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Dissertation Year Fellows

Dissertation Year Fellows Get to Work

On reading, mattering and energy regimes

Joy D. Erickson
Program/Department: Education

Joy Erickson’s research focuses on how reading interventions influence reading motivation for young students in kindergarten through second grade, a topic especially important to her due to today’s heavily skills-focused educational climate.

“I am especially interested in better understanding how students not meeting grade level benchmarks perceive school reading intervention programs,” she said. “Though many [researchers] have examined the reading motivation of older students, research specific to young readers is thin, and fewer studies probe students’ motivation-related perceptions of school programming.”

Erickson, originally from Groveland, Massachusetts, studied elementary education (as an undergraduate) and literacy and language (as a master’s student) and worked in the public school system as a fourth-grade teacher and literary specialist before attending UNH.

Her dissertation uses participatory methods (drawing and walking tour interviews) with young students to explore K-2 students’ perceptions of a reading intervention program in a Massachusetts public school. In addition, her research looks at teacher and researcher evaluations of students’ engagement.

Erickson spent much of the summer analyzing her data and intends to spend the upcoming year drafting and revising the study’s results, implications, and conclusions. She plans to graduate May 2019, and afterward, hopes to obtain a position in academia.

Elizabeth Moschella
Program/Department: Psychology

Do we matter? It’s the quintessential question in Ph.D. candidate Elizabeth Moschella’s psychology research.

Moschella is looking at how “mattering” – the idea that others care for and depend on us – affects the aftermath of victimization due to interpersonal (e.g., sexual) violence, in the university setting especially, from academics to health.

“Interpersonal violence is a widespread community problem that disproportionality affects college students. Research has identified a variety of factors that buffer against negative consequences of victimization, however, little research has examined the role of mattering in the aftermath of victimization,” Moschella said.

Moschella hopes the study’s findings help service providers boost victim outcomes and aid universities in helping student victims succeed, academically and otherwise.

Originally from Orlando, Florida, Moschella earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Florida and worked in a variety of arenas focusing on victim advocacy and raising awareness about interpersonal violence. While at UNH, she earned a master’s degree in Justice Studies (2015), served on Graduate Student Senate and is a volunteer advocate at HAVEN, a New Hampshire-based violence prevention and support services agency.

This year, Moschella is also working on several papers for publication on helping behavior and the role of race/ethnicity in legal socialization. She plans to graduate May 2019 and hopes to work in a university setting after graduate school.

Jordan T. Coulombe
Program/Department: History

Jordan T. Coulombe, a Ph.D. candidate specializing in modern American environmental history, said the DYF affords him the time to focus on writing.

“I love teaching, but it can be a very demanding and time consuming responsibility. Not having to teach will give me the time to focus on reviewing my research notes and writing what will hopefully be a very interesting dissertation,” Coulombe said.

His research focuses on the interaction between energy regimes and environmental alterations – specifically, the way in which proliferating energy regimes catalyzed the creation of various transit networks in the Panamanian transit zone.

“Starting with the Panama railroad in 1854, I trace the major infrastructural projects attempted in Panama including the Panama Canal, the attempt use nuclear explosives to dig a new canal, and the eventual decision to return control of the canal to Panama during the Carter Administration,” he said.

Coulombe argues that historians cannot understand attempts to traverse the Isthmus of Panama without emphasizing the importance of energy, and he hopes the research provides environmental historians with a new lens to reconstruct otherwise overlooked aspects of the past and broaden our understanding of the relationship between humans and the environments they alter.

Coulombe, who grew up in Saco, Maine, earned his bachelor’s degree at Emmanuel College and master’s degree at the University of Rhode Island. He plans to graduate May 2019, and afterward, he’d love to teach in academia or explore a career in public policy or environmental advocacy.

Written by Kelly Sennott | MFA Student/Graduate Assistant