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Studying Causes of High School Drop Outs

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Rachel Lally
Rachel Lally

Senior psychology major (with a philosophy minor) Rachel Lally won a 2016 SURF grant to work on a project titled “Pushed Out or Dropped Out: An Analysis of Relationships in Schools.” Her study focuses on relationships a student has with staff, peers, and the school as a whole, working from the hypothesis that the more connected a student feels to his or her school, the less likely they are to drop out and the better their academic performance will be.

Lally is surveying students in New England high schools to measure their relationships with their schools to add to the knowledge base of what’s already known about school connectedness and take it a step further by focusing explicitly on relationships the students have within the school. Lally hopes that her research will help school staff learn what areas of school connectedness they should focus on in order to see all students succeed.

“This project really helped me to learn more about school systems and the students that I wish to spend my career helping,” Lally said. “I also think that this research gave me an opportunity that most undergraduate students do not get and I am extremely grateful to have been selected for this fellowship.”

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