Sherry Yi Learning should be fun, accessible, and meaningful for everyone regardless of race, class, or gender. Bettering ways to teach and learn is what makes me want to #AchieveMore every day!
My Journey to #AchieveMore
Education has played a huge role in my life. I was born in Taipei and came to America without knowing English when I was about 8-years-old. I come from a working-class family from both sides and am the first in my family to pursue a doctorate degree. I want to make my parents proud. I have been lucky enough to have professors and peers who have been supportive throughout this entire journey. I'm a learning scientist studying ways to help people learn. In today's society, the need for those trained in technology, engineering, and mathematics, also known as STEM, continues to rise. About 17% of the 1.8 million bachelor's degrees awarded to U.S. citizens in 2013-14 were in STEM fields, but America continues to struggle in the recruitment and retention of diverse candidates. People who identify as minority students and female tend be awarded less STEM degrees overall.
The research literature suggests that the most critical time period of sparking interest in STEM careers takes place before high school. The choice to pursue a STEM career is often influenced by teachers and guardians of the student, as well as by experiences in the classroom in middle school. My research focuses on how to trigger and sustain interest in STEM topics for adolescents using entertainment technology like Minecraft, which has sold over 112 billion copies worldwide. The lab project I'm working on features hypothetical versions of Earth for middle schoolers to explore. We've done our research in museums, maker spaces, and academies. I plan on leveraging my work on this project to serve as the foundation for my thesis, which examines Minecraft and its impact on the development of interest in STEM subjects particularly in underrepresented populations. These experiences will help pave my path to becoming a university professor after graduation.