Psychology Department Hosts 45th Biannual Research Forum

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on May 31, 2019, No Comments

The psychology department at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania hosted the 45th Biannual Research Forum on April 30, 2019 in the Niedbala Auditorium of the Hoeffner Science and Technology Center. The Research Forum was started over twenty 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 since 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 oral 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 spring 2019 Research Forum were Benjamin Cuff, a sophomore psychology major from Bangor, Pa.; Christopher Galanti, from Conshohocken, Pa., who recently earned his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology; and Stephanie Hawk, a junior psychology major from Allentown, Pa. They presented research that they conducted with Bonnie Green, Ph.D., professor of psychology, titled, “Oppositional Mindset.”

Two awards are presented annually at the spring Research Forum. The Evelyn and Valerie M. Hodge scholarship, which was named for former vice president of student affairs Val Hodge and her mother, promotes the principles and ideals they espoused, including compassion and service. Recipients of this award have met specific academic criteria and have demonstrated active participation and service in student organizations. The 2019 recipients of this award were Stephanie Hawk, a senior majoring in psychology from Allentown, Pa.; Thomas Hunt, a senior majoring in psychology from Layton, N.J.; and Heather Zeifert, a junior psychology major from Byram Township, N.J. The John Kramer Service award, given in memory of former student, John Kramer, who graduated from the ESU psychology program in 2002, recognizes a psychology major who demonstrates exemplary service to the university, department, and community, taking into account community volunteer work and participation in student organizations. The 2019 recipient of the John Kramer Service Award was Raquel Sosa, a 2019 graduate who earned a degree in psychology from Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

As the day’s celebration of student excellence continued, 10 undergraduate students were inducted into Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology. The new inductees are: Maria Lorena Cosme, a senior majoring in psychology and English from Hawley, Pa.; Liam Cunningham, a junior majoring psychology from Hawley, Pa.; Aliyah Dean, a junior majoring in psychology from Nazareth, Pa.; Emily Farrington, a junior majoring in psychology from Toms River, N.J.; Stephanie Hawk; Jayne Hughes, a senior majoring in psychology from North Wales, Pa.; Thomas Hunt; Quinn Marsola, a 2019 graduate who earned a degree in psychology from Dallas, Pa.; Samantha Pratts, a senior majoring in psychology and biology from Stroudsburg, Pa.; and Heather Zeifert.

Psi Chi holds the distinction of being the largest student psychological organization in the world, having over 700,000 members. Psi Chi’s mission is to promote excellence in scholarship and to advance the science of psychology. The ESU chapter was founded in 1980 and since that time, hundreds of students have become members of this prestigious organization. The ESU Chapter of Psi Chi, 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 of value 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

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, also given in memory of John Kramer, recognizes the most outstanding student research poster submission of the Forum. The awardees of the spring 2019 John Kramer Science Award for their study titled, “The Perception and Impact of Women’s Roles in Filipino Society, Culture, and Life” were: Brooke Carhart, a junior majoring in psychology from Saylorsburg, Pa.; Kimberly Cohen, a junior majoring in psychology from East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Kory Geiger, a junior majoring in psychology from Pen Argyl, Pa.; Badirah Harper, a sophomore majoring in psychology from Philadelphia, Pa.; Itana Heffernan, a senior majoring in psychology from East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Thomas Hunt; and Emma Vankirk, a senior majoring in psychology from Sparta, N.J.

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