For every 10 minutes U-M students spend studying, they spend 4 minutes distracted by their phones and other media. They have company; students in China are similarly distracted says Zuowei Wang, a fourth year doctoral student in Education and Psychology.
Zuowei ’s goal is to promote student learning, study students’ behavior and how they perform under different situations, and determine how to help students perform better. To this end, he researches media distraction in college students and he works with math teachers in elementary schools to identify problems and develop new ways for them to teach.
“I want to use research to help students to learn – this is a meaningful thing for me to do.
I think research is intellectually stimulating – to find solutions to problems, identify issues in life or society, determine a research question, research solutions, and write about it to communicate the issue and potential solutions with others.” Zuowei explains.
Uninspired by his undergraduate chemistry program, Zuowei took an intro to psychology class and found himself intrigued by research that focused on educational tools for dyslexic students in China. He knew then that he wanted to pursue an interdisciplinary program like those here at U-M. Coming to Ann Arbor expanded Zuowei ’s global horizon and he finds it easy to fit in on campus. He has found great friends here in his departments and in the international community as well, and while he doesn’t have much free time, he manages to fit in trips to the CCRB, playing table tennis with friends or swimming.
When asked about his experience as a graduate student, he hones in on teaching, saying, “I love it. Since English isn’t my first language, I over-prepared for all my classes. I overcame the language issues quickly, and my students would come to me to talk. It made me feel good.” He’s glad for that experience as it helped him be a better teacher and develop a high level of comfort in the classroom. “My faculty advisors have been a tremendous support. They help me pursue all my interests and take extra effort to help review my work, often sentence by sentence.”
Zuowei is excited to see where his work will take him next. When finished with his doctorate, he’ll seek a research position anywhere in the world.