School of Education
January 1, 2013
“My personal goal is to inspire the research assistants within our lab to discover their academic curiosity.”
Jana Leyrer began research in the School of Education during her senior year as an undergraduate at UC Irvine. She had just finished working as a school counselor in Buena Park through Outreach Concern, Inc., and was taking her first education class: EDUC 173: Cognition and Learning. The opportunity to join the School of Education arose when graduate student Teya Rutherford spoke to the 173 class to recruit research assistants for Dr. Michael Martinez’s Brain Boost project.
Jana’s involvement with Brain Boost began with the preparation of an activity called Denktraining.
Denktraining focuses on developing metacognition with inductive reasoning and problem-solving skills in a small discussion group. I particularly enjoyed working with students, transcribing focus groups, and developing an instructional manual for use in the classroom.
After graduating from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Psychology-Cognitive Sciences, Jana became even more involved in the Brain Boost project, and she submitted her first two papers about developing a manual for Denktraining and the Socratic method to the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in 2011. Jana subsequently accepted a position as lab manager for the Spatial Temporal Mathematics at Scale (ST Math) project at the School of Education and initially began leading teams to collect data at school sites.
The UCI ST Math team evaluates a large-scale educational software intervention and in the process, tests theoretical models with the goal to advance understanding of the role of cognition, motivation, and technology in mathematics learning.
When the Center for Research on Cognition and Learning (CRCL) was established in summer of 2011, it served as a home for Brain Boost, ST Math, and ST Math sub-studies like Multitrait-Multimethod (MTMM). Each quarter Jana’s duties as a lab manager expanded to accommodate the evolution of the Center and its projects.
I currently am in charge of recruiting, enrolling, training, and supervising research assistants for Education 198: Directed Research in Education.
Jana has worked on developing a webpage for the CRCL within the School of Education website and acts as a liaison between the M.I.N.D. Institute and Orange County Department of Education (OCDE). In 2012 she began supervising a few temporary SOE employees for CRCL projects.
Although Jana is a staff member at the SoE, the majority of her time is spent with undergraduate and graduate students in the CRCL lab (nicknamed the “Nevada room” for its unique shape). The atmosphere of the SOE graduate student lifestyle has been rubbing off on Jana, who enjoys the flexible, self-directed work environment. She explains that she finds the varying duties, demands, and deadlines as a lab manager invigorating and has begun auditing a graduate statistics class with Professor George Farkas.
My personal goal is to inspire the research assistants within our lab to discover their academic curiosity and use the resources available to them to design and write their own conference papers.
Through the CRCL Jana has narrowed her interests to the neuropsychology of cognition and aspires to apply to a graduate psychology program in the near future.