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Senior, Elementary Education major, Becca Hasenbein Posing for Photo at Research Conference
Becca Hasenbein, Senior Elementary Education major

A University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Education student recently presented research as the only undergraduate student at the Mid-South Educational Research Conference's annual meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Senior Elementary Education major Becca Hasenbein has been researching children's vocabulary and language development through play using science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) activities since the Spring of 2022. What she's learned throughout the process is how easy it is to find answers to your questions and apply that in real-life situations.

"It's been fascinating to explore different research hypotheses," said Hasenbein. "Seeing all the different studies and how easy it is to do your own research was really exciting. It showed me how easily you can do something about your questions and see the results firsthand."

The research study Hasenbein presented was titled "What is Math?" Expanding My Perspective as a Teacher Candidate." Throughout her research, Hasenbein looked at how a math activity called ramps and pathways could provide opportunities for students to enhance their oral language development.

Math is fun

From her research, Hasenbein watched as students learned to talk and work through their problems orally and how their math dispositions changed after the exercise and assessment.

"Students realized that doing math is and can be fun. We would ask students questions about math, how they felt about it, and what they thought of it. Most of the time, they described the subject as 'number stuff,' but afterward, they could relate math to being creative and articulate why they felt that way — ultimately viewing math differently."

Hasenbein's research was under the supervision of Assistant Professors in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Cora Causey and Dr. Taajah Witherspoon.

"I am very proud of our researcher from our elementary education program [Becca Hasenbein]," states Causey. "She successfully presented her research and was the only undergraduate presenter at the conference. Her presentation was a culmination of her research in the Elementary and Early Childhood Undergraduate Honors program and in conjunction with her pedagogy field work this semester."

Hasenebin is thankful for the support from her faculty and senior leadership at UAB.

"I'm really thankful that Dr. Causey pushed me to register and sign up for the conference. She supported me through the whole process and many others in the School of Education, and I'm happy I did it!"

Next semester Hasenbein will start student teaching at an elementary school and will graduate in Spring 2023. She is excited to take what she's been learning throughout her coursework and apply it to everyday life in a classroom.