Doctoral students gather at MU for summer research institute

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 6:31 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 12, 2009

COLUMBIA ⎯ Twenty-three doctoral students and nine mentors from around the world are meeting at MU this week to discuss science teaching and learning.

"It's a great opportunity for feedback and advice about things you didn't think about," said Lori Petty, a doctoral student from Texas Tech University who said she hopes to broaden her networking skills.

Her dissertation involves using science notebooks to collect data in elementary science education.

The event consists of  a series of lectures and workshops to help students with their research, said Aaron Sickel, an MU graduate student who helped organize the graduate research institute.

Deb Smith, an assistant professor of science education at Penn State, said she hopes  students learn how to develop a professional identity in the science community. A session Monday focused on how students could narrow their questions and data in their studies and on how theoretical framework helps doctoral students become more comfortable with performing research, she said.

Jason McGraw, a doctoral student from Northern Illinois University, said he wanted to focus on instructional knowledge involving science simulations in the classroom. His goal involves creating new knowledge and becoming as accurate as possible by comparing his opinions with those of doctoral students and faculty, he said.

The graduate research institute is hosted by MU's College of Education. The National Association for Research in Science Teaching sponsored the event.

The institute began Sunday night and is set to conclude Friday.

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