WSU psychology spotlights undergraduate research

The WSU Department of Psychology Undergraduate Research Symposium will be held Thursday, April 20 in the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education.

Sixteen posters showcasing undergraduate research projects will be available for viewing in the CUE Atrium from 1:30-5 p.m. Dr. Rand Walker, clinical services director of the Center on Disabilities and Human Development in Moscow, Idaho, will present, “The Real Scoop on the Role of Research in Clinical Psychology,” at 2:30 p.m. in CUE 419. Walker will talk about his clinical work with children and the role research plays in clinical practice.

“It is a tremendous asset to have, in close proximity, a clinical psychologist with Rand Walker’s publication record and stature,” said Samantha Swindell, research associate in psychology and symposium director.

Undergraduate grant recipients will be recognized following Walker’s presentation, and presenters will be available to discuss their research projects and answer questions. Research studies funded through grants include:

* “The sharing of codes between actions stored in memory and actions requiring immediate execution,” by Ryan McMeans, Lisa Fournier and Matthew Wiediger

* “The effect of counterfactual information on a jury’s deliberation,” by Matthew Emerson and Craig Parks

* “Effects of matching participants and facilitators by gender in harm reduction outreaches,” by Heather Johnson and Emily Milburn

* “The effects of aggressive personalities on the team halo effect,” by Raelynn Wheeler and Craig Parks

* “Examination of tanning bed use for moderating factors: risk perception, health behaviors, and social and individual factors,” by Jennifer Nelson, Heidi Hamann and John Ruiz.

The formal poster session will continue from 4-5 p.m. in the CUE Atrium. All events are open to the public.

Psychology students from the Pullman and Tri-Cities campuses are taking part. Five of the student researchers are winners of departmental undergraduate research grants. Raelynn Wheeler, a psychology major from Forks, Wash., is a graduating senior and one of those who received a grant to conduct research. Wheeler, who has received a full tuition waiver and research assistantship at the University of Oklahoma experimental psychology graduate program, says research such as this is vital to graduate school applicants.

“Designing your own project looks really good on graduate applications,” she said. “It also gives you a jump on other students in graduate school who may not have this experience.”

Ryan William McMeans of Selah, Wash., is also a senior psychology major and a research grant winner. He agrees that research is an important part of the undergraduate experience.

“Partaking in research for three years now I have had an opportunity to work with several world-famous faculty and professors,” McMeans said. McMeans plans to complete a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with an emphasis in psychophysiology and adult psychopathology.

“It is very exciting to see this level of student engagement and one-on-one faculty mentoring,” said Swindell. “This event is a great way to highlight our undergraduates and the caliber of work they are producing as researchers. It’s also an opportunity to draw attention to the faculty members that make this event possible through their commitment to mentoring and teaching.”