Students Present Research on Stereotypes

April 23, 2015

By Michelle Banis

Mount Union students Gabriela Botzman, an early childhood education major; Paula Kyser, a middle childhood education major; Chloe Bortmas, a French major; Alyssa Suffron, an intervention specialist major; Alexis Parsons, a mathematics major; Zach Maenz, a middle childhood education major; Kayla Dunlap, a middle childhood education major and Cassidy Ott, a Spanish major, presented “Who Are We? Finding an Identity in a Society Bound by Stereotypes” during Mount Union’s SCHOLAR Day on Tuesday.

Faculty sponsor Jennifer Martin, assistant professor of education, taught EDU 215- Multicultural Education in the Fall of 2014. In this course, students were required to combine classroom instruction along with community service for the completion of a service-learning project. These eight students conducted workshops, “Bravery Fairs,” with students in eighth grade at United Local Middle School. After Martin’s course ended for the semester, this group went above and beyond to continue their research with students in 12th grade at United Local High School and with students at the University of Mount Union to collect qualitative and quantitative data.

Specifically focusing on self-recognition of race, gender, sexuality and body image – their workshops examined the effect of harmful media messages. Research sought to discover ways to promote diversity through media literacy to create a healthier culture in an educational context. They also examined self-image amongst their 357 participants and how it affects performance both in and out of the classroom.

After more than 700 hours of work, this group of Mount Union students furthered their knowledge of cycle of stereotypes present in their own backgrounds. Consisting mostly of education majors, they were also able to better predict the challenges of implementing a culturally responsive environment in their future classrooms. This presentation showcased a successful accomplishment of their ultimate goal: creating overall awareness, encouraging multicultural perspectives and identifying false identities in our society today.

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