Award winning student research at VAPS conference


 

SUMMARY: This past April undergraduate research teams from psychology research laboratories traveled to Norfolk, VA to share their work at the Virginia Association for Psychological Science (VAPS) annual conference.


By: Colleen Johnson
Department of Psychology

VAPS

This past April undergraduate research teams from psychology research laboratories traveled to Norfolk, VA to share their work at the Virginia Association for Psychological Science (VAPS)  annual conference. JMU Department of Psychology student-faculty research teams won both the Best Paper and Best Poster awards for undergraduate research at the conference.  

VAPS Student Paper and Poster Awards

Undergraduate Paper: 
Colette Gaeta, Briana Craig
Using Personalized Normative Feedback to Reduce Texting While Driving Behavior.
Faculty Advisors: Natalie Kerr Lawrence and Jessica Irons.

Undergraduate Poster: 
Jamie Fishman & Zahia Almajali.
Impatience and risk as related to fertility. 
Faculty Advisor: Daniel Holt

The students prepared for the conference by practicing their delivery with their research teams, faculty mentors, and other students who were unfamiliar with the research to improve their presentation clarity. The students rehearsed their delivery in the weeks leading up to the conference, but Briana Craig felt that “the true defining moment was when Colette and I were sitting in the hallways of the hotel at 11:30 pm, timing ourselves and giving each other feedback in preparation for the 9:00 am talk.” The students’ motivation to represent their work in a polished fashion clearly influenced the judges at the conference.

The department faculty believe that assisting students to attend conferences through the small grant program provides an invaluable opportunity for their professional enhancement. We asked the students about how these particular projects and presentations gave them the chance to develop their skills. Jaime Fishman noted the creation of a well-crafted poster and practicing public speaking were particularly salient. They will be useful as she intends to apply to research focused graduate programs next year. In the process of creating their paper Collete Gaeta felt she “learned to look at experimental design with a much more critical eye” creating an opportunity for her to apply previous methodology coursework to her research interests. Briana’s take away from the experience of delivering her first conference talk was the art of anticipating questions from the audience, thinking about her research from the outside perspective, and gaining confidence in her ability to explain their research in depth.

VAPS

Dr. Holt was attending VAPS for the first time, and noted that he was “pleasantly surprised by both the number and quality of student posters and presentations.” Dr. Kerr Lawrence added that her students, “were two of the best research students I’ve ever worked with.” The department applauds the hard work of research students like Colette, Briana, Jaime, and Zahia and hopes that their experience will inspire future students across the various psychology labs of JMU.

These projects were supported, in part, by research grants from the Department of Psychology and the College of Health and Behavioral Studies.

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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