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Craft Academy student presents research at international conference

Alyssa Turner from Falmouth, a senior at Morehead State's Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, was a presenter at the International Academic Forum's (IAFOR's) eighth annual International Conference on Education, held in January in Honolulu.

Turner's project, "How Informal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Learning Shapes Student Professional Skills," was a qualitative analysis of five students who participated in an informal STEM learning experience called the Hazel Green Academy Leadership Team. Using the Social Cognitive Career Theory as a conceptual framework, Turner and Dr. Rachel Rogers, assistant professor of research at the Academy, explored how an informal STEM learning experience impacts STEM interest, self-efficacy, and career goals. While Turner has presented at other conferences, this was her first international conference.

"It was really amazing to be at a conference with professionals from so many different places in the world. Being able to speak with educational professionals and researchers from places like Vietnam and Latin America and connect our educational experiences together was incredible. It's so amazing to hear different perspectives and differences in educational norms and methods and to have educators and researchers far ahead in their careers to be so genuinely interested in my research," Turner said.

Turner said she and Rogers spent about three months working on the project to prepare for the conference. During that time, she learned various skills, including written and oral communication and networking skills and an increased understanding of qualitative research methods. But perhaps most importantly, Turner gained self-confidence.

"One of the most notable benefits I reaped from the experience was an increase in my own self-efficacy. All the experiences and skills I gained made me feel a strong sense of confidence in my own abilities," she said.

The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics is a dual-credit academy for academically exceptional Kentucky students. Craft Academy provides students with a postsecondary residential experience to complete their junior and senior high school years by enrolling in college courses.

To learn more about the Craft Academy, email or call 606-783-2093.

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