Meet the Researcher - Lyndsey Koyanagi

Breakout Room: 9

LyndseyKoyanagi_Picture_Researcher Name: Lyndsey Koyanagi
Co Presenters: Andrew Shepard
Title of Research: COVID-19 Impacts at a Small Mid-Atlantic Liberal-Arts College with Implications for STEM Education
Division Representing: Education
Institution: Wesley College
Institution Location: Delaware
Home State: Delaware
District Number: 1
Advisor/Mentor: Malcolm D'Souza
Funding Source: NSF-EPSCoR and NIH NIGMS IDeA

Research Experience:   Throughout my life, I have had the desire to give back to my community. Since I was little, I always volunteered around the neighborhood helping our elderly with yard work and household chores. In high school, I started volunteering at the SPCA wanting to give back to what I loved most, animals. In College I started to give back even more by being a STEM mentor. As a mentor I devoted my time to helping incoming freshmen have a smooth transition into college. My favorite way I have given back in these past two years is going out into our community and teaching children that science can be exciting and interesting. In science club, we perform small and intriguing science experiments and crafts to draw the children's attention. What I love even more than volunteering is devoting my time and energy into research. I have spent time in the lab researching the reaction rates in the solvolysis reactions of octyl-chloroformate in varying solvents such as acetone, and ethanol. My favorite research was studying the effects COVID-19 has had on Wesley College STEM students and Faculty when classes went into an online learning environment. During the past two years I have also worked as a lab assistant for Wesley College along with a local Pathology Lab in our community. The co-author on the COVID-19 research is also just as dedicated to volunteering. 

Presentation Experience: 
Over the years, I have presented information in several different forms. Most recently, I have presented an introduction of my research regarding COVID-19 over a virtual symposium at the University of Delaware. In this symposium, I spoke In front of faculty members, professors, and other students. After the internship for this particular COVID research, I also gave a short video presentation explaining my research regarding the student data and what I had done over the past ten weeks and the importance of the research. I have also given many presentations at open houses. These types of audiences include incoming freshmen and their families. In these presentations I explained the benefits of Wesley College's STEM program and what it can offer by sharing my own personal experience of how it has helped me. 

Significance of Research:       
 During the COVID-19 pandemic, with very little preparation and within a brief span of 48 hours, the Wesley College STEM faculty and students triaged into a remote-only form of instruction. Wesley College STEM student COVID-19 impact surveys showed underlying gaps in economic equity, increased family responsibilities, struggles to stay motivated, social isolation, and higher levels of psychological stress. Yet, the crisis demonstrated new ways in which technology can be harnessed and allowed STEM students to reconsider how jobs and skills should be aligned. A STEM faculty COVID-19 check-in survey and interview responses revealed a quick realization that faculty could not rely solely on Wesley's Jenzebar learning management system (MyWesley). To engage their students and to create a supportive learning environment, STEM faculty sought new strategies and approaches for a diverse set of STEM learners. For synchronous e-teaching, the faculty used the Microsoft-Teams and the Zoom video conferencing platforms. Faculty only adopted MyWesley to execute dedicated asynchronous tasks (laboratory assignments, reports, exams). The STEM students were overwhelmingly positive about STEM faculty availability during the crisis. Still, both faculty and students indicated a much stronger preference for the face-to-face delivery of their course content via a traditional classroom setting. 

Uniqueness of Research: 
The only detailed Wesley College academic survey proved that the COVID-19 pandemic was disruptive to student life and prior in-class course-embedded activities. It required faculty and undergraduates to pivot quickly to adopt flexible approaches for self-regulation and new instruction models for student engagement.