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Stephen Secules

Page history last edited by secules@... 3 years ago

Stephen Secules

 

Contact Info:

Benjamin 0302

secules (at) umd.edu

 

Publications:

StephenSeculesCV.pdf

 

Researchgate:

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Stephen_Secules

 

About Me:

I grew up here in P.G. County Maryland, and went to Eleanor Roosevelt High School.  I always enjoyed Physics class and played piano and percussion in several music groups.  I attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where I received a Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Arts (in Engineering).  My studies focused on signal processing including research and design work on in-ear audiological test methods and iPod noise induced hearing loss-- combining my interests of physics and music.  After Dartmouth, I explored those interests further through a Master of Science in Architectural Acoustics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  After RPI, I worked in industry for 5 years: first in London for a major international building engineering firm (Arup) in the acoustics department, then as senior consultant for a smaller acoustics consulting firm in Silicon Valley, CA.  

 

Now I'm a third year Curriculum and Instruction PhD student. At UMD, I have held various instructional roles with the Keystone Department in the ENES 100 Introduction to Design class, including primary instructor Spring 2015.  I am an active participant in the Engineering Education Research Group.

 

Research Interests:

  • As someone without much prior teaching background, I have particular research interests in understanding and interpreting student experiences of real world instructional contexts.  This connects to my pedagogical preference for student-centered instruction, and to the view that all Engineering and/or STEM instruction would be improved by an enhanced understanding of student perspectives.  
  • Connected to understanding student experiences is understanding teacher perspectives, interactions, classroom cultures-- i.e. the localized educational system.
  • I see potential for locally gained knowledge to inform both the broader educational context, as one well-defined data point, as well as the local context.  In some ways, I see research becoming disperse and improving education in grassroots rather than top-down efforts.
  • My interest in understanding student experiences also connects to my interest in understanding diversity, equity, access, culture, and identity in STEM.  Evaluating student experiences is a generative activity for addressing persistent issues related to equity.  My research arch is towards an understanding of culture as a dynamic, localized, and reflexive phenomenon, rather than towards a reductionist representation of ideal demographic quotas, for example.  I view our work on diversity and culture in STEM as "never finished," not in a pessimistic sense, but in the sense that it will continue to be important in whatever new and changing contexts arise.  I am interested in who defines the culture of STEM, who is positioned favorably by that culture, and who is disenfranchised.
  • For the individual student, I view education as a process of self-actualization.  In an ideal world, students would be guided to make choices of study and vocation based on honest self reflection and alignment of their abilities and interests, and would be free to choose the path of greatest fulfillment.  I view several of our common pedagogical practices and cultural norms as inflicting unnecessary and differential blows against student self-efficacy and identity, preventing an honest process of self-actualization.  I see a reflexivity between students' diversity and self-actualization, since without cultural barriers the students who actually end up self-actualized in STEM majors and careers will look a lot more diverse than the subset of students who currently arrive by default due to cultural expectations.  I also see the pedagogical approaches for equitable teaching as compatible with high quality and engaging pedagogy for all students.

 

Recent and Ongoing Projects:

  • Programming for Engineers: An application-based learning approach to introductory C programming language courses (NSF grant)
  • Engineering Design: Data analysis on a video data set of undergraduate students in a service learning course
  • Summer Girls: Qualitative data collection on high school girls' experiences tinkering in a summer camp
  • Women in Engineering: A few connecting research projects have involved interviewing women in undergraduate engineering programs, in their experiences with programmatic support, introductory classes, and persistence in the engineering major.

 

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