Term of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Rebecca Ryan

Committee Member 1

Nicolette Rickert

Committee Member 2

Lindsey Stone


Service-learning (SL) has increasingly been used as an educational tool based on the theory of experiential learning, which states that knowledge is developed through experience (Kohl, 1984). SL provides students with the opportunity to connect course work to the community leading to a better understanding of the content. Previous research has shown that SL is associated with positive academic, social, and civic outcomes. However, many of the previous studies fail to provide demographic information on the participants, specifically their ethnicities. There has also been a lack of quantitative studies that examine how first-generation students perceive SL and its benefits. The current study explored the extent to which students benefited from SL and if students who are a part of underrepresented populations, ethnic minority and first-generation, gained the same benefits that previous research has shown. This study used the Benefits of Academic Community Engagement (BACE) scale to determine the extent to which students’ personal development and social responsibility were positively connected to SL. Results showed that the students in the ethnic minority scored higher than those in the ethnic majority on personal development, social responsibility, and overall. These findings suggest that ethnic minorities found their SL experience to be even more beneficial than those in the ethnic majority. On the other hand, there were no statistically significant differences on personal development, social responsibility, or overall, based on family education level as first-generation and continuing-generation students did not differ. These findings extend previous research about SL and underrepresented populations and show that SL is just as, if not more, beneficial to underrepresented populations.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material