Three Niagara University students presented their research at the 90th meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, which was held Feb. 29-March 2 in New York City. Nearly 3,000 psychologists and students from all fields across the discipline attend this meeting each year, where the latest advances in professional and scientific work is presented.
Sophomore psychology majors Jaclyn Foulis, from Pendleton, N.Y., and Anna Mundy, from Lewiston, N.Y., discussed their findings on “Predicting Freshman Drinking Consequences: A Study of Student and Parent Alcohol Beliefs,” while Lauren Hearn, a senior psychology major from Buffalo, N.Y., presented what she discovered in researching “College Alcohol Beliefs and Drinking Consequences: A Conditional Process Analysis.” The students co-authored their projects with psychology professor Dr. Timothy Osberg, who has taken groups of students to this conference for more than 30 years. Two students in Niagara University’s gerontology program also attended the meeting.
“Attending this conference exposes our students to research—what’s being performed at Niagara and in the larger field—and gives them an opportunity to present to others,” Osberg said, adding that students benefit from seeing both seasoned researchers and students like themselves, who are just starting out in research.
“Research experience is always great to have when you’re going into the psychology field,” said Hearn, pictured above with Dr. Osberg. “By conducting my own research, I have a better understanding of all aspects of research and statistical methods, which will be helpful in a future career in psychology. Conducting research can be more informative than sitting through a lecture, because it gives the student hands-on experience. This experience leads them to a deeper understanding of research and psychology in general. Plus, getting to present your research at a national psychological convention is a wonderful experience. It allows you to connect with other students and learn about different topics within psychology while getting to present your own work.”
Foulis agreed. “It was an eye-opening experience to be in a big conference with others who share similar interests as me and are genuinely interested in my research,” she said. “It was kind of intimidating at first, but after a while, I definitely felt like I belonged where I was.” She added that she appreciated the suggestions and insights others offered on her project and the opportunity to do the same for them. “I felt like a peer,” she said.
Another advantage of attending the conference is that students can see what other career options, like research, are available to them, Osberg noted.
“Presenting at EPA helped me direct my focus on my future studies,” Mundy said. “Going to EPA and seeing everyone’s research and hearing different presentations made me realize there are so many different directions I could go with my future studies and career. This was my first experience in an environment where so many people were excited about research, and it showed me that there are many people out there who are interested in learning about the same things as me. Going to New York City for the first time also made me think about all the different places my future studies and career could take me.”