Psychology Department hosted the 46th Biannual Research Forum

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on December 12, 2019, No Comments

Photo Caption: The fall 2019 awardees of the John Kramer Science award are shown in front of their winning research poster. Pictured standing from left to right are: Erica Ward, ToniAnne Zito, and Kylie Kuhn. Missing from picture: Antonia Simmonds.

The Psychology Department at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania hosted the 46th Biannual Research Forum on December 3, 2019 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 presenter for the fall 2019 research forum was Alexis Hill, a senior from New York, N.Y. She presented research that she conducted with Dr. Eshun, titled, “Suicide Ideation: Relationship between Religious Commitment and Perceived Stress.”

During the research forum, the celebration of student excellence also includes the presentation of several 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 major with a counseling concentration who exemplifies academic excellence. The fall 2019 recipients of this award were Thomas Hunt, a senior from Layton, N.J., and Alexa Menichelli, a senior from Pittston, 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 2019 research forum, seven students were inducted into Psi Chi: Francis Bohn III, a senior from Pottstown, Pa.; Susan Costello, a senior from Hazlet, N.J.; Jennifer Guido, a junior from Bethlehem, Pa.; Christie McElwee, a senior from Hamilton Township, N.J.; Henry Ocasio, a junior from Stroudsburg, Pa.; Brianna Smith, a sophomore from Upper Darby, Pa.; and Jasmine Williams, a senior from Pennsauken, N.J.

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 2019 John Kramer Science Award for their study titled, “The Relationship between Depression and Parental Attachment,” were: Kylie Kuhn, a junior majoring in psychology and criminal justice from Levittown, Pa.; Antonia Simmonds, a junior majoring in psychology and Spanish from Bushkill, Pa.; Erica Ward, a senior majoring in applied mathematics and computer science from North Brunswick, N.J.; and ToniAnne Zito, a sophomore majoring in psychology from Stroudsburg, Pa.

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