Impacts of Service Learning on Undergraduate Teaching Assistants in an After-School Program: A Qualitative Approach to Discovery

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Jennifer Ellen Goff


This qualitative study took a phenomenological approach to examine undergraduate teaching assistants’ experiences with CARE Now, a service learning after-school program. The purpose of this study was to identify impacts of the service learning program on the teaching assistants through semi-structured interviews. This study expands on prevalent service learning research by exploring students who are leading their peers in a service learning project. Findings suggest that internal motivations, personal challenges and support, resiliency, contextual challenges, transformational experience, growth, and advocacy are all perceived impacts teaching assistants encounter. Suggestions for future research are provided.

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Author Biography

Jennifer Ellen Goff, Old Dominion University

Jennifer Goff is a PhD student in the Sport and Recreation program at Old Dominion University. Her current focus is on bullying prevention, positive youth development through benefits based programming, and the impact of service learning on college students. She has earned her M.S.Ed. in Recreation and Tourism Management (2010) and her B.S. in Recreation and Tourism Studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation (2009) from Old Dominion University. Jennifer is currently working on multiple research topics and grants that revolve around a resiliency based after school program, youth diabetes camp, sense of community and involvement on campus, as well as measuring the impact of service-learning on college students. She has taught as a one year appointment, adjunct, and GTA for the past four years. She is also a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP).