Student Spotlight: Madeline Howorth

For undergraduate Madeline Howorth, research is in her blood. The Center for Undergraduate Research AY2223 fellowship award winner remembers watching her mother study, do homework and perform research. “Growing up in Pennsylvania as my mom pursued her PhD studies full-time, I was constantly surrounded by eager education faculty, used textbooks, and an endless supply of coffee and late nights, sitting with her while we did our very different homework on the couch.” She believes being surrounded by research, and the excitement of her mother and her colleagues led to her own path into research.

Howorth’s area of focus is on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She examined “the barriers faced and strategies employed by one local school district aiming to create a more inclusive and equitable campus environment for all student identities.” The goal of the collaboration between the local school department and the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development is to “create synergy in and around the improvement efforts being implemented within the [school department] and the research expertise, teaching practices, and service of UMaine faculty members that can help address systemic issues within the district.”

“My advice to others going into research is to not be afraid to be wrong,” says Howorth. She says “negative” or “unexpected” results often lead to other relevant and even more meaningful questions. She says that working with her faculty mentor, Rebecca Buchanan, on this research has given her “the opportunity to grow and develop professionally in a way that” classes alone cannot. Howorth says that “especially for students, embracing what you don’t know can be a humbling and necessary step towards personal and professional success…of course, it’s one I’m still working on, myself.”