study. After each day in the LPS summer school classroom, I journaled about the interactions I had with students in the classroom. While I may not journal about each day in the classroom when I am a teacher, I have learned to become more self-reflective.  


What advice would you give to students thinking about doing a summer research project in the future?  

My first piece of advice – do it! It is an experience that is so enlightening and thought provoking. While you may not know exactly what it will entail just go for it because the experience will be so much more valuable than you would have ever expected. Also, choose a topic you love. Find something that you will want to keep learning about because that makes the research process so fun and exciting!  

College of Education and Human Sciences
Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education