By Lexie Velasquez
An A&M-San Antonio student has received high honors at the Texas A&M University System Pathways Student Research Symposium for the second consecutive year.
Sociology senior Jayde Beebe received recognition in early November for her preliminary research on how elementary schools in San Antonio address the needs of students whose parents are, or have been, deployed in military service.
The 11th annual Pathways Conference hosted by Texas A&M-Kingsville provided the opportunity for students to present their research projects, including those with preliminary research. The conference allowed students the chance to discuss their research with students and faculty from all over the A&M system.
“Right now I’m researching on elementary students because they are at the peak of their development and there is no research that says there is any difference between [children whose parents have been deployed] and civilian children,” Beebe said.
Beebe’s goal was to learn how elementary schools in San Antonio respond to or support military families; specifically children of military service members during deployment,” according to her research abstract.
Vicky Elias, Beebe’s sociology professor and research advisor, said Beebe’s topic is timely and important.
“Presenting at a conference gives them a chance for professional networking and experience that pays off during job searches and grad school applications,” Elias said in email. “The Pathways conference is especially helpful because of its emphasis on undergraduate research and the opportunity it provides students to interact with students in this region.”
Beebe received 2nd place for her oral presentation in the social sciences and humanities category. She was the only A&M-San Antonio participant to take home a certificate and a $75 dollar cash prize.
Beebe, 23, heard about the symposium through Elias who helped her enter as a participant. More than 400 students from Texas A&M Universities participated in the conference by presenting their research with oral or poster presentations.
Oral presentations are only available for participants in the Social Sciences and Humanities discipline.
“I required that students had progressed enough in their research that they could prepare, present and a give a professional report,” Elias said.
Beebe’s research began in Elias’ research methods course during the spring semester. “They were trying a new technique for the classes where it is more hands on, so we got to do research for the university and for the Patriots’ Casa,” Beebe said. “From start to finish, we did an entire research project in the course of four months and at the end of the semester presented to university officials.”
As part of her academic work, Elias coordinated a research methods project that measures military community ties at the the university as well as collecting data for the Patriots’ Casa and Veteran Affairs department.
The Patriots’ Casa is a building dedicated to the University’s military student community and is the first of its kind in the country, according to the university website. The building will provide facility space to guide veterans and their families through the transition from military life to higher education and into the civilian workforce ready to begin new careers.
The Patriots’ Casa work was completed through the sociology program’s research methods class, and grew to involve students’ own proposals.
“Students surveyed students who are active and former military personnel, their spouses, children and parents to identify programming needs and opportunities,” Elias said. “Students elected Jayde to a leadership position in which she coordinated the project.”
Beebe said the process of completing the course made her realize how much she enjoyed the research process. “Dr. Elias has been so influential in where I’m at right now,” she said.
As part of her presentation, Beebe proposed how she would collect data to learn what strategies are used in 23 identified school districts within a 65 mile radius of all three Joint Base San Antonio locations.
Beebe looked into crisis management for students, adding that “research shows military children are at a higher risk of internalizing stress.”
Although her research is still in progress, Beebe said that once she compiles these numbers, she will research the need for programs, policy making, or behavioral trends.
Following her research on elementary schools, Beebe said she plans to continue upward to middle and high schools.
A graduate of Byron P. Steele II High School in Schertz, Beebe then moved to Bryan, Texas and attended Blinn College for the paralegal program, where she received her associate’s degree. She then transferred to A&M-San Antonio during the spring semester where she is pursuing a bachelor’s in sociology.
Referring to herself as a “military brat,” Beebe said her interest in the military came from growing up in one military community after the other. Still active and living in Washington, D.C., Beebe’s father is in the Air Force and her stepmother serves in the Army.
Her stepmother is head of research at the Walter Reed Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. “I really admire her and the career path and the way that she’s gone about it,” Beebe said.
Of the conference, Beebe said she “really liked being with a group of peers who are on the same level and interested in the same things.”
“Research is a part of any university experience and is central to sociology, Elias said. “As a professor, it’s very rewarding to see students enjoying and excelling in this important skill.”