Marissa B. Drell ’08

 

I first met Wimpfheimer during my sophomore year when I was assigned to do an observation for the course Principles of Development. The observation gave me the opportunity to see the theory and research we were learning in the college classroom in action.The invaluable hands-on learning opportunities that Wimpfheimer provided continued to play a central role in my coursework. In the course Early Childhood Education: Theory and Practice, I learned how to design and implement a play-based early childhood curriculum. Even though we were novice teachers, we had the chance to create and implement our own week-long curriculum. It was exciting for me to watch the recycling curriculum that I designed for the four- and five-year-olds unfold in the classroom. In the Research Methods in Developmental Psychology course, we worked together as a class to design and conduct a study. This was the first time I was able to see from start to finish how developmental scientists conduct research. More specifically, it was my first introduction to collecting and analyzing data and writing up results — aspects of the research process that are now an integral role of my professional life. Beyond my coursework, I also worked in the classroom as a work study student during my junior and senior years.

The thrill that I experienced from both the creative process of applying theory and research to practice and the the art of designing and conducting research studies motivated me to pursue a doctorate in developmental psychology. I am now in my final year of the developmental psychology program at the University of Virginia.