Ph.D. in Education, 2013
School of Education
February 1, 2009
Ph.D. Student Studies Undergraduates’ Motivational Orientations and Emotional Responses During Testing
Sean is a member of the inaugural cohort of the Ph.D. program in Education specializing in Learning, Cognition, and Development. Originally from Taiwan, Sean immigrated to the United States when he was 13. He graduated from the University of California, Irvine, in 2006 with a BA in Psychology and Social Behavior and a minor in Education. During this time, he learned research and laboratory management skills as a research assistant with the group Palmtop Partner directed by Dr. Carol Whalen, Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior at UCI. Palmtop Partner utilizes an electronic diary (Personal Digital Assistant) to study social interactions, mood, cognition, action patterns and work productivity in everyday life.
During 2006 and 2007, Sean was a site coordinator at UCI for the University-Community Links (UC Links), a network of program sites providing access to quality educational resources and activities for children from diverse, low-income communities throughout the world. He also led an investigation into undergraduate students’ participation and perceptions of working with underprivileged children.
As a doctoral student, Sean’s first year project with Dr. Lindsey Richland examined the benefits of failing a test. He found that, contrary to common belief, trying and failing a test can be beneficial for students’ future learning at the cognitive level. Findings indicate that the mere act of taking a test creates a mental pathway that can enhance the impact of upcoming learning events. For his second year project, Sean is extending his first year project to incorporate emotional and motivational factors by monitoring participants’ motivation orientation and emotional responses.
In 2009, Sean is working as a Graduate Student Researcher with Dr. Lindsey Richland on strategies for promoting analogical transfer, researching long-term effects of alternative feedback styles, and investigating cross-cultural differences in problem solving.
Leadership and community building have played a significant role in Sean’s academic and professional career, and service commitments are a priority. Sean often works as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Education, where he has gained valuable experience in teaching and has increased his knowledge of human cognition and development in schools. In 2008, he served as co-chair of the UC Irvine Department of Education’s Ph.D. Cohort Recruitment Weekend and is continuing this role in 2009. He also has worked with the campus undergraduate group, Teachers of Tomorrow, to inform students about the importance and benefits of research.