Psychology students selected for national conference

By Tessa Castor

Staff reporter

Four students have been selected to present research at one of the largest psychology conventions in the nation. Dr. Jacob Negley, assistant professor of psychology, and Dr. Carrie Lane, associate professor of psychology, will travel to San Francisco with Anna Mankoski, Jerlecia Thompson, Troy Fort and Ashley Smith, all psychology seniors, to present research after graduation.

The Association for Psychological Science will host their 30th APS Convention May 24-27. The conference will host more than 4,000 psychologists, and according to www.psychologicalscience.org, it will help attendees “Gain insights into research and trends from world-renowned psychological scientists.”

In past years, SC students have attended regional psychology conventions, but a scheduling conflict brought this year’s group of seniors to submit their research at the national level.

Negley and Lane both said that the students’ acceptance into the convention is an honor, as the majority of those in attendance are professors and graduate students. Lane said that the conference’s attendees will be “all of the major players” in the psychology field.

“Most people don’t present at major conferences until they have their masters,” said Negley. “I think it just really shows strength of our undergraduate program.”

“It’s a really big conference,” said Thompson. “We’ve had some doubts about it. It was nice seeing the email saying we were accepted.”

Fort’s research covers the effects of alcohol in learning, as experimented with zebra fish. Mankoski’s deals with procrastination in students, and Smith’s examines the correlation between students’ sleep schedules, life satisfaction and “social jetlag.” Thompson’s research examines people’s satisfaction in their friendships and relationships, and how they identify themselves through those relationships.

The four days of the conference will consist of workshops, keynote addresses, symposiums and more. The students will present their research as audience members travel among the research posters.

“It’s a way of sharing cutting-edge research,” said Negley. “It’s a gathering of the brightest minds to come together to solve problems in our field. I think it just really shows strength in our undergrad program. It was obviously super exciting when we heard that all four got in.”

The students began preparing their research last spring, and this project serves as their senior project. They all submitted their posters a few weeks ago, and acceptance emails began coming in shortly after.

“It is very high quality and novel work,” said Negley. “I’m just thrilled that they all got accepted. I’m really proud of all the work they’ve done.”

Lane said her hope for the conference is for the students to get a taste of what it is like to produce and present research as well as network with professional psychologists. In a past convention, one Southwestern student was even offered a full ride to a doctorate program.

“You never really know what cool opportunities you’re going to have,” said Lane. “It’s just exciting and energizing to be around people who care about the same things you do.

“The students are getting an experience that will set them apart from other undergraduate programs,” said Lane. “We have a solid research program set up here. There’s a strong tradition of solid research.”

“I’m excited to go to California and share our work,” said Thompson. “We’ve put a lot of effort in. The whole thing is a learning experience.”

Negley and Lane both said that the largest challenge of the conference has been acquiring the funds to get to the conference, but that has been taken care of. Negley said he is looking forward to seeing the students share their work, and he expects to learn and improve his research and gain knowledge at the conference.

Fort, Smith, Mankoski and Thompson have been meeting with Lane and Negley and preparing their presentations to prepare for the convention. They will present their research on campus at the Academic Showcase at the end of the semester.

“It’s been a long journey,” said Smith.

Tessa Castor is a sophomore majoring in English. You may email her at tessa.castor@sckans.edu.

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