Congratulations to Addie Mercuri for receiving the Outstanding Master-Level Award!
Addie is a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Education program. She is a gifted educator and has optimized her studies to further this as gift as she has assumed teaching assistant roles supporting students in a variety of our programs. In addition, she engaged with the UBC Alumni Legacy Project, where she worked with other students and groups across campus on the “Green Ribbon Crewneck Initiative”. This project aimed to develop greater mental health awareness and raise funds for the B.A.R.K. program. She brings an enthusiastic spirit to all that she undertakes and it’s greatly appreciated by all involved.
Q&A with Addie Mercuri
What does receiving this award mean to you?
To me, this award showcases how much opportunity there is within the Okanagan School of Education (OSE) for graduate students. I would not be able to receive this award if there were not opportunities available for me here. This award represents all the wonderful, insightful, and impactful experiences I have had in the various roles I have held throughout my graduate program. These positions have been as beneficial to my education as the courses I have completed and have allowed me to apply and interweave theories and practice. That is what I will be reminded of when looking back at this award.
What has your experience been like with the Okanagan School of Education?
I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to work and be a member of the OSE. I have had many conversations with members of the OSE throughout these years, and every person has genuinely asked about my own endeavors, and has offered guidance, resources, or encouragement in some capacity. I truly believe that my own philosophy of teaching and leadership has been strongly influenced by these conversations. I intend to remember these discussions fondly, as I hope to cultivate that same feeling of empowerment and confidence in future students I work with as these educators have done for me.
What is your research project?
My thesis research project is centred around exploring executive functioning skills (EFS) in first-year university students and the impact these skills may have on academic performance. EFS encompasses the board range of cognitive processes that allow students to participate in purposeful behaviour, such as organization, goal setting, time management, critical thinking, and problem solving. Additionally, the ability to employ these skills may differ from assigned at birth sex and age, which are two variables measured in this research as well. By surveying students self-perceived abilities to execute goal-oriented behavior and collecting demographic information, we can infer potential relationships between these factors and grades achieved in higher education.
Why did you choose that topic?
I am a lover of the brain and have started to enjoy searching topics around cognitive psychology in education. My goal coming into this program was to help students succeed in whatever goals they are aspired to achieve, especially in first-year students, as the first year can be particularly difficult for incoming students. Gaining a deeper understanding of how students view their own abilities in their decision-making skills towards purposeful behaviour can provide deeper insight on how to better support our students.
What advice do you have for future graduate students?
While completing your master’s in a timely manner is important, please do not forget what brought you to this program. Some sound advice I received from one of my research committee members was to not rush the completion of my thesis project simply to keep up with the timeline – continue to follow that passion and curiosity of education. My thesis has had many lives since starting this program, and I am grateful for it, because this journey brought me to research that I am genuinely excited about! The work ethic and motivation will ebb and flow, but the passion you have for your research topic will ground you throughout it. Enjoy the process!
Graduate Supervisor: Dr. Peter Arthur