Fifth-year, majoring in history and education
Why did you choose to attend Knox?
Jonah Adelman Cabral ’18, a family friend, went to Knox. I toured it. I liked the small classes. It is a small school, so I was a bit nervous about that. I went to Western Michigan my first year, but I didn’t like it because it was way too big. So I transferred to Knox as a sophomore.
Tell us about the research you did with Monica McGill.
I have never taken a computer science class; I don’t know anything about computer science. Monica put a job posting on Handshake, a platform used to post jobs on and off campus. She was looking for someone preferably with an educational studies background, because she was doing computer science education research. I had no idea what it was about so I contacted Jennifer McCarthy Foubert, associate professor and chair of educational studies, and asked if she knew Monica. She put me in contact with her through email. Monica told me to apply. She runs a nonprofit called CSEdResearch.org, which is for computer science education researchers.
The original project (with Adrienne Decker from the University at Buffalo) was funded by the National Science Foundation. Any researcher can go on to the website to look at articles related to computer science education, different instruments, surveys, and questionnaires. It’s like a database.
When I first joined the team, I was doing data entry; it wasn’t too taxing. In my second year I started to do research with her using CAPE, which stands for capacity, access, participation, and experience. It’s a lens to view equity.
The research we presented was applying the CAPE framework to the research process itself. Do computer science education researchers and academics, particularly those who have been historically marginalized, have funds to conduct research? Attend conferences? And what are their experiences at those conferences? We used the lens that’s typically used for students and applied it to researchers.
What was presenting at the conference like?
In August 2022, I traveled to the International Computing Education Research (ICER) conference in Lugano, Switzerland. It’s a very tight community so at the conference I got to talk to all the people that were authors of papers that I had cited and used for my research. I met the person who created the CAPE framework, we got to have lunch with him, and I got to ask him questions about the application of it.
I had never done research or presented anything like this before. I had done qualitative research for papers, but I’d never developed a survey and analyzed it. We didn’t do any statistical analysis, but I hadn’t done any quantitative analysis before.
It made me feel slightly more confident since I’ve had a more formal research experience outside of the classroom and attended the conference. It’s made me more confident about applying to graduate school and reassured my interest in academia because I had a good time at the conference.
It was funny. I worked with Monica for a year and a half, all on Zoom because of the pandemic. I met Monica at Commencement in June 2022. She said, "The next time I see you will be in Switzerland." We met at the airport and flew there together.
I received funding from the Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies, the Knox College Department of Educational Studies, and the National Science Foundation grant. I was in Switzerland for a week and was able to do some sightseeing.
What other experiences have you had at Knox?
I did a Power of Experience project for six weeks in Peru. I volunteered there and taught English. I wanted to go to Colombia, but there was a lot of political violence there so the program I wanted to go to was shut down. I’ve always been interested in Latin America—it’s been my self-made focus at Knox in history.
In fall 2021, I studied abroad at Trinity College in Ireland.
Right now, I’m teaching freshman world history at Lombard East High School and trying to decide if I want to continue teaching or go to grad school in sociology, political science, or education. I do like research, so maybe I will do a Ph.D.
What has been your biggest influence at Knox?
Karen Kampwirth. She’s a great mentor. I felt comfortable sharing ideas.
I definitely like that all the Knox classes are small. I’ve gotten to know all my professors really well, and the support from Knox financial aid has allowed me to do so many things—I received the Gilman scholarship for Pell grant recipients to go to Ireland.
I’ve been so fortunate to have a lot of things funded.