Dancing for Parkinson’s: A Gateway for Connectedness to Peers and Social Assurance

Date
2021-05-04
Authors
Izbicki, P.
Stegemoller, Elizabeth
Compton, J.
Stegemoller, Elizabeth
Thompson, J.
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Kinesiology
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Natural Resource Ecology and ManagementKinesiology
Abstract

The first-year student experience in college is a crucial time for personal and professional development, especially for students entering science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Unfortunately, it is also the time when students most commonly leave STEM, largely due to disconnection from faculty and peers. The Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) is a program that introduces first-year undergraduates to research in a variety of fields. The program has shown positive outcomes for student success and retention in STEM fields. However, it has not been demonstrated whether this program can increase social connectedness and assurance, potentially contributing to students’ longer-term retention in STEM. In this pilot study, we measured social connectedness/assurance among students before and after a 16-week course in neurophysiology. We found that combined scores of social connectedness and assurance significantly increased by the end of the course. We also found that individual constructs of social connectedness and assurance significantly increased. Furthermore, the majority of students from FRI were retained in STEM fields. We plan future studies to include collection of longitudinal data and measures to identify additional reasons that the FRI increased these positive outcomes among our student participants.

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This article is published as P. Izbicki, E. L. Stegemöller, J. Compton, and J. Thompson, Dancing for Parkinson’s: A Gateway for Connectedness to Peers and Social Assurance. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 2021 20(2); doi: 10.1187/cbe.20-05-0101.

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