CEHD Research Day

Jump to the 2021 poster submissions

Join us Tuesday, March 23 for a virtual 2021 CEHD Research Day, Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, and World's Challenge Challenge. Come and support CEHD faculty, staff, and students as they showcase the impact of their research.

Log in at 11 a.m. and experience the 3MT competition, where CEHD Ph.D. students have three minutes to effectively explain their research project in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Register for Zoom session here.

Plan to join us again at 1 p.m. for a presentation of the World's Challenge Challenge 2020 winners, the 3MT winner presentation, and a live panel discussion featuring experiences and insights from CEHD faculty whose research and practice intersects with social justice. The discussion will be moderated by Joshua Collins (OLPD) with contributions from three panelists: Liz Lightfoot (SSW), Chalandra Bryant (FSS), and Bhaskar Upadhyay (C&I). Register for Zoom session here.



Research Day
Research Day Photo
Research Day

For Research Day 2021, each poster presentation consists of a poster PDF and an explanatory video. Click the poster title to see the poster PDF, and leave comments or questions for the presenters in the comments section on YouTube. To reach the comments section from videos embedded on the Research Day page, hover over the words "YouTube" on the bottom black bar. The full playlist is also available here.

Author(s): Sarah Gillespie, Sarah Eckerstorfer, Tori Simanec, Salma Ibrahim

Since 2018 the College of Education and Human Development has been in partnership with Western University in Ontario Canada selecting and sending interdisciplinary teams of graduate and undergraduate students to participate in Western's World's Challenge Challenge program. Western University has held the World’s Challenge Challenge for Western students over the past seven years. More than 30 teams compete annually by presenting their unique ideas to a panel of academic and community leaders. The competition helps students develop their academic, oral presentation, and entrepreneurial skills, all while encouraging them to take action on global issues and challenges. Please join us in congratulating the 2020 CEHD World's Challenge Challenge team.


Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Author(s): Amy Esler, PhD, Jennifer Hall-Lande, PhD, Jenny Poynter, PhD, Libby Hallas-Muchow, MS, Amy Hewitt, PhD

This poster describes the findings across two Study Years that tracked prevalence of autism in Somali and Hmong children in Minnesota. Children of immigrants may have higher rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Crafa & Warfa, 2015), particularly those from countries with a low human resource index (Barnevik-Olsson et al., 2008; Keen et al., 2010; Magnusson et al., 2012). Minnesota has the largest population of Somali immigrants, an estimated 57,000 people, and the second largest population of Hmong, close to 60,000 people (American Community Survey, 2017). Because ASD early identification can improve outcomes, identifying subgroups of children with a higher prevalence or more severe forms of ASD can inform public health policy and improve outcomes for individuals with ASD and their families. Differences in prevalence by racial/ethnic group may suggest barriers to service utilization. Culturally sensitive methods for outreach and diagnosis may be warranted to decrease disparities in evaluation and diagnosis of ASD.


Author(s): Amy Esler, PhD, Jenny Poynter, PhD, Lisa Wiggins, PhD, Jennifer Hall-Lande, PhD, Amy Hewitt, PhD, Cathy Rice, PhD, Bryn Harris, PhD, and Russell Kirby, PhD

The poster explores the average age of first autism special education eligibility for children in the US, as well as whether educational evaluations included an autism-specific measure. Age of ASD identification remains later than desired at 36 months despite increased public health initiatives and awareness (Baio et al., 2018). Research on when children are first identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) typically has focused on clinical diagnoses. However, some children are identified after they enter elementary school (Yeargin-Allsopp et al., 2003). For young children, use of the non-specific Developmental Delay (DD) special education category has increased over time for children with ASD (Rubenstein et al., 2018), even though this category may not be adequate in describing the needs of children with ASD.


Children's Mental Health and Welfare

Author(s): Jonathan D. Schaefer, Seon-kyeong Jang, Scott I. Vrieze, William G. Iacono, Matt McGue, and Sylia Wilson

Objectives: Observational studies have repeatedly linked cannabis use and increased risk of psychosis. We sought to clarify whether this association reflects a causal effect of cannabis exposure or residual confounding.

Methods: We analyzed data from two cohorts of twins who completed repeated, prospective measures of cannabis use (N = 1544) and cannabis use disorder symptoms (N = 1458) in adolescence and a dimensional measure of psychosis-proneness (the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 Psychoticism scale) in adulthood. Twins also provided molecular genetic data, which were used to estimate polygenic risk of schizophrenia.

Results: Both cumulative adolescent cannabis use and use disorder were associated with higher Psychoticism scores in adulthood. However, we found no evidence of an effect of cannabis on Psychoticism or any of its facets in co-twin control models that compared the greater-cannabis-using twin to the lesser-using co-twin. We also observed no evidence of a differential effect of cannabis on Psychoticism by polygenic risk of schizophrenia.

Conclusions: Although cannabis use and disorder are consistently associated with increased risk of psychosis, the present results suggest this association is likely attributable to familial confounds rather than a causal effect of cannabis exposure.


Author(s): Meredith H. T. Reese, Alyssa S. Meuwissen, and Deborah D. Ottman

A nationwide survey of reflective supervision/consultation (RS/C) providers conducted in 2018, found that 25% of respondents perceive a lack of access to training as a primary barrier to improving and maintaining their RS/C skills. Some of the themes that RS/C providers felt were missing from their RS/C training included specifics about providing RS/C, group supervision, self-regulation as a provider, and diversity informed RS/C. The Reflective Practice Center recently released a set of self-study modules to provide training opportunities on specialized RS/C topics, which cover the previously mentioned themes as well as additional topics. The modules cover information pertinent to RS/C providers, recipients, and decision-makers. The new modules have been well received, with 86 individuals enrolling in the first three months of their being available. This poster presents the early evaluation findings based on feedback from the first 24 participants to complete a module. Preliminary results indicate positive reactions to the training material across participants from a variety of different roles in the field of early childhood. The vast majority found the content of the modules to be high-quality, applicable to their work, and reported it either strengthened their current knowledge, or offered new ways to think about a given subject.


Education research and educational equity

Author(s): Ndilimeke Nashandi, MA, Jessica Toft, PhD, Elizabeth Lightfoot, PhD

This critical discourse analysis examine ways in which teen mothers are constructed in popular print media, The Namibian between the years 2014-2018. Although Namibia introduced a flexible educational policy Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy of 2010, many public schools obstruct adolescent mothers’ educational engagement. Studies shows teen mothers’ school dropout rate persists, they face an increased likelihood of intergenerational poverty and moral judgment. Rural teen mothers endure most of these negative consequences. Only 26.3% reengaged in school relative to 73.7% in urban areas. Instead, Namibian teen mothers are exposed to adverse childhood experiences and trauma. Sensitized by ubuntu, social construction of target populations, and socialist feminism perspectives the specific research question was: How are teen mothers socially constructed by the Namibian public? Results suggests, the Namibian public constructed teen mothers’ lives in the context of their complex adverse childhood experiences including, vulnerability, and support needed to enhance their wellbeing. The study implies that Namibian teen mothers’ face multiple barriers stemming from patriarchal and class structures that maintain their low political position. Yet, a few still blamed girls. The extent to which public discourse shape policy enforcement may inform the Namibian government to design culturally responsive school-based programs.


Author(s): Bismark Akoto, Dexter Lim, Irene Duranczyk

In this poster, we share results from the Algebra Instruction in Community Colleges (AI@CC) project, a study investigating the instructional quality in algebra lessons at community colleges. Evidence and findings were gathered from a corpus of video data from Fall 2017. We present results on how students' errors and difficulties are remediated in the Algebra classroom.


Author(s): Manos Hatzimalonas, M.Sc., Kayla Kemp, Rileigh Coyle, Gale Mason-Chagil, Ph.D., Katherine Sylvia, Madison Thornton, Sherri Turner, Ph.D., Carolyn Berger, Ph.D.

We conducted a qualitative research project aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of Native American engineering students’ (N = 25) entry into and persistence in engineering. Native American undergraduate and graduate engineering students were interviewed, using both individual interviews and focus group methodologies. The Social Cognitive Career Theory and Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory provided the guiding theoretical framework, which we used to formulate the interview questions. This research was based on the recognition that Native Americans are severely underrepresented in engineering, and even though Native American students indicate an interest in pursuing engineering, they do not graduate from engineering programs at the rate of other ethnic groups. Indeed, although Native Americans comprise approximately 2% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018), they hold only 0.4% of the baccalaureate degrees in engineering (U.S. Department of Energy, 2016). Thus, this project is aimed at advancing knowledge of the phenomena studied in hopes that counselors will be able to use this knowledge to investigate and implement counseling procedures, and in order to provide foundational data for use in future studies. Findings highlight the significance of early exposure through K-12 in engineering-related activities, the importance of socioemotional and institutional supports, the depriving impact of a systemic lack of accessible information and resources coupled with an absence of community and a sense of belonging, the collaboration with peers on coursework as a source of resilience to counter barriers, and the importance of connecting engineering with Native American life and values towards improving the lives of other Native people. Practical implications are offered for ways that both school and college counselors (in collaboration with professors, departments, and institutions) can support Native American engineering students’ entry and persistence to graduation in engineering.


Author(s): Emma Shanahan, the Early Writing Project team

Data-based instruction (DBI) increases writing outcomes for young students with and at risk for disabilities, and teachers are able to implement DBI practices with fidelity (McMaster et al., 2020). However, more research is needed to understand if teachers sustain their use of DBI after participation in research. The purpose of this poster is to examine why and how teachers sustained their implementation of DBI writing, specifically their use of writing instruction, curriculum-based measurement, and decision-making, after receiving tools and support from the Early Writing Project (EWP). We used survey data to summarize teachers’ sustained use of project components and measured fidelity based on intervention products. To identify common barriers and facilitators to sustainability, we conducted and coded teacher interviews. Results indicated that teachers sustained writing instruction and curriculum-based measurement with fidelity, and top facilitators were alignment of EWP materials to teacher practices and IDEA requirements, respectively. However, fewer teachers continued using the project’s decision-making materials due to preference for informal decision-making processes. We discuss strategies to increase the sustainability of DBI components, such as investigating and disseminating the importance of systematic decision-making.


Author(s): Panayiota Kendeou, Kristen McMaster, Britta Bresina, Jasmine Kim, Rina Harsch, Ellen Orcutt, Emily Reno, Bess Casey Wilke, Susan Slater

Many students experience difficulty learning to read, and in fact, year after year, over one-third of U.S. 4th graders read below a basic proficiency level (NAEP, 2019). Although reading achievement in Minnesota is typically high overall, the achievement gap between lower and higher performing students continues to increase. In response, Richfield Public Schools (RPS) and the University of Minnesota (UMN) began a partnership in 2014, with the goal to improve reading achievement for students in kindergarten through grade 2.

The result of this partnership is the Inference Galaxy, a suite of personalized digital learning tools that provide inference-making instruction to students in the primary grades. Inference-making is the cornerstone of reading comprehension, as it allows readers to fill in gaps in texts that are otherwise left unsaid. By improving inference-making, the Inference Galaxy may also foster students’ reading comprehension skills. In our research, we have examined whether scaffolding and feedback support inference making in students in kindergarten through grade 2.


Author(s): Jiayi Deng and Joseph Rios

An underlying assumption of coefficient alpha is that random error is uncorrelated; however, this assumption is violated when examinees engage in similar construct-irrelevant behaviors across items. One construct-irrelevant behavior that has gained increased attention in the literature is rapid guessing (RG), which occurs when examinees answer quickly with intentional disregard for item content. To examine the extent that estimates of coefficient alpha are biased due to RG, a simulation study was conducted in which the ability characteristics of rapid responders and the percentage and pattern of RG were manipulated. After controlling for test length and difficulty, results indicated that RG characteristics had a practically negligible impact on estimates of coefficient alpha, with the average degree of bias found to range from -.05 to .02 for upwards of 30% of RG responses in the data. This negligible effect was supported in a meta-analytic investigation, which observed a difference in coefficient alpha of .07 when comparing filtered (i.e., RG responses removed) and unfiltered (i.e., RG responses left in the data) datasets across five studies and 12 effect sizes. These findings suggest that estimates of coefficient alpha are largely robust to violations of the assumption that random error is uncorrelated due to construct-irrelevant behaviors such as RG.


Author(s): Thomas J. Smith and Cindy Kheng

Scientific reliability -- the degree to which a research method produces stable and consistent results -- represents a major linchpin of tenable scientific research. A number of different studies support the conclusion that usability testing of software interfaces lacks scientific reliability (Jacobsen et al., 1998; Jordan, 2017). The present report augments this conclusion with findings that heuristic evaluation, the second major pillar of usability analysis, also lacks reliability. We conclude that a key priority of “usability science” should be to initiate a systematic program of inquiry to investigate the degree to which this term has meaning.


Author(s): Ann Jenkin LaVanway

Gifted education is a type of programming that supports exceptional students with advanced abilities. Participating in gifted education has been shown to improve high school graduation rates (Renzulli & Park, 2000), higher education persistence (Lubinski & Benbow, 2013), and to provide a springboard for community and organizational leaders (National Association for Gifted Children, n.d.). In fact, some have referred to gifted students as “our most valuable natural resource” (Rimm et al. 2018, p. 2). However, gifted education has also been found to underrepresent Students of Color and indigenous students throughout the United States since the 1970s (Cross, 2013; Elhoweris et al., 2005; Ford et al., 2008; Grissom & Redding, 2015; Joseph & Ford, 2006; Mickelson, 2003; Wright & Ford, 2017). In Minnesota, the racial divide that exists among White students and Students of Color is one of the most significant in the entire country (Grunewald & Nath, 2019), and gifted education participation is no exception. Per the National Center for Education Statistics (2019), Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in gifted education are disproportionately represented in Minnesota. Of all White students, 7.2% have been identified as gifted. In contrast, only 6.0% of all Black students, 5.8% of Multiracial students, 4.7% of Hispanic students, 4.6% of Pacific Islander students, and 2.5% of Native Alaskan or American Indian students have been identified. The only exception to this phenomenon is that of Asian American students, who are represented at a rate of 14.9% (National Center for Education Statistics, 2019). Existing research demonstrates three main causes to this problem: 1) lack of federal legislation and inadequate state level legislation, 2) biased identification methods & timeline, and 3) a lack of teachers of color. The following policy analysis examines policy alternatives through technical feasibility, political feasibility, and administrative feasibility to choose a policy recommendation for improving the recognition and participation of BIPOC students in Minnesota's gifted education programs.


Author(s): Megan Goeke, David DeLiema

Maker education holds a few core values, but recent ethnographic work in makerspaces has revealed that these ideals are not consistently achieved. We were curious how the value of maker agency and self-determination was supported or constrained in the moment to moment reality of group interactions, focusing on a core moment of potential agency - the announcement of a maker’s goal. Using interaction analysis of video data from an open-ended makerspace to iteratively develop interaction conjectures, 2 major patterns were identified: goal announcements followed a general IRE sequence and makers oriented to the evaluative nature of the interaction by using hedging and multimodal demonstration in their goal announcements. This study indicates that simply not providing a goal or challenge in a makerspace is insufficient to achieve maker agency. Maker educators and makerspace designers may need to explicitly attend to non-assessment to counteract the consistently evaluative nature of interactions around goal announcements.


Author(s): Shelby Weisen, Ashley Hufnagle, & Martin Van Boekel

The purpose of the present study was to examine students’ memory for academic feedback in a naturalistic classroom setting. We investigated whether introductory applied psychology students had differential recall for four types of feedback and whether there was a relationship between the types of feedback students recalled and their overall course performance. Students completed an activity, were given authentic feedback on their assignment, and were asked to recall that feedback one week later. Findings suggest that students' recall across all feedback categories was extremely low compared to the amount of feedback units received. Notably, students had the lowest recall for the two types of feedback that theoretically stand to benefit them most. Furthermore, students’ recall for the content of the feedback was often poor, with many instances of students transforming the feedback from a more useful type to a simpler form. Practical implications of these findings are discussed.


Living Better, Living Longer

Author(s): J. Oh, A. Mahnan, J. Xu, J. Holst-Wolf, J. Konczak

Proprioceptive signals, the perception of body position and movement in space, are essential for the control of movement. Adult neurological diseases such as stroke or dystonia are associated with proprioceptive deficits. Current clinical practice to assess these deficits relies mainly on subjective clinical impression. Obtaining objective measures of proprioceptive function is uncommon, because the available assessment methods rely on specialized equipment that require extra expertise and/or they are very time-consuming. We here present a new system that conveniently and objectively measures finger position sense by implementing a psychophysical threshold hunting method. The system consists of a software application and a custom-built adjustable stand to mount tablets of different dimensions that run the application. The user places one’s hand with the index finger extended on the base of the stand. The tablet is positioned over the hand. The tablet display is dissected into two colored sectors. Assessment requires the user to judge under which area the finger is located (“left” or “right”). Based on the response, a Bayesian inference adaptive algorithm calculates the new display configuration for a subsequent trial. Testing lasts less than 5 minutes and after 50 trials the application computes the user’s perceived finger position.


Author(s): Elizabeth Lightfoot, Rajean Moone, Heejung Yun, Courtney Kutzler, Jacob Otis, Kamal Suleiman, Kenneth Turck

COVID-19 global pandemic has had an enormous impact older people and their family members. While family caregivers provide the bulk of care for older people and people with disabilities, there has been much of the scholarly attention on the psychological and physical impacts of the social isolation older people. In this study we focus on concerns and unexpected benefits of family caregivers of adults over age 65 or adults with disabilities regarding caregiving during the pandemic. The qualitative methods applied and inductive thematic analysis was used to explore the themes. In total, 52 virtual interviews were conducted, and each interview was recorded, transcribed, and reviewed, developing the codes to themes.

We found six themes related to concerns and five related to benefits of caregiving. Main concern was the social isolation of their family members, regarding how the social isolation would lead to declines in the mental health and physical and cognitive functioning. Despite their worries, caregivers in our study were able to identify benefits of caring during this pandemic. They described how COVID-19 deepened relationships among family members, and had spurred the use of new technologies for caregiving.


Author(s): Divya Bhaskaran,Naveen Elangovan, Arash Mahnan, Jinseok Oh, Peter J. Watson, Jürgen Konczak

Objectives: Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD) is a focal dystonia that causes voice breaks and a strained-strangled voice quality. Previously, a one-time administration of vibro-tactile stimulation (VTS) to the larynx improved speech quality in 69% of the participants with SD. This ongoing clinical trial examines the prolonged effect of laryngeal VTS in SD. We here report initial data of 7 participants with adductor SD who applied VTS at-home for 4 weeks.

Methods: Participants, randomly assigned to two groups, received VTS either at 100Hz or 40Hz. Smoothed cepstral peak prominence (CPPS), a marker of voice quality was obtained. The vocal effort for speaking the voiced sentences on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being maximal vocal effort, was examined. Change in variables (ΔCPPS, ΔVocal effort) between pretest and post-test was derived. A positive ΔCPPS > 2db indicates a meaningful improvement in voice quality. A negative ΔVocal effort rating indicates lesser effort to speak.

Conclusion: There is initial evidence that 40 Hz VTS assumed to stimulate only tactile mechanoreceptors above the voice box may lead to positive changes in the voice quality in SD. Other markers of voice quality are still under analysis and will provide a more comprehensive assessment of therapeutic effectiveness.


Author(s): Alec M. Basten, Christiana J. Raymond-Pope, Kyle A. Dalske, Sarah M. Greising

Oxidative metabolism is essential for the basic maintenance and contractile processes of skeletal muscle. It is likely that in traumatic muscle injuries, oxidative metabolism is disrupted and leads to compromised contractile function and systemic maladaptation. Volumetric muscle loss (VML) injury is traumatic injury that causes an irrecoverable loss in function and lifelong disability. In this study, we first sought to systematically review chronic oxidative comorbidities following VML, using PRISMA guidelines. We evaluated 140 studies, only 7 met our inclusion criteria. Results suggest that myofibers remaining following VML adopt a slower, more oxidative phenotype but lack the subsequent increase in capillarity that is expected in oxidative myofibers. Second, we evaluated how VML injury chronically impairs the capillarity and oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle. Mice underwent a sham procedure or a full-thickness multi-muscle VML injury and were evaluated at one- and two months post-injury. Strength was decreased and capillary to fiber ratios were significantly disrupted following VML. Combined, data from our studies suggest that oxidative maladies following VML exist but there is currently limited work aimed to characterize and/or address metabolic health following VML.


Author(s): Grace Hjort

In the wake of the global pandemic and the social distancing guidelines that have been implemented, many schools, childcare settings, and enrichment programs have become completely remote or socially distant. While necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, the shift into social isolation has led to more than just physical consequences, especially for children. The implementation of social emotional learning, a crucial and beneficial aspect of development, has been significantly limited. This poster will address the inquiry: Does a pandemic elevate the need for social emotional learning and how do the social distancing limitations impede the opportunities for social emotional learning?


Author(s): Lijun Li, Joyce Serido, Angela Sorgente, Gabriela Fonseca, Margherita Lanz, Žan Lep, Rimantas Vosylis

During emerging adulthood (EA, 18-30 years old), individuals are expected to become financially self-sufficient, and the most common pathway is through employment. Many EAs were struggling to secure stable employment. As a result, EAs are taking longer to become financially self-sufficient and many continue to rely on family financial support in the third decade of life. The economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions on employment made it even more difficult for EAs. Specifically, many young workers lost their job, meanwhile some others are still employed but had significant income loss. The current study examined the impact of job loss and income loss due to COVID-19 on EAs worldwide by collecting data from 2,282 participants across six countries. Guided by the stress appraisal theory and life course theory, we conceptualized COVID-19 as a turning point, which created stressors such as job loss and income loss that disrupted the lives of EAs. We found that stressors such as job loss and income loss are associated with psychological well-being as well as general and future financial well-being. Specifically, this association was mediated by EAs’ primary appraisal, which was indicated by whether they perceived the pandemic as an opportunity or misfortune.


Author(s): Beth Lewis, Katie Schuver, and Shira Dunsiger

Only 19% of women and 26% of men meet the USDHHS physical activity (PA) recommendations despite the numerous health benefits associated with PA. High intensity interval training (HIIT), which consists of short bursts of high-intensity PA followed by recovery or light PA, potentially addresses the time barrier associated with PA adherence. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a home-based HIIT intervention on PA adherence among low active adults. Participants (n=47) were randomly assigned to a home-based HIIT intervention or wait-list control lasting 12 weeks. Participants in the HIIT intervention received eight telephone calls designed to increase PA adherence by utilizing strategies based on Self-Determination Theory. Participants in the HIIT intervention increased their vigorous intensity PA from 3.9 minutes per week at baseline to 40.0 minutes at six weeks and 61.8 minutes at 12 weeks, which met the study’s vigorous intensity goal of 60 minutes of HIIT per week and was significantly more minutes/week than the wait list control at six weeks. This study provides evidence for feasibility and possible efficacy of a home-based HIIT intervention; however, additional studies are needed with larger samples sizes to confirm efficacy of home-based HIIT interventions.


Author(s): Brooke E. Wagner, Amanda L. Folk, Samantha L. Hahn, Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Nicole Larson, and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Understanding how screen time behaviors changed during the COVID-19 pandemic is important to inform the design of health promotion interventions. The purpose of this study was to quantify and describe changes in recreational screen time from 2018 to 2020 among a diverse sample of emerging adults. Participants (n=716) reported their average weekly recreational screen time in 2018 and again during the pandemic in 2020. Additionally, participants qualitatively reported how events related to COVID-19 had influenced their screen time. Weekly recreational screen time increased from 25.9±11.9 hours in 2018 to 28.5±11.6 hours during COVID-19 (p<0.001). The form of screen time most commonly reported to increase was TV shows and streaming services (n=233). Commonly reported reasons for changes in screen time were boredom (n=112) and a desire to connect with others (n=52). Some participants reported trying to reduce screen time because of its negative impact on their mental health (n=32). Findings suggest that screen time and mental health may be intertwined during the pandemic as it may lead to poorer mental health for some, while promoting connectedness for others. Health professionals and public health messaging could promote specific forms for screen time to encourage social connection during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.