Lani Hisako Matsumura began research in her first quarter at UC Irvine, and it has been an important part of her education ever since. With a goal of becoming an elementary school teacher, she has used her research to broaden her exposure to the sciences and potential roles of technology in teaching. Her favorite research memory has been receiving a SURP grant, which she felt affirmed the value of her project and further encouraged her in pursuing her educational goals. After graduation, Lani plans to attend Stanford University to earn her Master of Arts in Education and preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. UROP is pleased to recognize Lani for the passion she has brought to her undergraduate research.

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

Through my research project, I study how studentsí study skills affect learning outcomes in three large Molecular Biology sections (BIO SCI 99) at UC Irvine. I also examine the impact of improving studentsí study skills and how student decisions about what they prioritize when they study are related to their academic achievement in the course. My SURP mentor is Dr. Rachel Baker at the School of Education. I am also a Research Assistant on the Investigating Virtual Learning Environments (IVLE) project of the Digital Learning Lab under Dr. Mark Warschauer and Dr. Fernando Rodriguez, and on the Hellman Project, ďPromoting complex thinking for under-represented youths in science classrooms by improving a local STEM instruction systemĒ under Dr. Hosun Kang.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

During the summer of 2016, I participated in the Freshman Edge program. One of the events I attended was a UROP Panel, which I found very inspiring, especially since I knew I wanted to get involved in research. Shortly after, I reached out to Dr. Warschauer at the School of Education regarding some of his work that fit my interests and passions. I became a Research Assistant on IVLE in September of my first quarter at UCI.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Through research, Iíve built relationships with professors who have challenged me to think critically, communicate clearly, and stretch out beyond my comfort zone, all of which align with my values. Research has allowed me to explore my interests in the field of education and has strengthened various skills that I apply in all of my courses, especially those that involve writing and analysis.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

My favorite experience would be when I found that I received my SURP grant. Leading up to that moment, I had been performing work, such as coding qualitative data, transcribing interviews, participating in project meetings, and discussing articles and research with my mentors. After submitting a proposal and finding out in spring of 2017 that I had received a SURP grant, I felt so excited and grateful that I would have the chance to apply all that I had learned to my own project. I was excited to look forward to presenting at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in May!

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I aspire to earn my Master of Arts in Teaching and become an elementary school teacher. Being involved in research has fed my academic plans as well as the research interests Iím looking forward to pursuing in graduate study. Because technology is being increasingly used in the classroom, even at the elementary level, working on IVLE has helped me gain great insight on the impacts of virtual learning on studentsí attitudes, performances, and even on instruction processes. I am also very passionate about science education. After receiving a State Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish and taking UCIís first two Biology classes for biology majors, general chemistry sequence, and classical physics sequence at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) while in high school, I encountered the perfect way to combine those two interests. Working on Dr. Hosun Kangís Hellman Project has allowed me the opportunities to film Professional Development STEM teaching workshops, transcribe teacher interviews, and discuss articles about Professional Learning Communities and studentsí identities in science, including those who are under-represented. Especially since many elementary school teachers express discomfort in teaching science, these experiences have helped me gain valuable knowledge that I can apply throughout my career as a teacher.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

Search for opportunities that you are genuinely interested in, and donít be afraid to reach out to professors whose work fits your passions. Taking these initiatives has been one of the best decisions Iíve made at UCI.

Past Researchers of the Month

Jul. '18 Lani Hisako Matsumura
Jun. '18 Philip Hwang
May. '18 Daniela Macias
Apr. '18 Marco Antonio Miranda
Mar. '18 Beverly Alicia Mendoza
Feb. '18 Giana Angotti
Jan. '18 Daryl Chau Nguyen