Research Project Description

Taxonomy of Science Learning Behaviors: Cross Validation and Behavioral Comparisons among Majors

This research study focused on behaviors that college students perform when they are learning in the sciences. The collaborators examine the full range of behaviors that are relevant to learning in the sciences and that are within a student’s control.


Andrea Olson, Ph.D., Department Chair of Psychology

Jamie Peterson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology

Anna Bruesewitz ’11, Occupational Science

Kate Milner ’10, Psychology

Erin Ring '09, Psychology

Gil Clary

This study is funded by a Large-scale 3M Collaborative Student-Faculty Research Grant.

Project Title

Taxonomy of Science Learning Behaviors: Cross Validation and Behavioral Comparisons among Majors


image preview




“I never would have thought I liked research and now I really do,” says Anna Bruesewitz ‘11.

No one is more surprised at her newfound interest than Bruesewitz is. Her enthusiasm for research was sparked after working on a project with Andrea Olson, department chair of psychology, Jamie Peterson, assistant professor of psychology and Kate Milner ’10. Their research explored how college students study and learn in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math. Prior to Bruesewitz joining the research team, the project was previously worked on by former professor Gil Glary, Erin Ring ’09 and Rachel Dauner ’09.

Bruesewitz’s undergraduate research experience has impacted her focus as a current student in St. Kate’s Master of Arts Occupational Therapy (MAOT) program. “I definitely want to pursue research within the occupational therapy field,” she says. “I don’t think I would have felt comfortable pursuing the thesis option of the program if I didn’t have this experience.”

Through this study, Bruesewitz had the opportunity to develop both a professional and personal relationship with faculty members like Olson and Peterson. “It was a very collaborative project,” she says. “The professors are supportive, but they don’t hover. They want you to work through the difficult hurdles and figure it out on your own, because that’s really when you learn.”

Her involvement in collaborative research has allowed Bruesewitz to present at conferences in Chicago and New York. “People are surprised we are undergraduate students because the professors let us contribute so much on the project,” she says. “When we attend conferences, the faculty step back so we can explain the research.”

Bruesewitz was one of nine student researchers from St. Kate’s that presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in New York this past spring. “It was really fun to get to know the other participants and learn about what St. Kate’s students were researching.”