Wednesday, May 9, 2007

WC Student Researchers Win Awards at Regional Psychology Conferences

Philadelphia, PA and Ocean City, MD, May 9, 2007 — Washington College student researchers in the Department of Psychology have garnered top honors at two recent regional events.

Lindsey Riley and Allison Sullivan won the Psi Chi Regional Research Award at the 78th annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association held March 22-25 in Philadelphia.

These awards are given to students presenting the best research papers to Psi Chi sessions at regional conventions. No more than 78 awards are given annually to undergraduate and graduate students nationwide.

Riley's and Sullivan's research project, titled "What's for Dinner? Measuring the Effect of Athleticism and Depression on Healthy Eating Choices," was supervised by Dr. Jim Siemen, Professor of Psychology, as a class laboratory project for Health Psychology. Riley and Sullivan found that while there were no differences in eating choices between athletes and non-athletes, athletes endorsed lower levels of depressive symptoms, affirming that physical fitness promotes positive mental health.

Following on the heels of that WC success, six Senior Capstone Experience posters from Washington College were presented at the Maryland Psychological Association/Foundation's conference in Ocean City, Md., May 4-6. Student researchers included Allison Sullivan, Rachel Calhoun, Cara Ramsey, Christine Schott, Amy Linthicum and Jill Hopkinson.

Washington College researchers took two of the three undergraduate poster awards, with a student from Salisbury University winning third place. Dr. Lauren Littlefield, Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology, was the research supervisor for the winning projects.

Second place went to Christine Schott for her poster "Emotional Intelligence and Children with Reading Disorder." Schott found that mood and interpersonal skills were lower in children diagnosed with Reading Disorder, particularly when they were diagnosed with co-morbid ADHD.

First place went to Rachel Calhoun for an "Investigation of the Relationship between Identity Status, Feelings about the Future, Stress, Arousal and Self-Esteem." Measuring identity status in 164 college juniors and seniors, Calhoun discovered that students who had settled on their career goals endorsed lower hopelessness, higher self-esteem and higher arousal levels than those who had vague ideas about their future careers.

All students won monetary awards as well as certificates for their stellar research projects.

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