Our Voices: Educational Psychology student, Jacob English
Our Voices celebrates the remarkable achievements of our students, alumni and faculty.
In this edition, we focus on Jacob Alan English, a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology program. English hails from College Park, Georgia and is a Georgia State University alumnus in the Department of Kinesiology and Health where he received a B.S. in Exercise Science and M.S. in Sports Administration.
He is also a GSU celebrated and award-winning athlete. In 2008, he was named the Colonial Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year for Men’s Track and Field and is currently the reigning school record holder for the long jump and triple jump.
What made you choose Georgia State University and the College of Education & Human Development?
I came to GSU as a student athlete on the track and field team. I chose GSU for its urban environment and diverse student population.
Why did you choose the program you’re in?
After receiving my master’s degree, I wanted to continue on a path of research. I knew what I wanted to research but I did not know what program would be best suited for me. I met with different faculty members to gain more information but none of the programs “felt” like a good fit. One day, I was meeting with Dr. Walt Thompson about a GSU Kappa Delta Pi event (I was the president of the organization at that time), and at the tail-end of the meeting we discussed my research interest. He recommended that I talk to Dr. Laura Fredrick about the Educational Psychology program. I met with Dr. Fredrick and then Dr. Nannette Commander and I immediately felt like this is where I am supposed to be. It was clear that my research interest would be fostered and that I would be supported throughout the program.
What are your research interests while in school and career goals after graduation?
Primarily, I am interested in the inclusion of experiential learning opportunities in the classroom; especially undergraduate research. I also am interested in student athlete development and digital literacy development. After graduation I would like to become a faculty member in a department of educational psychology or psychology, and ultimately serve as a director of an undergraduate research center or office.
Who has had the biggest influence on your academic and/or career trajectory at the College of Education and why?
There are four individuals that have greatly impacted my academic and career trajectory (two in the College of Education & Human Development and two campus-wide). In no particular order, they are Dr. Nannette Commander, Dr. Ann Kruger, Dr. Jennifer Gerz-Escandon, and Dr. Darryl Holloman. Dr. Commander has guided me with humble authority and optimism. Dr. Kruger has modeled a learner-centered pedagogy that I hope to adopt. Dr. Gerz-Escandon (a colleague) forces me outside of my comfort zone every day. Dr. Holloman (mentor) provides unapologetic and invaluable advice that makes me consider other perspectives as I map out my professional trajectory.
Tell me about something you did in class or on a project?
During spring 2015, I took EPY 8010 with Dr. Kruger. The purpose of the course was to produce a critical literature review for a self-selected topic and submit it to a journal. At the end of the semester, I had produced a literature review about the use of appreciative advising to mitigate stereotype threat among student athletes. Over the following summer, I worked with Dr. Kruger to improve upon the paper and eventually we submitted it for publication. In spring 2016, it was accepted for publication in the Journal of Appreciative Education.
What do you do to unwind from your studies?
Outside of the classroom I am an academic advisor in the Honors College at GSU. I am a Councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research. I serve on the Student Life Committee and as Co-chair of the Athletics Committee on the GSU Senate. I also enjoy yoga, running and resistance training.
What do you like best about attending a downtown university?
I enjoy attending a downtown campus because of its convenience. The ability to live, work and play within a central location truly increases productivity and efficiency in all aspects of my life.
What has been your biggest challenge in your work as a student?
The biggest initial challenge was learning to balance coursework and the residency requirements. The program is research intensive and requires a substantial amount of writing. Although, once you find your “flow” it becomes second nature.
What has been your biggest accomplishment since you’ve been a student here?
My biggest accomplishment was working with Dr. Kruger and having our article published.
What is your favorite quote?
“To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true.” –Bayard Rustin
“Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it and you’ll start believing in it.” –Jesse Owens