Current Projects

Belonging-Centered Instruction
Funded by the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation through the Student Experience Research Network, I’ve teamed up 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 investigates the intersection of belonging, equity, and instructional strategies that support historically marginalized youth in mathematics education.

Social Models in Chemistry and Perceptions of Similarity
I am currently collecting data on college students’ responses about the social models they’ve seen that may influence their motivations to engage in chemistry learning. This goal of this research is to examine how perceptions of similarity may influence the relationship between social model exposure and student motivation.

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 first-year undergraduate students. 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 in intervention materials.

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.

Selected Presentations

Chen, X.-Y., Usher, E. L., Brown, C. S., & Ford, C. J. (2019, August 12-16). Is seeing believing? Comparing perceived similarity in a dual-modality belonging intervention [Poster presentation]. European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction Biennial Meeting, Aachen, Germany.

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]. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Toronto, Canada.

Chen, X.-Y., Roeder, M. L., Johnson, A. A., Mamaril, N. A., & Usher, E. L. (2018, August 9-12). Sources of engineering self-efficacy in undergraduate engineering: An analysis of open-ended responses [Paper presentation]. Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.