COEHD students to present research at the 2022 UMaine Student Symposium

Several University of Maine College of Education and Human Development students are scheduled to take part in the 2022 UMaine Student Symposium (UMSS) on Friday, April 15, part of Maine Impact Week.

UMSS is an opportunity for UMaine students to present their research and creative works through posters, oral presentations and exhibits. Projects cover a range of topics in the arts, health care, science, engineering and education.

This year’s symposium is being held at the New Balance Field House and Memorial Gym from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with several presentations available virtually as well. A list of presentations featuring COEHD students is below:

Undergraduate Student Presentations

Title:Creating a Healthy Rural Ecosystem for Community Vitality: Developing Rural Business Research
Author(s): Nicole LaPlant; Karalyn Kutzer; Emily Newell; Kathleen Gillon; Eklou Amendah; Jamahl Williams; Catharine Biddle
Faculty Mentor: Catharine Biddle
Abstract: The objective of this project is to create a model of and mechanism for statewide, systematic data collection to support workforce development pathways for P-20 students in rural Maine to ensure the long-term vitality and success of these communities. Educational systems serve as the starting point of the creation of qualified workers for local business. However, data is not currently made available to school systems or businesses and community leaders that would allow them to make thoughtful decisions about how to use community resources and time in order to create these partnerships. The development of the community is intrinsically linked to the educational system and the opportunities it provides. Without qualified and educated workers businesses, and as a result towns cannot thrive (Bird, Sapp, & Lee, 2001; Schafft, 2016; Tigges & Green, 1994). Despite challenges in providing quality education in addition to business opportunities, these communities still have the potential to be successful in the long-term. Through a series of semi-structured interviews with educators in two rural Maine communities the researchers will utilize their preliminary research to gain a deeper understanding of the towns and collect data through the interviews in order to aid the development of the educational systems and their partnerships with businesses in rural communities to allow for economic development.

Title:Efficacy of the FIFA 11+ Injury Prevention Program in Maine High School Soccer
Author(s): Meg Lander, Christopher Nightingale
Faculty Mentor: Christopher Nightingale
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to assess the efficacy of the FIFA 11+ injury prevention program when used over the course of one soccer season in Maine high school athletics when compared to a standard warm-up approach. Every year, nearly two million injuries are sustained by high school athletes, and the FIFA 11+ program was developed to mitigate the risk of lower body injuries in soccer players. It has been shown to reduce the incidence of injury by one third or more in teenage and older athletes. Participants were randomly allocated into the FIFA 11+ group and the control group. The participants used their assigned warm-up program for the duration of their season. The results showed a statistically significant reduction in the number of injuries sustained by the FIFA 11+ group compared to the control group. The time lost due to injury was not statistically significant. The FIFA 11+ group suffered a total of 4 injuries with 97 days lost and the control group suffered 17 injuries resulting in 194 days lost. The four injuries sustained by the FIFA 11+ group were all serious and/or season ending while the control group sustained three serious and/or season ending injuries. The results suggest that the FIFA 11+ program is effective in decreasing the incidence of mild to moderate injuries.

Title:A Content Analysis of Diversity in Publisher’s Weekly Top Childrens books from 2000 to 2020
Author(s): Alyson Thompson; Emily Blackwell; Emma Hood
Faculty Mentor: Sandra L. Caron
Abstract: Our research team was interested in examining how diversity is portrayed in children’s books. Books are one of the tools used to develop children’s language. They are also the way children come to understand themselves and the world around them. We chose to examine the top books identified by Publishers Weekly for children ages 5-10 years old across a 20-year period. We were interested in examining the range of diversity in the content of those children’s books identified each year as “The Best” and whether this diversity changed across time.
Method: This study involved a content analysis of early childhood books listed by Publishers Weekly as the “Best Books” of 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020. Areas of diversity included race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, family forms, disability, and religion. We specifically read the children’s books with these key aspects of diversity in mind. We read and coded the content of a total of 71 books. We identified key themes in the top books for each year as well as examined these themes across the years.
Findings: We found that in almost every category of diversity, with the exceptions of sexual orientation and family forms, there was a steady increase in diversity presented in the top children’s books from 2000 through 2020. The areas of increased diversity included race/ethnicity, gender, disability, and religion. Implications will be discussed for authors and parents.

Title:A Content Analysis of Apps for Children Under Age 2
Author(s): Mikayla True; Adam Dawe; Caroline Kourfas
Faculty Mentor: Sandra L. Caron
Abstract: Our research involved a content analysis of the top apps marketed to infants to 2 year olds. We were particularly interested in looking at the purpose of the app and gender messages to understand the early messaging young children are receiving from such apps.
Method: The content analysis involved selecting the top 30 free apps for infants to 2 years old. Each research team member downloaded and noted the content of each app. Initial coding was based on purpose (educational vs entertainment), and gender messaging, based on such things as colors used, characters, activity, and voices. These individual codes were compared, differences discussed, and final coding of apps in terms of purpose (educational vs entertainment) and gender messaging (gendered or gender neutral) was determined.
Findings: The majority of the apps were described by their developer as educational. However, this self-proclaimed purpose was not supported when our research team coded the 30 apps. While most were coded as Educational, they were not appropriate for children under 2 in terms of teaching complex topics like spelling, adding, and word identification. Only 5 were coded as Entertainment. Of the top 30 apps for infants to 2 year olds, we determined half (50%; n=15) were Gendered apps (reinforcing traditional stereotypes of boys and girls) and the other half (50%; n=15) were Gender Neutral apps. The findings offer important implications for parents.

Title:Intimate Partner Violence Resulting in Homicide: A Content Analysis of Maine Newspaper Coverage of IPV Homicides
Author(s): James Sapiel; Sarah Lungarini; Olivia Perfito
Faculty Mentor: Sandra L. Caron
Abstract: Many people learn about and form opinions about IPV from the media, such as newspaper articles, evening news reports, and television dramas. Our research team sought to answer the following question: “How do Maine newspapers discuss intimate partner violence resulting in homicide?”
Method: Our content analysis involved newspaper articles on IPV resulting in homicide
between the years 2000 to 2020. Articles were obtained from three major Maine newspapers: Bangor Daily News, Portland Press, and the Sun Journal. A total of 80 articles were found using a combination of the search terms “intimate partner violence,” “domestic violence,” “murder,” and “homicide.” The 80 articles were read and coded for common topics or themes that appeared in the content of the articles. The research team met to share their individual codes, which were compared, differences discussed, and final coding of themes was determined.
Findings: Our content analysis revealed that most news reports provide factual coverage of the occurrence: Names, ages, manner of murder, and how law enforcement was notified. Based on the themes emerging from these newspaper articles, information is provided on the background of the relationship, and have a humanizing angle to the victim. We found that only when it was a murder-suicide did the stories of their relationship become a greater focus of the article (as compared to articles involving IPV homicide). Details of their relationship was discussed, and in some cases a photo was included of the victim or couple. Implications will be

Graduate Student Presentations

Title:Increasing Communication Opportunities in the Classroom Using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): A Systematic Literature Review
Author(s): Emma Budway; Cameryn Long; Lauren Page; Deborah Rooks-Ellis
Faculty Mentor: Deborah Rooks-Ellis
Abstract: Supporting children with complex communication needs requires adequate training on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems and providing ample opportunities for social interaction. This systematic literature review examines the benefits of AAC use in classroom settings and the optimal time to introduce aided or unaided systems. Key findings demonstrate benefits of AAC ranging from increased social closeness, participation in everyday contexts, and expressive language. AAC in the classroom with peer support has been shown to increase social interaction and overall use of AAC systems. Studies have found that 44.2%-71% of educators do not have sufficient training to support their students’ communication needs. The purpose of this review is to provide insight into parent, clinician, and educator understanding of AAC use and its benefits to children’s communication. This review is exploratory in nature and is limited by the available literature on the topic. Future research trajectories are also discussed, including cultural competence of AAC systems.

Title:The Study of Adult Learners in Distance Education: A Scoping Review of the Literature
Author(s): Anne Fensie; Teri St. Pierre; Meryl Krieger; Melissa K. Jones; Megan R. Alicea; Katrina Wehr; Aubrey Rogowski; Karen Bellnier; Sharon Flynn Stidham; Parm K. Gill; Linda Wiley; Aoife O’Mahony; Elizabeth Allan
Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Allan
Abstract: Understanding the research about adult learners is key to impacting their success, however, a systematic review of the literature about the learning process of adult learners in distance education settings could not be found. Given this gap, the goal of this research is to (1) map the current state of empirical and analytical research on adult learning in distance education; (2) identify gaps in the literature and directions for future research, (3) synthesize definitions, and (4) organize concepts and literature for other researchers and practitioners. An interdisciplinary and inter-institutional team of 16 researchers located 20, 241 possible abstracts for review and is undergoing several rounds of analysis to identify articles that meet inclusion criteria outlined in the study protocol. The online tools Abstrackr and Covidence are used to facilitate this process. Using a coding tool, articles will be indexed to answer the following research questions: (1) What are the characteristics of studies on adult learning in distance education? (2) What research methods were employed to study adult learning in distance education? (3) What did the analyses of adult learning in distance education reveal?

Title:Miss USA Meets Feminism: A Qualitative Study Exploring Contestants’ Thoughts on Feminism
Author(s): Julia Van Steenberghe
Faculty Mentor: Sandra L. Caron
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore beauty pageant contestants’ thoughts on feminism. A total of 11 of the 51 state titleholders who had competed in the 2020 Miss USA Competition were interviewed. The objective of the study was to gain an understanding of how women who compete in beauty pageants view their participation in light of feminism. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted. The research questions focused on the meaning for participants, pageantry support for feminist ideals, self-identification as a feminist, and response to feminist critics. Each interview was transcribed and coded for major themes. The resulting themes will be presented, along with a discussion of implications and suggestions for future research.

Title:Challenging Transformation: Taking Theory to Practice in Carceral Education
Author(s): Colleen Coffey; Kathleen E. Gillon
Faculty Mentor: Kathleen E. Gillon
Abstract: The purpose of this scholarly paper is to use the theoretical frameworks of Foucault (1977) and Freire (1970), in an effort to examine how paradigms of punishment and fear can be transformed to liberation through healing narrative. I argue that we must recognize the key ingredients of fear and discipline needed to deprive power also simultaneously deprive people of freedom worse than incarceration. What is stolen is dignity. To achieve truly transformative experiences while operating in spaces of fear, educators must empower students to be free under duress. Educators who occupy carceral spaces deeply rooted in punishment must recognize the existence of a constant juxtaposition: to educate another is to recognize their humanity, but to incarcerate another is to deny that same humanity. In order for prison education to be truly transformative, we must address the “power over” paradox and push for true reform in the carceral setting. Using genealogy and narrative, we can come to understand the contrary critical frames that we ask our students to use in the very spaces where they get punished for using them. Using critical power to truly liberate our students is to help them understand the power of their own narratives are the EXACT tools needed to dismantle the master’s house.