JCJC alumna earns MSU research award

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2010-09-15 15:42:10

ELLISVILLE – Laurel native and 2009 Jones County Junior College graduate, Megan Cockrill recently earned the Undergraduate Researcher Award for the College of Education at Mississippi State University.  One undergraduate student from each college of study at MSU was selected for the undergraduate researcher award. 
“I was very honored to find out that I had been nominated and for this award, and I am pleased to earn this award,” said Cockrill. “I conducted my research under the supervision of Dr. Kay Brocato. However, this was research that I thought only she and I would care about.   But she, along with two of my professors, nominated me for this award. It is so refreshing and wonderful to know that the work I have done is not in vain. I am very humbled to have people notice the hard work I put into my research.” 
The secondary math education major also stood out to her JCJC chemistry instructor Dr. Giselle Marks. Dr. Marks recommended Cockrill for scholarships to MSU and is proud of her accomplishments. 

“Anytime our students achieve, that’s a sign that we’re doing a good job here at Jones,” said Dr. Marks. “We’re giving them a good foundation, and equipping them for when they transfer, knowing they will do well and excel.”
Cockrill’s MSU professors were, “Immediately impressed with her serious commitment to research and learning,” wrote Dr. Kay Brocato, MSU Associate Professor of Leadership and Foundations. “She has demonstrated leadership through her research by tackling this research project on her own for the greater, more informed good of the wider University, since we are all embarking on how to thoughtfully integrate current teaching technologies.”
The West Jones High School graduate’s research centers around a test-making computer program called Respondus. She uses it to create tests to assess future teachers on their knowledge of objectives and benchmarks in each content area. Her research also involves the use of Tier I interventions for those students having difficulties. The Louisville school district has allowed Cockrill to volunteer as an after school tutor to form an error diagnosis on particular middle school and high school students. 
 “I am basically working with these children to pinpoint weaknesses in their math skills and developing plans to improve their knowledge and abilities to think about math in a different way than the typical lecture method,” said Cockrill. “This is somewhat of my own research to expand my repertoire of effective Tier I interventions, which was the purpose of my previous research, and methods of meeting those children where they are and getting where they need to be and beyond,” said Cockrill.
She is passionate about her profession and her desire to help struggling students succeed. Her research, she explained, will help her achieve that goal.
“No two children are the same. One method of teaching does not work for all children. I am passionate about my career choice and helping children have a fighting chance in the school systems today. This is why I am so interested in Tier interventions. It's important to know the students I work with and teach them according to each child's individual learning style and ability because my number one goal is to see these children succeed and enjoy math along the way,” said Cockrill.
Upon graduation from MSU, Cockrill said she hopes to teach in the Jones County School District while completing her Master’s Degree.


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