GRADUATION TALK ▼

PEERS MATTER

AN INTERVIEW WITH MELANIE OLCZYK


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SHORT PROFILE

Name: Melanie Olczyk
Field: Sociology
Location: Bamberg/Germany
Occupation: Research fellow at the Chair of Sociolgy and the Analysis of Social Structures, University of Bamberg

+ Melanie's Alumna Profile

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▐  Melanie Olczyk gives us a sneak preview of the results of her thesis on whether peers matter in the educational integration of immigrant children.

 

   What drew you to the topic of your dissertation and what interests you most about it?

   M.O. The topic of my PhD is highly debated in integration research and in the public as well. At the same time, little is known about effects of different forms of ethnic embeddedness and about underlying mechanisms – especially for the case of Germany and immigrant groups living here. It is great to work on this widely discussed topic and to contribute to an understanding of it.

 

   Could you give us a sneak peak of the results of your thesis? How important is the ethnic embeddedness of children with an immigration background to their academic achievement?

   M.O.My analysis is based on NEPS- and SOEP-data focusing on the academic achievement and attainment at the beginning and the end of secondary school. In sum, ethnic embeddedness in form of ethnically segregated friendship networks or class contexts is mainly of minor relevance and insignificant; partially, it has negative effects but they are relatively small. Furthermore, I find evidence for the assumed mechanisms, e.g., achievement orientations and ambitions of peers or spoken language with peers. But these orientations and resources correlate with competence development mainly independently from the ethnic origin of peers.

 

   How does the experience of writing your doctoral thesis influence your current work?

   M.O. Working on one topic for years and seeing how the results of my work grew and changed were for me challenging and enlightening at the same time. Finishing my PhD gives me the tools and the drive for future projects and challenges.

 

 

 

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