Undergraduate Research

Emily Aguilar ’24

OUR Featured Researcher: Emily Aguilar '24


Emily Aguilar
Photo credit: Jacob Strauss

Emily Aguilar (she/her) is a Computer Science major conducting mentored research under Cynthia Taylor. The title of her winter term research was "Predicting Student Success Based on Clicker Question Accuracy". 

Please describe your project: 

Based on previous research in a larger institution, they found a pattern between results from i-clickers and exam results in order to determine student success in beginning courses of Computer Science. I-Clickers are a dynamic polling system where students are given multiple choice questions and respond and discuss during class. Researchers took responses from student responses and compared them to exam results to determine which students were at risk and what resources professors could provide to them. Through Python and Pandas we created visual models of students' responses at Oberlin College to see how they compare to the previous research conducted.

A brief summary (the elevator speech) of your research project:

We looked at how we could predict student performance in beginning Computer Science
courses using previous years student i-clicker responses and exam results. To visualize this data and create a prediction we used programs such as Python and Pandas.

Why is your research important?  Why is it important to your field? Why is it important outside your field? What implications does your research have for society?

It’s important to understand what are the best ways to support students pursuing a career in STEM. The research that we did allowed us to see what area support was most needed before it was too late for students.

What does the process of doing your research look like?

During my time researching with Dr.Taylor I learned about Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). We also discussed previous research done in different institutions in comparison with Oberlin.

What knowledge has your research contributed to your field? What are your findings so far?

I think the research contributes to understanding how we create community and develop relationships through creative processes.

How did you get involved in research?

I got more involved with research through the STRONG program. Seeing what other people are researching in and outside my field has inspired me to continue to research.

What is your favorite aspect of the research process?

I think my favorite part about researching are the discussion about the work being done. You could see how passionate others are about what/why they are doing the work they do and it rubs off on you.

What advice would you give to a younger student wanting to get involved in research in your field?

This is a time to explore your interests and see what resonates with you. I found that Computer Science intersects with other studies of research while also helping learn more about my field.