Utah Tech University


We interview students and faculty about their research.
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Spring 2022

Program Highlight: New Canvas Course for DSU Faculty and Students

Research Office Logo

The DSU Research Office has developed a Canvas course for DSU faculty entitled “Orientation to Doing Research at DSU.”  The course consists of 12 topics that cover information needed to become an effective researcher and research mentor.  There is also a course for students entitled “Orientation to Research for DSU Students.” Each course takes about an hour to complete and does not need to be completed in one sitting.

The courses were created by members of the DSU Research Committee in cooperation with the Office of Sponsored Research and contain a lot of useful information. Upon completion of the course, you will receive your research digital badge that you can mention on your annual faculty tenure and promotion portfolio or student resume.  Faculty can self-enroll in the course by going to dixie.instructure.com/enroll/JPT9WG.  To self-enroll in the student course, go to https://dixie.instructure.com/courses/777769.

Student Highlight: How Attachment Styles Affect Social Media Use

Reetta Saeaeski

International student and recent DSU graduate, Reetta Saeaeski originally started her higher education at Goldey-Beacom College in Delaware on a basketball scholarship.  However, her desire to go westward brought her to Utah and to Dixie State University.  As a psychology major, Reetta dove right into doing original research.  In February, she gave an oral presentation at the annual meeting of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters (UASAL) in Salt Lake City on the topic of social media and infants.  Last Spring, Reetta gave a poster presentation at the DSU Research Symposium on the need for childcare at Dixie State University.  More recently, as part of her capstone project in psychology, Reetta investigated the interplay between attachment styles and social media use. Her hypothesis was that people with insecure attachments spend more hours on social media than people with more secure attachment styles.

Using 161 subjects who responded to an online survey, her results showed that there was a significant positive relationship between attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance and smartphone addiction.  “These finding suggest that secure attachments should be promoted as a means to prevent social media and smartphone addiction,” observed Reetta. “Social media use is growing and it is starting to affect more and more people,” Reetta observed.  “I hope my research will make it possible for me to spread the word and help more people develop secure attachments.”

After graduating, Reetta plans to attend graduate school in Europe and study for a Masters Degree in sports psychology, developmental psychology, or family therapy.  “Getting experience presenting research at conferences is very important and I really recommend it,” Reetta commented. “Not only do those experiences teach you a lot, they also look good on your graduate school applications.” For more information, contact Reetta at reetta.saeaeski@utahtech.edu.

Faculty Highlight: Making Old Things Complete New

Dr. Ka-Wai Yu

Historically informed performance is an approach to the performance of classical music which aims to be faithful to the sound, style and instruments used in the musical era in which a work was originally conceived and performed. Associate Professor of Music Dr. Ka-Wai Yu recently undertook an in-depth investigation into the history and literature of the 5-string violoncello piccolo.  With a grant from the DSU Undergraduate Research Office, Dr. Yu embarked on a series of lectures and recitals of period literature performed on the 5-string violoncello piccolo including Bach’s Cello Suite No 6 in D Major which was originally written for a 5-string violoncello piccolo.  “The instrument produces a sound closer to what Bach originally intended and, thus, opens new doors to understanding the beauty and construction of the piece,” says Dr. Yu. In addition to performing classic pieces originally intended for the instrument, Dr. Yu transcribed Franz Schubert’s “Arpeggione” Sonata in A Minor and performed it on the 5-string violoncello piccolo. He also commissioned two composers to write new music for the instrument making Dr. Yu one of very few people to commission and perform new compositions and transcriptions on this instrument.

Music has a history, says, Dr. Yu, “and when we bring back music with its original sound, old things become new again.”  “When we collaborate with other musicians and composers in the process, we create something completely new and special,” he adds. For more information see https://www.yukawai.com/research or contact Dr. Yu at ka-wai.yu@utahtech.edu.

Program Highlight: Research Office

Dr. Brooke Hotez

Dr. Brooke Hotez, Assistant Professor of English, has been appointed Assistant Director of the DSU Research Office effective January 1, 2022, replacing Dr. Olga Pilkington. Dr. Hotez sees the Research Office as playing an important role in supporting DSU’s vision of an open access, polytechnic university by involving students in research as a high-impact learning practice that can spark curiosity. “The research process itself embodies Active Learning. I want students to feel inspired to ask their own questions. Faculty-mentored independent research helps students develop critical thinking and find what interests them. I want every DSU student to know that there are opportunities to do great things and make a difference,” said Dr. Hotez. “I’d also like the research office to be able to offer academic writing support for faculty and students to take their research from the conference paper or poster to the manuscript phase and help prepare it for publication in a notable journal.”

This spring, Dr. Hotez will teach ENGL 3350 Digital Journal Production in which students are involved in the publishing process of Curiosity, DSU’s interdisciplinary research journal of creativity and innovation. Dr. Hotez will also co-chair the university’s research committee and help organize the DSU Research Symposium held each April. “I’m really looking forward to being involved with the university community in this way,” said Dr. Hotez.

Faculty Highlight: Education Professor Investigates “Number Talk” Routines and Math Instruction

Dr. Byungeun Pak

What do mathematics education professors care about?  As you might guess, they generally care a great deal about how mathematics is taught to children and how it could be taught better. This is the underlying question in Dr. Byungeun Pak’s research into Number Talk routines.  Number Talk is a teaching strategy where a teacher poses computational problems, collects answers from students without evaluation and then asks them to share their strategies, record their strategies and contribute to each other’s strategies. This type of teaching is one of the effective teaching strategies recommended by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Funded by a recent grant from DSU’s Undergraduate Research Office, Dr. Pak’s research involves looking at how teacher preparation programs introduce the practice of Number Talk and how effectively new elementary school teachers implement Number Talk with children in their classrooms.  Subjects in his study are 29 prospective teachers in his ELED 4100 Methods of Teaching Elementary Mathematics classes.

This current study is a continuation of earlier research by Dr. Pak and he has already presented papers on the topic at professional conferences, including the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Orlando this past April, the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education in Mexico this past May and the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education in Philadelphia this past October.

When asked how he is able to keep up an active research agenda along with his teaching, Dr. Pak responds, “I try to research ideas related to the courses I teach. Everything I do is related to my teaching.  I look for areas that I need to know more about in my teaching and that’s my motivation.”

For more information, contact Byungeun Pak at byungeun.pak@utahtech.edu.

Program Highlight: Olga Pilkington’s Contribution to the Research Office

Dr. Olga Pilkington

It was with great regret that Dixie State University wished farewell to English Professor Dr. Olga Pilkington, who has taken a position at Providence College in Rhode Island.  “I really enjoyed being surrounded by like-minded people who recognized and understood the importance of research,” commented Dr. Pilkington.  “As I leave DSU, I know that the enthusiasm, support, and recognition of research will only grow as the university grows.”

As an English professor with a background in research and science communication, Dr. Pilkington was able to reach out to all academic areas across the DSU campus.   Her efforts to launch Curiosity, DSU’s first open access research journal was one of her most important accomplishments and gives DSU the momentum to be influential in the larger research community.

“Dr. Pilkington was great at bringing people together and building communities,” commented Rico del Sesto, Director of DSU’s Research Office.  “Although we will miss her, her influence at DSU will continue to be felt for a long time to come.”


Research office

Email: research@utahtech.edu

Phone: 435-879-4488

Office: HCC 488