Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Sean Khalifehzadeh Humanities and Social Science

Fourth and Goal: A Comparative Analysis of Student-Athlete Educational Experiences

When student-athletes are in the midst of managing their athletic and academic obligations, what factors contribute to higher rates of graduation success? Looking at the academic readiness of student-athletes, the culture of the campus, and academic support, I will attempt to understand how student-athletes from two UCs navigate through the academic rigors of a research university in addition to fulfilling their personal and contractual obligations as athletes. Employing a mixed-methods approach, using both surveys and interviews, I will attempt to study what athletes feel works for them, and what doesnt. The key aspect of my research that differs from current studies is that I will focus solely on UCs, which are dear to me as I grew up watching the then Pac-10, and now Pac-12 conference. Current research on graduation success does not fit the characteristics of the UC system, and this project intends to explore student experiences.

Message To Sponsor

As a recipient of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, I am privileged to have the opportunity given to me by the Wishek Fund to combine my interests in education and athletics. This project provides the resources and community-backing necessary to pursue a fundamental question that beleaguers me ever more as I progress through my academic career: What makes education accessible and engaging? Not only can I make strides in adding to a body of knowledge, but also gain the research experience necessary in preparation for graduate school. The fellowship will culminate in a senior honors thesis that will surely be the defining moment of my undergraduate career.
Profile image of Sean Khalifehzadeh
Major: Sociology
Mentor: Linus Huang, Sociology
Sponsor: Wishek SURF fellow
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