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Psychology News

Keyword: research

During the Spring 2020 semester, Psychology Junior Angel Longus applied for the highly competitive summer research program offered by the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program of the National Science Foundation. Angel was selected to intern at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) together with five other undergraduate students. Because of COVID-19, Angel completed the program remotely. Below is an interview that we had with Angel.

Angel Longus 1 

What projects did you work on during this program?

I was involved in multiple projects, such as Talking College and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP). I also conducted my own research project. I worked with graduate student DeAndre Miles-Hercules from the Department of Linguistics at UCSB.

That sounds fascinating! Could you tell me more about your research project?

Titled “Searching the Silences: Black Discourse on Mental Health," my project aims to examine the Black community's tendency to dismiss or minimize issues related to mental illnesses. I interviewed several family members and friends, and then analyzed their interviews to explore the major themes. This project was especially important because the Black community is at a greater risk of mental health concerns. Oftentimes, this goes back to the lack of access to mental health care, prejudice and racism inherent in the daily lives of Black individuals, and the historical trauma enacted on the Black community by the medical field. I presented the results of my project at the Annual Advancing African American Linguistics Symposium. This symposium hosted webinars on the professional experiences of African American linguists including publication, tenure, promotion, and strengthening the network of scholars who study African American language, literacy, and culture.

Congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment! Could you tell me about the SLP project you mentioned earlier?

Sure! For this project, I was responsible for interviewing several speech-language pathologists to see how race has played a part in their careers. I analyzed the data and presented my work titled "Understanding the Experiences of Black Speech-Language Pathologists Across the Professional Trajectory" at the same Symposium.

Do you have any suggestions for students who are interested in applying to this research program? 

I would say check out UCSB HBCU program. I have learned so much during this summer and would highly recommend students to check this website out. I am also sure that there will be similar programs offered in the future so always keep an eye out!

During the Spring 2020 semester, Psychology Senior Lauren Wright applied for the competitive summer research program offered by the National Science Foundation. Lauren's application was accepted and was offered to work at Purdue University as well as University of Texas at Austin, which are both top research institutes in our country. 

Lauren Wright

Lauren Wright

Although both opportunities ended up being cancelled because of COVID-19, Lauren continued to stay in touch with the researchers of the two programs and was accepted by both of these schools' graduate programs. In order to be best prepared for these amazing opportunities, Lauren took the time to learn more about research and eventually got connected with Dr. Frank Worrell of University of California, Berkeley. Following their conversation, Lauren was even offered a chance to be mentored by Dr. Worrell in grad school. This is simply amazing!

What can fellow students learn from Lauren's story? First, it is interesting to see how one opportunity often leads to other opportunities. For Lauren, these opportunities came about because of her decision to apply for the research opportunity at National Science Foundation. Second, always be prepared and do not be afraid to reach out to others. It is through these conversations with the researchers that Lauren gets to introduce herself and learn about their work.

It is important to note that Lauren is working very hard during her undergraduate career at Stevenson. Besides keeping an outstanding GPA and research record, Lauren is going into her second year serving as a Teaching Support for Dr. Spada’s Writing for Psychology course. Overall, Lauren has been incredibly grateful for all the experiences, opportunities, and guidance she has gained from working with the Psychology department at Stevenson University.

On Feburary 28, 2020, Stevenson University hosted its annual Paul D. Lack Scholars’ Showcase. Among the students from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology Senior E’Lashia Pinkard was selected to present her poster on “Confronting Microaggressions: The role of race and authority.”

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E'Lashia Pinkard ('20 Psychology)

“This work was based on my Senior Research Thesis for PSY 470,” explained E’Lashia. “I chose this topic because I have always been interested in understanding more about microaggressions. This is a great topic to explore and I am excited to help build awareness on microaggressions among my fellow students.”

Using Stevenson University students as her participants, E’Lashia collected survey data on how her participants reacted to microaggressions and confrontations. She also measured the authority level of the microaggressor as well as the race of the confronter. Her results revealed that African Americans were more willing to confront microaggressors, had more positive attitudes about the use of confrontation, saw confrontation to be more acceptable, agreed that people should speak up more, and found microaggressors to be more insensitive compared to Caucasian Americans. These race differences were interesting and future research should take other factors, such as the severity of microaggression and the influence of upbringing, community closeness, and cultural sensitivity into account.

We thank E’Lashia for her wonderful work, and congratulations again for being chosen to present at the 2020 Paul D. Lack Scholars’ Showcase!

Congratulations to Angel Longus (’22 Psychology) for getting accepted into the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program. Angel will be involved in the “Talking college: Increasing diversity in the linguistic sciences through research on language and social mobility” project and will “receive training in linguistics, preparation for graduate school, and experience in conducting original research that extends their understanding of African-American language, culture, and community.”

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We are all very excited for you Angel!

Is the accused innocent or guilty? Are the witnesses trustworthy? What factors contribute to wrongful convictions? These are all important questions that have tremendous implications for not only individuals, but the society as a whole. Although students may think that Psychology and Law are two totally separate fields, the ongoing research projects conducted by Dr. Metzger and his research assistants are telling us otherwise.

Dr. Metzger 2019

Dr. Richard Metzger

To our surprise, it turns out that Psychology and Law are closely related. Trained in cognitive psychology, Dr. Metzger is leading his research assistants on a few projects that highlight the complex interplay between psychological factors and law. In one project, Dr. Metzger and his team are investigating the extent to which the presence of a cell phone during a crime may affect a witness’s ability to identify the perpetrator. In another project, they are carefully examining factors that may influence the number of appeals as well as the number of cases when people were falsely accused.

Dr. Metzger and students

Dr. Metzger and some of his research assistants: Danielle Gershman, Bryce Merkt, and Cole Simmons

Under Dr. Metzger’s guidance, Hanne Wilburn (’19 Psychology), Danielle Gershman (’19 Psychology), and Becky Staller ('20 Psychology) presented their poster titled “The mere presence effect 1: Changes in the operation span as a result of phone condition” at the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) and received the Psi Chi Regional Research Award for this outstanding poster presentation.

Hanne Wilburn poster

Congratulations to Hanne Wilburn!

Dr. Metzger’s research assistants all have so much to say about their experience working with him. For example, Cole Simmons says that Dr. Metzger is an outstanding mentor and is fair and understanding. He always encourages students to share their own thoughts and ideas. For Dr. Metzger, he is delighted that all of his research assistants have stepped up, gotten more involved, and thought deeply about how to use their research experience for their future endeavors.

Interested in learning more about Dr. Metzger’s Psych & Law Research Team? Email him at rmetzger@stevenson.edu

Written by: Semira Nock

 
 
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