Ph.D. in Education, 2016
School of Education
November 1, 2012
Research Interest Focuses on Students in Special Education
Ken Lee is a second year Ph.D. student in the School of Education specializing in Learning, Cognition, and Development. His research interests include out-of-school time, socio-emotional development, positive youth development, and health outcomes such as obesity, substance use, and energy expenditure in youth. He also is interested in life-span development, examining at the links between early childhood and later adult outcomes such as income and years of completed schooling.
Ken’s research interests began as an undergraduate at Tufts University, where he double majored in Child Development and in Economics. At Tufts, Ken was introduced to Dr. Richard M. Lerner at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development (IARYD).
At IARYD, I worked as a volunteer research assistant on the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development doing secondary data analysis examining the relationship between the contextual assets afforded by participation in Scouting (Boy Scouts of America or the Girl Scouts of the United States of America) and an individual’s social competence in Grades 8, 9, and 10, in addition to a number of other projects.
Ken considers himself fortunate to have joined the Developmental Technologies Research Group (DevTech) in addition to working at IARYD. At DevTech, he worked on the NSF-funded TangibleK project, focusing on computer programming and robotics with the goal of understanding what is developmentally appropriate for young children in light of novel human-computer interaction techniques that provide more age-appropriate access to technology. As part of the TangibleK project, Ken was mentored by Dr. Marina U. Bers and piloted a study examining how different teacher pedagogies involving computer programming and robotics in kindergarten children classrooms affected social interactions between children.
At DavTech, I acquired additional research experience with data collection and had a chance to figure out if a career in academia was right for me.
Upon realizing that his future was in academia, Ken followed the advice of Dr. Lerner and decided to pursue a PH.D. in Education at UC Irvine under the mentorship of Professors Joseph Mahoney, Greg Duncan, and Deborah Lowe Vandell.
Currently, Ken is working on a number of projects. In the field of out-of-school learning, he is a graduate student researcher (GSR) for UC-Links, the fieldwork manager of the Certificate in After School Education (CASE) program, and the liaison between the School of Education and its affiliated out-of-school time programs.
Under the guidance of Professor Duncan, Ken is working on a project that uses the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY79) to examine links between low academic achievement and problem behaviors in middle childhood and early adult outcomes such as years of completed schooling and substance use.
With Professor Vandell Ken is working on the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development examining the moderating effects of individual characteristics on the relationship between out-of-school contexts on substance use and BMI (body mass index) at late adolescence. Ken hopes to start preparing his results for publication within the next few months and is extremely grateful for the mentorship that he has received before and during his pursuit of a doctorate degree.
Outside academia, Ken is an avid follower of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers and enjoys an occasional round of golf.
I’m also currently contemplating buying a set of turntables to revisit my days as a club DJ when I was at Tufts.