Alexandria Ivey ('14, Special Education)
What do you do for your undergraduate research?
I researched the effectiveness of hands-free video prompting for various arts and crafts activities for students with mild-moderate intellectual disabilities under the supervision and direction of Dr. Linda C. Mechling.
What made you want to pursue an undergraduate research project?
My passion usually leads me to pursuing projects and opportunities outside of the academic requirements for my degree, and although my passion is what lead me to completing this research project, it was my faculty advisor who encouraged me to pursue an undergraduate research project. I was looking to take more than 12 credit hours for my last two semesters here at UNCW, and in an attempt to increase my hours I reached out to Dr. Linda C. Mechling in hopes that she would have a class to recommend for me to take to fill these hours. Initially, this project was introduced to me as an option to fill my schedule, but became a strong factor in my future as a special educator.
How did you start your research project?
I give all the credit to my faculty supervisor, Dr. Linda C. Mechling, for guiding me through this process. From the day I took on this project, she assisted me with putting the materials together and preparing myself and the students to start conducting the research. I took the materials, prepared the video prompting sequences for the craft activities, set up various times and dates throughout several weeks to conduct the research, and immediately began the research.
Was doing your own research fun? Be Honest.
I honestly believe I have not "worked" a day since I started learning about what I love to do - educate students with special needs. Every single day that I get to learn more about students with special needs, or spend more time with them, is a fun day to me! So yes, this research was a lot of fun!
It isn't required to do research as an undergrad, so what advantages do you think this experience has provided you?
The advantage I have lies solely within the opportunity to learn from my faculty supervisor. Dr. Linda C. Mechling has not only been a mentor to me from the very first day I had her as a professor, but she has also managed to provide me with an exceptional amount of guidance and support during this research project. I truly admire Dr. Mechling and all of the hard work, time, and dedication she has put into improving the quality of life for students with disabilities. Although doing the research itself, the paper, the poster, and the defense were all great learning opportunities that provided me with many experiences that most are not able to have until graduate school, it was the time I got to spend getting to know my faculty supervisor and having her as a mentor outside of the classroom that is the biggest advantage I have gained by doing this project.
What recognition and/or grants did you receive for your research?
I am the first author on an article submitted for publication titled: Ivey, A. N., Mechling, L. C., & Spencer, G. P. Use of a Proximity Sensor Switch for "Hands Free" Operation of Computer-Based Video Prompting by Young Adults with Moderate Intellectual Disability.
What are your plans after you receive your degree from UNCW?
Upon graduation, I plan to utilize my degree and put all of the knowledge I have acquired throughout my time spent in the Special Education - Adapted Curriculum program to good use by becoming a teacher for students with special needs in the public school system.