We have been thinking about and measuring student impacts from undergraduate research experiences for more than 15 years. At the 2021 Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network (UFERN) Meeting, S4 Founding Principal Manisha Patel will present our journey of collecting, analyzing, and understanding data on these impacts. We highlight the need for and utility of systems thinking to better understand impacts of undergraduate research experiences.
Our presentation, “Using cultural-historical activity theory to interpret student gains and program outcomes at the Harvard Forest REU Site”, will be part of the interdisciplinary research lightning session focused on affective outcomes in field learning on March 5, 2021 (12:15-1:30PM EST). It is a collaborative effort with Andrew McDevitt, an education researcher who has helped shape our thinking about how we ask questions about student gains from participating in undergraduate research experiences and how to better interpret the students’ answers. Our collaboration has been enriched through using systems thinking and conceptual frameworks to apply and test models that improve our understanding of short- and long-term student impacts from undergraduate research experiences.