Crystal DeJaegher, IT doctoral student: Recipient of the Robert Septimus Pace, Jr., Scholarship

Crystal DeJaegher is working to discover ways technology can improve student learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.  She believes that technologies like simulations and online learning management systems can help reduce student apathy in these subject areas and increase their conceptual understanding of complex topics. If students are engaged in learning and successful at it, she reasons, they are more likely to pursue careers in one of these so-called STEM fields.

STEM education was not always DeJaegher’s calling. The English classroom was her domain prior enrolling at the Curry School. For five and a half years she taught secondary English in urban schools in South Bend, Indiana, where she grew up.

“I’ve always been fascinated with technology, though,” she says. “My dad is a computer hobbyist, and I learned to program in BASIC at age eight.”

Experiences with a number of effective teachers during her childhood influenced DeJaegher’s decision to become a teacher herself, especially her eleventh-grade English teacher, Mrs. Reilly. “She really believed in my potential,” DeJaegher remembers.

Now in her third year of the instructional technology and science Ph.D. program at the Curry School, she is conducting research under the mentorship of assistant professor Jennie Chiu.

The Pace Scholarship will help offset travel expenses at this spring’s annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, where she will be making her first presentation of a research paper. “This opportunity will really help me be more involved in the research community,” she says.

“Words cannot express how truly blessed I feel to be studying in the Curry School of Education, and I am extremely grateful for the generous support provided by the Pace Scholarship.”

The Robert Septimus Pace, Jr., Scholarship was established by Lucyle M. Pace to honor her brother, Robert Septimus Pace, Jr., a 1940 graduate of the Curry School.
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