Montana State University

Expert on factors affecting student success in STEM fields lectures March 22 at MSU

March 7, 2012

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
A free public lecture about factors affecting students' success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM fields, will be given at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in Room 233 of Montana State University's Strand Union Building.

Judith Harackiewicz, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present "Promoting Interest and Performance in STEM Fields: The Importance of Utility Value."

Harackiewicz studies human motivation, specifically intrinsic motivation, interest and achievement motivation. She studies how different kinds of performance evaluation and feedback influence an individual's interest in an activity. Harackiewicz also studies motivational issues in educational psychology, particularly how goals affect the development of interest in academic subjects.

Harackiewicz will discuss two recent lines of research she has conducted affecting students' interest in STEM fields. The first studied interventions with high school students in science classes and with college students in an introductory psychology class. She will also talk about research into the role of parents encouraging interest in STEM fields.

Harackiewicz's lecture is sponsored by the MSU Department of Psychology and is presented by the College of Letters and Science's Distinguished Speakers Series. The series, which began in the spring of 2011, brings distinguished scholars to MSU to give a public talk and to meet with faculty and students in order to enrich the intellectual life on campus and to enhance the research connections.

For more information about this and other L&S Distinguished Speakers Series lectures, please visit or call 994-4288.

Jody Sanford (406) 994-7791,