Barry McNamara  |   Published November 24, 2021

Students Get a Boost at Psychology Conference

Students learn a lot from presenting their research, observing at Tri-State Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
  • Monmouth College psychology professors Carolyn Liesen, far left, and Sydney Greenwalt, far right, took seven Monmouth students to the Tri-State Undergraduate Psychology Conference, held earlier this month in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. From left: Liesen, Abigail Schaeffer ’24, Hannah Jones ’22, Kaid Landon ’24, Ivair Pacheco ’23, Samantha Weidman ’22, Hannah Rossmiller ’23, Michaela Jelenova and Greenwalt.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Learning and fun can go hand in hand.

That was the case for the seven Monmouth College students who attended the 30th-annual Tri-State Undergraduate Psychology Conference, held earlier this month in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Psychology professors Sydney Greenwalt and Carolyn Liesen led the trip to the event, hosted by Coe College, where three of the students presented their research projects.

“What they got to do was experience a conference specifically targeted for undergraduates,” said Liesen. “Conferences are huge in our field. Our students were able to present research to others in our field. Experiencing something like that in an environment with other undergraduates made it not completely overwhelming.”

One of the presenters was Samantha Wiedman ’22 of Monmouth.

“Not only was I given the opportunity to teach other people about my study, but I was able to learn from the research of other undergraduates,” she said. “I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity, and discussing my own research with others gave me ideas for research to do in the future.”

Weidman’s research is titled “Attachment Styles and Psychological Well-Being.” After she graduates in May, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work and become a school social worker.

“Oftentimes, conferences give students an idea of the type of research they can be doing,” said Greenwalt. “Conferences can inspire them and reinvigorate them.”

“Not only was I given the opportunity to teach other people about my study, but I was able to learn from the research of other undergraduates. I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity, and discussing my own research with others gave me ideas for research to do in the future.”
– Samantha Wiedman ’22 

Hannah Jones ’22 of Davenport, Iowa, said that was the case for her.

“The students and faculty I presented to gave me some interesting ideas on how to continue my research relating to my empirical study,” she said. The title of her research study is “Effects of Emotional Stress on Episodic Memory Accuracy.”

The other presenter was Ivair Pacheco ’23 of Chicago.

“For our students who didn’t present, this gave them an idea of what that experience would be like,” said Liesen. “They’ll be at that point in a couple of years, so the conference gave them an understanding of how they might present their research when their time comes.”

Those students included Michaela Jelenova of the Czech Republic, Kaid Landon ’24 of Beloit, Wisconsin, Hannah Rossmiller ’23 of East Moline, Illinois, and Abigail Schaeffer ’24 of Monmouth.

The conference included other information that was valuable to the students, said Greenwalt.

“The panel presentations gave students an idea of what types of psychology research programs are available to them after Monmouth,” she said.

“I thought the conference was an extremely rewarding experience,” said Jones, who plans to attend graduate school with the goal of a career in clinical neuropsychology. “I was able to network with current Ph.D. students and get advice on how to tackle the application process.”

In April, Monmouth will host the ILLOWA Undergraduate Psychology Conference. A regular participant of the regional event, Monmouth last hosted the conference in 2017.

“Both of these conferences provide so many opportunities for our students,” said Liesen, who said the road trip to Iowa provided another benefit, as well. “This was a really good group bonding experience.”

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