Brown will conduct teacher and administrator interviews at schools where SEE Learning has been implemented as a whole-school program. She will also observe teachers facilitating an SEL lesson with their students, pair field notes with the observations, and conduct surveys to gather additional information on implementation.
“Some of the award money will go toward paying some of my participants for the research that they are involved in, and some will go to the software that I need in order to do my data analysis for my dissertation,” Brown said. “I’m really excited to get started.”
Brown says she is passionate about SEL and that it’s important to her because she’s seen first-hand how students could benefit from it. As a former high school chemistry teacher, Brown said sometimes students don’t always have the skill set to emotionally regulate and communicate well with other students. Upon arriving to Penn State, Brown learned about SEL curricula and ways to teach students skills such as emotional regulation and intrapersonal relationship skills. From there, Brown said she was “all in.”
“I think when you give students these tools at a young age, they’re able to tailor them to the ways they naturally interact, and it gives them a toolkit to go into life to help them be a better ‘them’ overall.”
Greg Fosco, professor of human development and family studies and past PRC associate director, recognized the potential of Brown’s work and spearheaded the award for her.
“Melia Brown is an exciting scholar who is driven to make a real-world impact. We are so proud to provide this support for the important work she is doing,” Fosco said.
Brown hopes her research will inform herself and others about the practical ways schools are doing SEL in a way that allows us to create updated and realistic guidelines that make implementing SEL within schools’ current structures easier.
“Bringing this into the K-8 schools has been a really big passion for me so I’m excited to continue that work into what I do as I become an academic in the next couple of years as I finish up my dissertation.”