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Dr. Stella Erbes to Present at National Educational Conference Alongside a Pair of Students

Erbes, Jackson, Sim

On April 16, 2023, Dr. Stella Erbes, a Divisional Dean and Associate Professor of Teacher Education at Seaver College, will present at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference in Chicago, Illinois alongside her students, Rebecca Jackson and Eunice Sim. Here, the trio will discuss the research article they composed together during the summer of 2022 entitled, "Studying Abroad in College: Investigating How A Living-Learning Community (LLC) Impacts Students."

“Pepperdine University does a wonderful job in investing in young people in a way that will impact them beyond their undergraduate careers,” says Erbes. “Taking these students to this international educational research conference allows them to see how professionals share their work.”

Utilizing a Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) grant, Erbes recruited Jackson and Sim to assist in her latest research project concerning study abroad programs. Specifically, the trio set out to determine if study abroad programming affected students intellectually, personally, socially, and spiritually. In order to assess the effectiveness of international programs, Erbes, Jackson, and Sim developed a survey that allowed students to self-report their experiences abroad.

“We are happy to report that, by and large, students are self-reporting positive, transformative outcomes in these constructs,” explains Erbes. “Most interestingly, though, in the spiritual realm, the percentages are not as high.”

After gathering this data and synthesizing it into an article, Erbes and her team set about drafting a proposal to present at the AERA Conference – which serves as one of the premier educational conferences globally. In gaining admittance to present, Erbes, Jackson, and Sim earn the chance to share their research with an international audience.

“I love the idea that the students will get feedback from people outside of Pepperdine and understand that our work fits in a larger body of research,” says Erbes, concerning the opportunity. “Hopefully, from that, we, as a research community, can all learn from one another.”

Beyond contributing original scholarship, Erbes claims that the most valuable aspect of her recent research project was collaborating with her two students. In gaining their assistance, she hopes to have created an exciting and beneficial learning opportunity for them.

“Publishing and presenting this research allows me to enter into the world of academia,” says Jackson, describing the process for herself.  “Before I started working on this project, all aspects of research publication and presentation were foreign to me. Throughout the process, I learned how to create spreadsheets of data, write a concise abstract, and design a research poster. Putting these new skills to use made me feel accomplished. There is something very special about googling myself and seeing an article that I helped publish pop up.”