VCU Cognition and Learning Lab students developing broad skill sets

Cognition and Learning Lab - 1252-96
Some of the members of the VCU Cognition and Learning Lab in front of Oliver Hall. On the far right are co-directors Dr. Jason Chow (back row) and Dr. Christine L. Bae (far right).

The VCU Cognition and Learning Lab is a place where psychology and education students ranging from undergraduate to doctoral level are able to work together in a research environment.

“This lab is valuable because we are able to engage in important work through interdisciplinary teams of researchers and students. We currently have undergraduate research assistants from education, psychology, HPEX, pre-dentistry, and more,” said assistant professor in Counseling and Special Education, Jason Chow.

“Our Cognition and Learning lab represents the work of faculty and students from diverse backgrounds, who hold a wide range of academic and professional interests. The different experiences and perspectives that each member brings to the projects supports exciting and high-quality work, and pushes us all to think about complex educational topics in innovative ways,” said assistant professor in Foundations of Education, Christine Lee Bae.

“It’s nice to be involved with so many different types of projects ... You are never doing the same thing twice.” 

– Eric Ekholm

The lab is run by Bae and Chow. Students are able to assist them in research projects that focus on language, math, behavior and teaching.

“This lab is a great thing for all students because it gives them the experience of interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as hands-on experience in the study,” said first-year Counseling and Special Education doctoral student Erin Stehle.

Stehle’s background as a speech language pathologist lead her to working with Chow at the VCU Child Development Center (CDC).

“Right now for the CDC, we are assessing children ages 3-5 with the hope that we will be able to test them at 3, again at 4 and again at 5. We are looking at language and math ability and the relationship between the two,” said Stehle.

With Bae’s research interests being science learning and teacher development, and Chow’s being language and behavior, students are exposed to a wide variety of opportunities. They each have 4-5 projects going at once so they try to align student interests with current projects.

“It’s nice to be involved with so many different types of projects. They range from traditional research, to hands-on research, to reading and analyzing data. Between all of these, you develop a broad skill set because you are never doing the same thing twice,” said second-year Education Psychology doctoral student Eric Ekholm.

All students who enter the lab leave with a vast array of skills ranging from writing literature reviews to giving poster presentations. These skills will push them to become better researchers and set them apart from others as they continue down their education or career path.