Name: Maria Catherine Kelly

Age: 30

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Education: BA in Anthropology from University of San Diego

Occupation: Full-time graduate student. Currently working on Masters in Teaching, International Relations and Social Sciences through University of San Diego.

What type of work are you doing at Daraja Academy?

My thesis is on student self-efficacy beliefs concerning perceived goals for the future.

[Self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s own ability to perform a task”.] I will study student career and academic goals post transition from the academy. I will determine student behavior as it is perceived by the students, not by the administration, staff, or researcher.

How are you conducting your research?

Ten students have volunteered to be part of the project.  They will go through a series of four interviews and reflection pieces.  The first interview is focused on why they are interested in a specific goal instead of others.  The second tries to discover their self-efficacy beliefs (their ability to achieve those goals).   The third deals with their self regulatory behaviors (their way of getting to that goal).  The last interview deals with control beliefs (who they believe is in charge of their success- why do they succeed/fail?).  In addition, it will attempt to identify how certain programs at Daraja (like WISH class) are affecting the girls’ beliefs.

At the end there will be a “member check” where I go over my understanding of my data with the girls and I make sure that they agree with how I perceived their information.

What do you hope to get out of this project?

The desired outcome is to gain a better understanding of the girls’ beliefs in their capabilities.  This will help the girls successfully plan for their lives upon graduation.

Hopefully, Daraja will get a better understanding of their students’ belief system.  In addition they will be able to evaluate programs that are designed to have a positive effect on the girls self-efficacy.

How long does it take to write a thesis like this?

Relationship Development: 3 Months

Data Collection: 3 Months

Data Analysis: 2 Months

What’s your typical day like?

I try to spend as much time with the girls as possible, usually in a non-official environment.  I observe the girl’s behavior.  I also do lots of research on self efficacy, educational psychology and behavioral material.  At this point, my time will be mostly taken up by interviews and transcribing data.  I also work with the media club and WISH class.

What do you like to do for fun?

I am into non-human primate research.  I am current