Ph.D. in Education, 2016
School of Education
May 1, 2011
Doctoral Studies Focus on Positive Child and Youth Development in the Context of After-School Education
Sabrina Kataoka is a second-year student in UC Irvine’s Ph.D. in Education program, specializing in Learning, Cognition, and Development. Sabrina received her B.A. in liberal arts in 2008 from Soka University of America—a four-year liberal arts university in Orange County, California, founded on the principles of peace, human rights, and the sanctity of life. Seeing how wonderful an impact a humanistic, well-rounded university education had on her development inspired her to work for the quality education of others.
During her undergraduate years, Sabrina dedicated herself to multiple teacher’s assistant internships at elementary schools across Orange County. Hoping to gain further experience at the elementary level, she then spent the year after graduating as a second-grade program leader for THINK Together, an academically-oriented after-school program serving low-income communities. Her teaching experiences with THINK Together were critical in her recognizing the opportunities and challenges of education in the after-school hours. Furthermore, these experiences served to strengthen her commitment to support the positive development of children and youth through education, eventually leading her to her current pursuit of doctoral studies in education.
During her first year in the Ph.D. program, Sabrina worked with Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell to examine the impact of psychosocial climate and attendance in high-quality after-school programs on adolescent functioning. Last month, their research was presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development in Montreal, Canada.
Now in her second year, Sabrina has continued conducting research in the area of after-school education, focusing on how after-school activities can affect the various developmental domains of children and youth. She also began teaching graduate-level courses this year, which she feels has greatly challenged her to expand her capacities and has fostered her growth significantly as a doctoral student. As she continues developing her research skills and knowledge base, Sabrina hopes to be able to make substantial contributions to the understanding of positive child and youth development in the context of after-school education.