Psychology Department Hosts 49th Biannual Research Forum

Psychology Department Research Forum

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on May 9, 2023, No Comments

The psychology department at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania hosted the 49th Biannual Research Forum on April 25, 2023 in Stroud Hall. 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 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 two student presenters for the spring 2023 Research Forum were Samiyah Bonds, a senior psychology major from Edison, N.J., who presented research conducted with Reneé Boburka, Ph.D., professor of psychology, titled, “The Effects of Racial Identity on Education,” and Keeley Staples, a junior psychology major from Stroudsburg, Pa., who presented research conducted with Jyh Hann Chang, Ph.D., professor of psychology, titled, “The Correlation Between Compassion, Anxiety, and Depression.”

During the Research Forum, the celebration of student excellence also included the presentation of various awards and honors, including the Evelyn and Valerie M. Hodge Scholarship Award, the John Kramer Service Award, the John Kramer Science Award, and student inductions into Psi Chi: The International Honor Society in Psychology. The scholarship award given in memory Evelyn and Valerie M. Hodge honors the lives of and promotes the principles and ideals these two individuals espoused, including compassion and service. Recipients of this award need to have met specific academic criteria and to have demonstrated active participation and service in student organizations. The 2023 recipient of this award was Meghan Guarino, a junior psychology major from Olyphant, Pa. 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 2023 recipient of the John Kramer Service Award was Savannah Kohler, a senior psychology major from West Grove, 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 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. Irina Khusid, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, and Deena Dailey, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, are the faculty advisors for these organizations. During the spring 2023 Research Forum, 11 undergraduate students majoring in psychology were inducted into Psi Chi: Madison Biechy, a senior from Northampton, Pa.; Julia DeVito-Rych, a junior from Bangor, Pa.; Rachael Findlay, a senior from Dingmans Ferry, Pa.; Ashley Graff, a junior from Lansdale, Pa.; Grace Logan, a junior from São Paulo, Brazil; Bianca Lorusso, a senior from East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Madison Marhefka, a sophomore from Endwell, N.Y.; Emma Maritz, a junior from Whitehouse Station, N.J.; Madison McAllister, a senior from Nazareth, Pa.; Isaiah Sampson, a sophomore from Mount Pocono, Pa.; and Keeley Staples.

After the formal student presentations, awards, and inductions were completed, students and faculty viewed additional research studies presented in poster format by students enrolled in various research-oriented psychology courses, and informational posters presented by students who recently completed internships. Any 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 2023 John Kramer Science Award, for their study titled, “Alcohol Consumption in College Students” were: Ashley Graff; Emily Hayden, a senior psychology major from Dingmans Ferry, Pa.; Madison Marhefka; and James Owens, a junior psychology major from Northampton, Pa.

For more information, contact Dr. Anthony Drago, chair of the Psychology Department, at