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SPREE: Social Psychology of Research Experiences and Education

Our research group is interested in how social, psychological, and cultural factors influence STEM students' career development and decisions. Our group, which calls the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology home, primarily studies research experiences, including undergraduate and graduate research training, as a context for student development. In particular, we study course-based undergraduate research experiences (often called CUREs; see website for CUREnet) and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate researchers in the life sciences. We also study how interpersonal interactions promote or hinder student development and success in biology courses. We make use of theory and methods from social and organizational psychology to understand the interpersonal and contextual factors that influence undergraduates’ access to research and their personal and professional development through research, as well as how research experiences and research mentoring influence their educational and career trajectories.