Allison Lundy Wins National Student-Faculty Research Award

Eastern Connecticut State University student Allison Lundy ’19 was the sole recipient of the Council on Undergraduate Research’s (CUR) 2019 Education Division Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Award. Lundy was recognized for her honors thesis, “The Association Between Outdoor Motor Play and On-Task Behavior in Learning Experiences in Preschool,” which she worked on in collaboration with Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Trawick-Smith.

The Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Award is a national honor that is given annually by the CUR’s Education Division to honor high-quality undergraduate research in the learning and teaching sciences.

Professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith with Allison Lundy

Lundy has been studying the effects of active playground play on the on-task behavior of preschool children during indoor learning experiences. She has found that boys, young children and children of low socioeconomic families benefited the most from playing outdoors before returning to learn in the classroom. She noted that these types of children who played before returning to class were more attentive, on task and able to self-regulate better.

“Teachers will benefit the most,” said Lundy, who stated that her research findings will help teachers better understand how all children learn differently and how outside movement is more beneficial compared to indoor movement. She hopes that her research findings will “provide insight into the importance of outdoor play, and guide teachers in implementing physical activity into their curriculum.”

Trawick-Smith, Lundy’s mentor in Eastern’s Center for Early Childhood Education, says that her findings will “elucidate important areas of inquiry in the psychological sciences and early childhood education and are clearly publishable.” He also stated that Lundy’s study “will be the first to examine, in a controlled way, the effects of such play on the ability of young children to pay attention and regulate their own behavior in the classroom.”

Lundy says that conducting undergraduate research has been rewarding and allowed her to develop and strengthen her critical thinking, communication, writing and presentation skills. She is also thankful for the opportunity to work closely with her faculty mentor. “Professor Trawick-Smith’s vast knowledge of young children is incredible. In working with him, I have learned so much not only about my own area of study, but early childhood education as a whole.”

After she earns her early childhood education and psychology degrees at Eastern, Lundy hopes to teach preschool or kindergarten.

Written by Vania Galicia