Undergraduate Research Program

Maria Cage

Cage, Maria

Early Childhood & Family Studies
Mentor: Professor Phillip Thurtle, Comparative History of Ideas; Kathleen Meeker, Special Education

Contact: cagem2@uw.edu

Current research project: Rediscovering Play



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
My research takes an interdisciplinary approach in reframing play as a mindset that might be reexamined and revisited by adults who care for (or teach) young children. I am currently conducting a literature review to better situate my assertions within the body of Early Childhood Development literature, and am also continuing to incorporate theories from anthropology and psychology as foundational points of reference. In the upcoming months, I hope to expand on my conception of play, and identify possible implications this might evidence across the breadth of early childhood learning environments.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
Participating in research has literally changed my relationship with the knowledge I continue to gain as a student. Engaging in independent research has provided an intimate space within which I am free to explore what is really fascinating to me. And I must admit, it has been personally rewarding to push my comfort level, through both failures and successes, to find that I am capable of much more than I’d allowed myself to imagine. Research continues to be an expansive and exciting endeavor!

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
I would encourage all students to trust that there are enormous supports and encouragement that will help them learn as they research. Don’t be afraid to jump in and try a unique way of learning and engaging. Your interest and enthusiasm are valued!