Research News

Nathan, Xu awarded Hilldale Research Fellowship for ‘STEMbuds’ project

April 30, 2015

A project led by UW-Madison student James Xu and Professor Mitchell Nathan was recently awarded a Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship.

This award provides a grant of $3,000 to the student and $500 to the faculty collaborator to offset the costs of the research project. Nathan is the faculty advisor for Xu’s project, “STEMbuds.”

Mitchell Nathan
Nathan explains that this initiative will provide a formal Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) tutoring program for a local cohort of diverse middle school students. The tutoring itself will also be provided by a diverse group of UW-Madison undergraduates who are studying in STEM fields.

According to this project’s abstract: “Academic self-efficacy is a sociocultural factor defined as confidence in one’s ability to achieve in academic tasks. This confidence is extremely important in influencing educational and occupational interests as well as for setting expectations. Self-Efficacy is the main component of the Social Cognitive Theory and is the main measure for this proposed longitudinal study of the effectiveness of an undergraduate mentor-led science club in improving the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math self-efficacy measures of 30 STEM underrepresented sex balanced middle school students from Dane County, Wisconsin. The undergraduate mentor-led science club combines effective interventions adopted from previous studies by incorporating positive mentoring experiences led by racially in-group mentors to facilitate the sessions.”

Nathan is the director of the Center on Education and Work and also is a faculty member with the departments of Educational Psychology, Curriculum and Instruction, and Psychology. Xu is studying psychology and genetics. The two will be recognized on Monday, May 4 at the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Awards Ceremony at Union South.

Hilldale Fellows also are required to present their research at the Undergraduate Symposium in April 2016, or at another presentation venue.