Ava Fergerson, a senior Psychological Sciences major at WKU, received the Student Poster Award from the Women’s Special Interest Group at the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) Annual Convention held in San Diego, CA from November 16-19, 2017. Ava’s research poster presented the results of her senior honors’ thesis, for which she was also awarded a Faculty-Undergraduate Student Engagement award with Dr. Amy Brausch as her faculty mentor. Her research project investigated the role of resilience in the relationship between PTSD symptoms and unhealthy eating behaviors in a sample of college women who have experienced sexual harassment or assault.
Ava is from Bowling Green, KY and will graduate with a B.S. in Psychological Sciences with a Clinical concentration and minor in Gender & Women’s Studies in May 2018. Ava has worked in Dr. Brausch’s lab since January 2017 and has already presented research at two conferences, one national and one regional. She is also on track to present another poster at a national conference in April 2018. Ava is currently applying to PhD programs in Clinical Psychology, and her long-term goal is to have an academic career.
“The Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is a multidisciplinary organization committed to the enhancement of health and well-being by advancing the scientific understanding, assessment, prevention, and treatment of human problems through behavioral, cognitive, and biological evidence-based principles” (abct.org). ABCT was founded in 1966 and has been holding an Annual Convention each year since, which features research on psychological disorders and research-supported treatments for those disorders. ABCT also has several Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within the organization that focus on different aspects of clinical psychology, of which the Women’s SIG is one.
Dr. Amy Brausch, Ava’s undergraduate research mentor, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, and has been building her reputation as a leading researcher in the field of adolescent suicide and self-injury. She currently has an Investigator Development Award from the Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network to study the development of self-harm behavior in adolescents across time, and is co-investigator on a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the progression of self-harm behavior in college students. Dr. Brausch’s students have presented at both national and international conferences, and many have been accepted into PhD programs in Clinical Psychology.
The Department of Psychological Sciences in the Ogden College of Science & Engineering has many research-active faculty who support both undergraduate and graduate students in applications for nationally competitive scholarships and admission to doctoral programs in all areas of psychology. Students in both undergraduate and graduate programs can complete concentrations in diverse areas of psychology such as cognitive, clinical, social, developmental, biobehavioral, and applied. For information about Dr. Brausch’s research on suicide prevention, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information can also be found at http://www.wku.edu/psychological-sciences/index.php