By participating in two research projects in the field of human development and family studies at the University of New Hampshire, I have gained lifelong observational skills that will be valuable in my future teaching career. Through the Mommy and Me project I have become proficient in using the Q-sort method to code observable behavior. Through Project Advancing Children’s Museum Engagement (Project ACME) I used videotaped interactions of families in a children’s museum to learn about the types of play children engaged in and how that related to gender. I created my own coding scheme for this project to code play behavior. Creating my own coding scheme proved to include a lot of trial and error to accurately portray what I was looking to record. At the end of this process, I had findings that suggested that girls spent more time engaged in imaginary play than did boys. Using knowledge gained through my research, such as keen observational skills and the results of my study, my teaching practice will be better informed.
—Jennika Mannesto (Mentor: Jill M. Trumbell)