New FFL Chrysanthemum McDaniel fills us in on her project

ASF: Tell us where you did your project and very briefly what your project entailed.
Chrysanthemum McDaniel: My project was hosted by Oxmoor Valley Elementary School. The focus of my project was parental involvement in the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) of young children in grades Pre-K to 5th grade.

ASF: What were some of the surprises you experienced along the way?
CM: I encountered a number of surprises during the implementation of my project. Due to the mental wellness nature of the project, rapport-building with the stakeholders became a major challenge, and the research design was approached with some resistance, thoughts of stigmatization and feelings of objectification.

ASF: With the benefit of hindsight, what changes, if any, would you make?
CM: In hindsight, I would have enlisted the participation of both the school district’s SEL Coordinator as well as the Parental Engagement Coordinator in introducing the project to the stakeholders of the community partners.

ASF: What were some of your main takeaways, personally, from the project?
CM: Two of the main takeaways that resonate with me are 1). the power and importance of rapport-building, and 2) making project-related activities accessible on diverse and flexible learning platforms. Especially with activities that involve direct interaction with parents, traditional in-person or online means of communication must be interfaced with other means of communication such as personal phones and Facetime opportunities.

ASF: What is next for you now that you are through with your ASF project?
CM: Since postgraduate studies in adolescent mental health are quickly approaching, the research methodology and public relations skills I have learned during the implementation of my ASF project will be used to help me navigate the research landscape associated with obtaining my PhD degree.