ESU’s Psychology Department Hosts 44th Biannual Research Forum

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Photo Caption: The fall 2018 awardees of the John Kramer Science award are shown in front of their winning research poster. Pictured standing from left to right are: Brandi Colter, Kevin Wetklow, Kelsey Dimiceli, Naomie Pierre-Louis, Kevin Gelok, and Claire Hornik. Missing from picture: Nybria Burton.

The Psychology Department at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania hosted the 44th Biannual Research Forum on December 4, 2018 in the Niedbala Auditorium of the Hoeffner Science and Technology Center. The research forum was started over 20 years ago by Sussie Eshun, Ph.D., professor of psychology, and Richard Wesp, Ph.D., retired distinguished professor of psychology, as a venue to showcase the outstanding student research being done in the psychology department. It has steadily grown and now includes numerous research and internship posters, student research presentations, student award presentations, and honor society inductions.

The encouragement and recognition of student research are central aspects of the forum. Each semester, selected student researchers give presentations discussing their recent empirical research projects. These presentations are similar to those that would be given at a professional conference, in that the students provide detailed accounts of their hypotheses, research methods, data analysis, and conclusions. The student presenters for the fall 2018 research forum were Carissa Ceballo, a junior majoring in psychology from Staten Island, N.Y., and Sean McCann, a senior majoring in psychology from Canadensis, Pa. They presented research that they conducted with Irina Khusid, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, titled, “Does Being Religious Really Affect Your Coping Abilities?”

During the research forum, the celebration of student excellence also includes the presentation of various awards and honors, including the Drago Family Scholarship Award, the John Kramer Science Award, and student inductions into Psi Chi: The International Honor Society in Psychology. The Drago Family Scholarship Award, given by the family of Anthony Drago, Ed.D., chair and distinguished professor of psychology, is a monetary scholarship awarded each fall to a psychology counseling concentration major who exemplifies academic excellence. The fall 2018 recipient of this award was Raquel Sosa, a senior majoring in psychology from Wilkes Barre, Pa.

As the day’s celebration of student excellence continued, those psychology undergraduates who have met rigorous academic achievement standards were then formally inducted into Psi Chi, the largest student psychological organization in the world with more than 700,000 members. Psi Chi’s mission is to promote excellence in scholarship and to advance the science of psychology. The ESU Chapter of Psi Chi, founded in 1980, along with its counterpart, The Psychology Association, a general membership student organization for anyone interested in the study of psychology, sponsors many educational, charitable, and civic programs which are valuable to the professional discipline, as well as to the local community. Reneé Boburka, Ph.D., professor of psychology, and Irina Khusid, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, are the faculty advisors for these organizations. During the fall 2018 research forum, eight undergraduate students were inducted into Psi Chi: Amanda Capp, a junior majoring in psychology and criminal justice from Shippensburg, Pa.; Megan Gulevski, a senior majoring in psychology from Dover, N.J.; Stephanie Hertel, a senior majoring in psychology and criminal justice from West Babylon, N.Y.; Amanda Jackson, a sophomore majoring in biology from East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Lydia Joy Johnson, a senior majoring in psychology from Bethlehem Pa.; Christopher Woods, a senior majoring in psychology from Allentown, Pa.; and Svetlana Zakharova, a sophomore majoring in psychology from Rockville, Md. In addition, Alena Korp, from Nazareth, Pa., who recently earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, was also inducted.

After the formal student presentations, awards, and inductions were completed students and faculty reconvened on the first floor of Stroud Hall to view additional research studies presented in poster format by numerous students enrolled in various research-oriented psychology courses. Informational posters presented by students who recently completed internships were also presented. Students who prepared research posters were eligible to submit their projects for consideration of the John Kramer Science Award. This award, given in memory of former student John Kramer, who graduated from the ESU psychology program in 2002, recognizes the most outstanding student research poster submission of the Forum. The awardees of the fall 2018 John Kramer Science Award for their study titled, “Eating Habits Among First-Year Female College Students,” were: Nybria Burton, a junior majoring in psychology from Philadelphia, Pa.; Brandi Colter, a senior majoring in psychology and nursing from East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Kelsey Dimiceli, a senior majoring in psychology from Hackettstown, N.J.; Kevin Gelok, a senior majoring in psychology from Haverstraw, N.Y.; Claire Hornik, a junior majoring in psychology from Deer Park, N.Y.; Naomie Pierre-Louis, a senior majoring in psychology major from Philadelphia, Pa.; and Kevin Wetklow, a junior majoring in psychology major from Bushkill, Pa.

For more information, contact Dr. Boburka at or 570-422-3328.