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Monica D’Antonio

Temple University

Fall 2017 Associate Research Fellow

Monica D’Antonio is currently pursuing her PhD in Educational Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Under the guidance of her advisor and mentor Dr. Avi Kaplan, Monica has been conducting research on community college students’ identity exploration/development and motivational processes within developmental writing courses. She is currently working on her dissertation and hopes to complete her degree by the end of the spring 2018 semester. In addition to her doctoral work, Monica also teaches developmental writing courses at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA. She lives in Norristown with her husband, Hal, and cat, Jeter.

Research Summary
The purpose of my qualitative research study is to examine community college students’ experiences in a developmental writing course that includes an identity exploration intervention targeted at enhancing students’ motivation, writing skills, and identity development as writers and as students.

Data has been gathered from 15 developmental writing students (60% female, 40% male; 30% White, 30% Black, 10% Asian, 10% Latinx; 20% other; Mean age = 20.3) in two developmental writing courses over the 2016-17 academic year.

In this study, I conceptualize student identity according to the Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity (DSMRI)—a multidimensional dynamic model of identity development and motivational processes—to investigate the motivational, engagement, and learning processes elicited by a pedagogical approach that I designed and applied to course activities on the basis of four complementary principles for promoting students’ identity exploration around academic writing: promoting self-relevance, triggering identity exploration, enhancing a sense of safety, and scaffolding exploration strategies (PRESS model).

In using the PRESS model to facilitate identity exploration in the class and the DSMRI model to evaluate students’ experiences, the study aims to acquire a better understanding of developmental writers’ complexity, dynamism, and uniqueness.