Psychology Students Excel During Virtual Research Symposium
- Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
Each year, students enrolled in Research Methods in Psychology (PSY 210) present independent research proposals during an annual symposium. Each student project consists of a research question, a literature review, a hypothesis based on the reviewed literature, and a proposed method for testing the hypothesis. Led by Psychology professors Dr. Qin Zhao and Dr. Melissa Baker, the symposium gives students the opportunity to share their research proposals with other PSY 210 students, psychology faculty, and graduate students. “The goal is to have students showcase what they learn about the research process via their very own research project.” Baker said.
The project allows psychology students to apply what they’ve learned throughout the Research Methods in Psychology course, and to propose their own research based on their personal interests and experiences.
Meagan Clark (’21) conducted her research on the influences of exercise and suicide risk. “I have lost a close family member to suicide which piqued my interest in Psychology,” Clark said. “I was previously an Exercise Science major, so I wanted to try and explore the connection between these two areas.” Through her research, she hopes to discover a correlation between increased exercise and a lowered risk of suicide. Clark aspires to become a clinical psychologist.
Loren Pedroli (’23) proposed a study on short-term memory and how distractions affect the ability to remember information. “I was inspired to investigate this topic because I often have difficulties concentrating, and I wanted to learn more about how small distractions can impact my studying abilities,” Pedroli said. Upon finishing her education, Pedroli hopes to become a counselor for first responders.
Bekah Kennedy (’22) recently discovered she was vitamin D deficient, so she decided to investigate the connections between vitamin D levels and heightened anxiety and depressive symptoms. “Dr. Zhao is an incredible teacher and it’s been really fun to have the opportunity to apply what we learn to our own research presentations. I’m grateful to have been a part of this course and to have learned from Dr. Zhao,” Kennedy said.
Austin Duncan (’23) proposed a study on how food groupings impact consumers’ moods. “I am inspired to investigate this topic because people with a better diet typically have a happier demeanor
throughout the day and it remains more constant,” Duncan said. “I hope to discover if diet is a considerable enough factor in one's state of happiness day-by-day to be further considered for treatment. If so, therapists, social workers, etc. could incorporate this knowledge when treating a patient or child suffering from depression or temporary unhappiness.” Duncan is working towards a future career in the social work field. The research symposium began in Spring 2019. Due to COVID-19, this semester’s symposium took place in a virtual format. . “[Due to alternative learning formats] it has been quite a challenge and feat for students to create their own research projects and learn about the process of psychological research,” Baker said. “It is something worth showcasing for the college.”
December 4 is the last day to view the research symposium. Those interested in viewing the research projects can contact Melissa Baker at Melissa.Baker@wku.edu. Anyone interested in learning more about a career in psychology is welcome to contact department heads Pitt Derryberry or Steve Wininger at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://www.wku.edu/psychology/.