Current Projects

Belonging-Centered Instruction
Funded by the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation through the Student Experience Research Network, I worked closely as a research assistant with Dr. Jamaal Matthews, Dr. DeLeon Gray, and a diverse team of research scholars to develop a protocol to examine the presence of belonging-centered instruction in middle school mathematics classrooms. This project investigated the intersection of belonging, equity, and instructional strategies that support historically marginalized youth in mathematics education.
My role and responsibilities:
– Drew from literature to conceptualize practices to include in the observational protocol
– Coded and analyzes hundreds of observational videos according to the developed protocol
– Managed several large scale datasets, including data cleaning and research analysis
– Led a secondary research project using a novel data visualization technique (state space grids)
Products of this research:
– An extensive observational protocol for educational stakeholders to use when assessing teachers
– A detailed research report of findings for the Student Experience Research Network
– A report of findings to disseminate my work using state space grid methodologies to conduct educational research

Role Models in STEM and Perceptions of Similarity
I am currently collecting data on high school and college students’ experiences with STEM role models. This goal of this research is to examine how perceptions of similarity may influence the relationship between social model exposure and student motivation.
My role and responsibilities:
– Served as the primary investigator on this project
– Conducted a thorough literature review to better understand how social models influence academic motivation
– Developed measurement tools and all survey materials using Qualtrics
– Coordinated and oversaw data collection using an online survey pool
– Led and mentored a team of three undergraduate researchers through qualitatively analyzing data
– Cleaned and managed all datasets related to this project, including data analysis and reporting
Products of this research:
– Partnership with local schools to better understand STEM career interest and preparation
– A research report of findings to present to the local school
– A report of findings to disseminated to educational researchers

Social-Psychological Belonging Intervention
In conjunction with P20 Motivation and Learning Lab, I was part of a research team that implemented a brief, social-psychological belonging intervention to all first-year undergraduate students over the span of cohorts. My Master’s Thesis examined factors that influence intervention efficacy — namely, the modality in which the intervention was delivered, and perceptions of similarity to peer models presented in intervention materials.
My role and responsibilities:
– Developed and pilot-tested intervention materials
– Coordinated and oversaw data collection, communicating with over 100+ college instructors
– Managed large scale data sets, including data drawn from the institution
Products of this research:
– An extensive internal research report for the university
– Reduced achievement and retention gaps between the most- (i.e., continuing-genderation, White and/or Asian students) and least-advantaged (i.e., first-generation and racial minority) college students
– Continued implementation of the intervention across three years
– A report of findings disseminated to educational researchers

Sources of Engineering Self-Efficacy
My undergraduate honors thesis examined engineering students’ responses to open-ended items about their engineering self-efficacy. With a team of researchers, I qualitatively assessed patterns of students’ responses to better understand how college students develop their self-efficacy beliefs in engineering.
My role and responsibilities:
– Conducted a thorough literature review on self-efficacy and its sources
– Developed a coding protocol to assess students’ open-ended survey responses
– Led a team of undergraduate and graduate researchers to code 2000+ responses
– Used mixed-method approaches to analyze survey data
Products of this research:
– Cross-institutional partnership with engineering educators
– A protocol to examine sources of students’ experiences that support their self-efficacy in engineering
– A report of findings disseminated to educational researchers
– A journal publication for engineering educators

Selected Publications and Presentations

Chen, X.-Y., & Rosenzweig, E. Q. (2022, April 22-25). What types of feathers flock together? How role model similarities support STEM motivation. In J. Gladstone (Chair), Motivational Messages to Broaden Participation in STEM: Important Features of Messages and Messengers [Symposium presentation]. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.

Chen, X.-Y., Gray, D. L., & Matthews, J. S. (2022, April 22-25). Using state space grids to assess patterns of belonging supports in middle school mathematics classrooms [Roundtable presentation]. American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.

Matthews, J. S., Gray, D. L., Lachaud, Q., McElveen, T., Chen, X.-Y., Victor, T., & Okai, E. (2021, October 15). Belonging-Centered Instruction: An Observational Approach toward Establishing Inclusive Mathematics Classrooms. Preprint retrieved from osf.io/n7bv2

Chen, X.-Y., Usher, E. L., Roeder, M. L., Johnson, A. A., M. S., Kennedy, & Mamaril, N. A. (2023). Mastery, models, messengers, and mixed emotions: Examining the development of engineering self-efficacy by gender. Journal of Engineering Education. https://doi.org/10.1002/jee.20494

Chen, X.-Y., Usher, E. L., Brown, C. S., & Ford, C. J. (2019, April 5-9). Brief social belonging intervention for first-year students at a land grant university: Does modality matter? In E. A. Canning & M. C. Murphy (Chairs), Challenges and opportunities: Exploring first-generation college students’ lived experiences and interventions to support their success [Symposium presentation]. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Toronto, Canada.