Main Research Interests


One of the most important skills in advanced mathematics is the ability to flexibiliy apply a range of strategies, create novel approaches, and bridge different areas of mathematics to solve complex mathematics problems. However, the flexibility and creativity that real-world mathematics depends on remains largely ignored in traditional math classrooms. In my research, I look at different techniques and psychological influences that can be utilized enhance flexibility and abstract thinking in mathematics.


Another area of my research focuses on mathematical anxiety. Distinct from test anxiety and general anxiety, math anxiety is an averse reaction to math that triggers intense negative reactions to math that can lead not only to underperformance, but create avoidance patterns in student engagement with math. In my work with math anxiety, I seek to not only better understand the mechanisms and factors that contribute to such anxiety but also examine ways to reduce it.


Recently I have become more interested in how problem-solving is improved by "incubating" or shifting conscious attention away from the problem at hand during short or extended breaks. During incubation, unconscious processes contribute to the restructure of information, reduction of fixations, and how remote connections are created outside of conscious awareness. I am interested in how these processes can be utilized to better understand how students process information.

Secondary Research Interests


As a part of the Teaching and Learning Lab (TALL), I have had the awesome opportunity to join an integral team that has created a undergraduate statistics course that uses an online interactive textbook (written by Jim Stigler & Ji Son) to teach statistics through a GLM modeling approach by using R programming. On this team, I am interested in how students make connections across content to increase understanding.


In addition to research in math education, I have also been interested in the adjustment period and experience of community college transfer students. In this line of work, I have employed qualtitative methodologies to better understand how diverse students overcome challenges in the transfer process and how social integration on campus can strengthen feelings of belonging


Ramirez, Shaw, & Maloney (2018)

Ramirez, G., Shaw, S. T., & Maloney, E. A. (2018). Math anxiety: Past research, promising interventions, and a new interpretation framework. Educational Psychologist, 53(3), 145-166. doi:10.1080/00461520.2018.1447384

Shaw, Spink, & Chin-Newman (2018)

Shaw, S. T., Spink, K. S., & Chin-Newman, C. S. (2018). “Do I really belong here?”: The stigma of being a community college transfer student at a four-year university. Community College Journal of Research and Practice.

Shaw & Chin-Newman (2017)

Shaw, S. T., & Chin-Newman, C. S. (2017). " You Can Do It!" Social Support for Transfer Students During the Transition From Community College to a Four-Year University. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 29(2), 65-78.

Shaw, S. T. & Chin-Newman, C. S. (2017). "You Can Do It!" Social Support during the transition from community college to a four-year university. Journal ofthe First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 29(2), 65-78.

Chin-Newman & Shaw (2013)

Chin-Newman, C. S., & Shaw, S. T. (2013). The anxiety of change: How transfer students face challenges. Journal of College Admission, (221), 1. p. 15-21

Technical Reports

Shaw & Skomsvold (2015)

Shaw, S. T. & Skomsvold, P. (2015). Pit stops and pitfalls of the yellow brick road: Characteristics of community college students along the path of degree completion. Retrieved from

Woo, J. & Shaw, S. (2015). Trends in Graduate Student Financing: Selected Years, 1995–96 to 2011–12 (NCES2015-026). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S.Department of Education. Washington, DC.

Shaw, S. & Radwin, D. (2014). Comparison of Original and Revised Student Financial Aid Estimates for 2007- 2008 (NCES 2014-179). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of EducationSciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.

Ifill, N. & Shaw, S. (2013). Undergraduate Financial Aid Estimates by Type of Institution in 2011-2012 (NCES2013-169). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S.Department of Education. Washington, DC.

Radford, A., Lew, T., & Shaw, S. (2013). Today’s Baccalaureate: The Fields and Courses that Make UpCurrent Baccalaureate Recipients’ Degrees in 2007–08 (NCES 2013-755). National Center forEducation Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.

Popular Press & Other

* indicates mentorship role

Authors: Eric Barajas

& Stacy Shaw*

Authors: Nora McNulty

& Stacy Shaw*