The first annual tri-collegiate psychology student research symposium was held on April 23 at The College of Saint Elizabeth. Its purpose was to provide a forum to showcase the research being done by psychology students in neighboring colleges, graduate programs and even high schools.
The psychology departments of The College of Saint Elizabeth, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Drew University were congratulated for working together to make this event possible.
The co-coordinators for the event were Dr. Herman Huber and student Melanie Conti of The College of Saint Elizabeth, Dr. Yolanda Hawkins-Rodgers and student Joe Simons of FDU, and Dr. Patrick Dolan and student Barbara Coe of Drew University.
After the welcoming announcements, Dr. Patricia Heindel from Saint Elizabeth’s introduced a recent movement in the field of psychology that has been leaning towards a global perspective, called International Psychology.
Heindel explained, with the help of her PowerPoint presentation, that there is a “national call for internationalizing higher education. There is recognition that American students have very little knowledge of geography, have an egocentric view of the world, and need a more global understanding of issues and events given the global society in which we live.”
With that in mind, a project was created in 2005 called the APA Working Group Position Paper, for the purpose of exploring how psychology is being used in other countries. Some of the learning goals of this project were for students to “gain psychological knowledge in international perspective, understand methodological issues in international research and gain international research competence, and understand how psychology can be applied to and help solve global issues.”
As a result, there have been a growing number of resources and organizations for International Psychology, such as the International Teaching of Psychology Network (ITOP), the APA Office of International Affairs and the Internationalizing Psychology Curriculum Clearinghouse (IPCC).
However, there are still some psychology textbooks that reveal little to no international content, and students still have little to no exposure to psychology in other countries. In order to contribute to international psychology, Saint Elizabeth’s has made the following attempts. The first is having students take an undergraduate general psychology course assignment called The Internationalization of Psychology Oral Presentation Project.
Some of the student feedback from this course included: “The project was useful in teaching us about psychology in countries” and “The project was an interesting learning experience.” The second attempt, which is still underway, is to sponsor a service learning trip to the Dominican Republic for graduate students and faculty in the master’s program in counseling psychology.
College of Saint Elizabeth graduate assistant Elizabeth Cruikshank said, “Because of the education the students received on how to do research, I feel the project is invaluable to their overall educational experience.”
Ending the symposium was the poster sessions and awards ceremony.
Participants in the symposium came from The College of Saint Elizabeth, FDU, Drew, The College of New Jersey, The Science Academy at Morristown High School, Woodbridge High School, Hudson County Community College, the University of Pennsylvania Psychology Department, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technology, and the Brain Behavior Laboratory from the Department of Neuropsychiatry of University of Pennsylvania Hospital.
Those who presented the best poster projects were awarded cash prizes of $150 for first place, $75 for second place, and $25 for third place, by a panel of faculty and graduate student judges from The College of Saint Elizabeth, FDU and Drew.
The poster projects were judged on factors such as most original research, most important to the field, best presentation, and best experimental method and analysis.
Third place winner was Naomi Bocarsly of Drew, with her poster project on “Aging and Distinctiveness: Older Adults Demonstrate a Reverse Isolation Effect.”
Second place winner was Cheryl Skrobacz of Drew, with her poster project on “Fear-Potentiated Startle Response and the Nucleus Accumbens.”
The first place winner was Marc Lindner of FDU, with his poster project on “Molecular Dynamic Simulations of Mu-Opioid Receptors and an Irreversible Opioid Antagonist Beta-Funaltrexamine.”
Dr. Daniel Calcagnetti was the inspiration for his poster project and a co-author, but the project was funded in its entirety by the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science. Dr. Gloria Anderle was Marc’s main research mentor and had worked with Marc beginning in the summer of 2008 and throughout the 2008-09 academic year.
Future tri-collegiate symposia will be rotated among The College of Saint Elizabeth, FDU and Drew.
**Editor’s Note - Dr. Gloria Anderle, assistant professor of chemistry at the College at Florham, was co-project mentor along with Dr. Daniel Calcagnetti for Marc Lindner’s project.**