Rewarding Research: Meet Alumna Beth Gallatin

Published: 
Tuesday, November 22, 2022

“The most rewarding part of research is confirming what you know with math,” said Beth Gallatin, SPSCC alumna and former research student. Last year, Beth and her research team chose to conduct research related to SPSCC’s Nursing program.

“There were a lot of questions my research team wanted to answer, one of them being ‘Is there a way we can better support student success in the NCLEX?’ Making efforts to answer that question to help both the program and future students was an amazing experience.”

Getting there in her college career was another amazing experience.

During her time at SPSCC, Beth was explored many potential paths and careers in the science field. Her professors helped connect her to a summer research internship at the University of Washington’s Department of Physics. It was there that Beth discovered her love for research.

“I found that research strengthened my confidence in problem-solving realistically,” Beth explained. “In classes, you’re guided by professors, but in the field, you’re responsible for your own projects. That’s the beauty of research at the college level. You can practice those skills while having the support of a mentor.”

When she found out that SPSCC was offering a new math research sequence (Math 214, 215, and 216), she didn’t waste any time getting enrolled.

“In a regular math class, you’re given a certain amount of information that you practice and test on, which builds a great foundation. What I enjoy about math research is dealing with a real-world problem that you develop,” said Beth. “You can take all the tools and skills you’ve learned throughout your education and apply them.”

One of the math research projects she was involved in was focused on SPSCC’s Nursing program. With faculty research advisor Natalie Hobson overseeing their work, Beth and her team investigated whether nursing students’ grades in the program could predict their scores on the NCLEX, the nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses. By analyzing student grade data and their NCLEX performances over the years, Beth and her team found patterns that would help refine the program and its curriculum.

“There were a lot of moving pieces,” Beth explained. “Each year, the students, the curriculum, and the NCLEX changed. We also had to factor in online learning during the pandemic. It was a lot of fruitful information that can contribute to building a robust Nursing program that evolves over time.”

“The results were illuminating for nursing faculty and have allowed us to make some changes to further the consistency in the program so that the data can continue to be assessed,” said Marriya Wright, Dean of Allied Health & Nursing. “The nursing program is planning to keep these results in mind as we review end of year data points to see if there are trends. We’re so thankful for the math research class and their time spent to help us!”

Beth graduated from SPSCC with an Associate in Science degree in 2021 and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in math and computer science at Saint Martin’s University.

“I’m still doing research and I’ll keep doing research through the rest of my academic journey. It’s made me feel much more confident in my classes as the concepts and questions become more complicated.”

“For anyone considering taking a research class, my advice is to just jump in and do it! It doesn’t require you to be an expert to get started, you just have to be committed to learning,” Beth said.

“SPSCC offers a wealth of resources,” she added. “It prepares you to be successful by connecting you to tutors, mentors, and other support services. If you make use of everything offered by the college, it’s like you’re designing a program for yourself.”

If you’re interested in getting involved in math research, contact Natalie Hobson at nhobson@spscc.edu.

Photo of alumna Beth Gallatin outside leaning on a railing