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Students from the psychology and neuroscience departments presented their research at a conference which included numerous presentations.
On April 21, undergraduate students from nine other colleges attended Cedar Crest for the 27th Annual LVAIC Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference and the 3rd Annual Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (LVSfN) Research Symposium. The students that participated each presented their research that they had worked on throughout the year.
After registration, the conference began with morning paper sessions. During these sessions, which were located in HBB, students presented their research in 15 minute increments. The sessions lasted from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. and were followed by poster sessions in the TCC. Participants then went to the Samuels Theatre where the keynote speaker gave her presentation.
Dr. Karyl B. Swartz, Director of the Division of AIDs, Behavioral and Population Sciences at the Center for Scientific Review, National Institues of Health, gave the keynote address on “The Dynamic Cycle of Research.” During the presentation, Dr. Swartz spoke about her research on orangutans with Dr. Himmanen. She stressed the importance of undergrad research and the importance of collaborating with mentors. She also spoke about the review process for getting a research grant.
“The keynote speaker was very interesting and informational,” said Kenia Valdez, senior psychology major with a minor in theatre. “It was great to see the process of getting funded for large and small experiments.” Valdez presented her research on the “Effects of Priming Gender Stereotype and Equality on Female’s Hiring Decision” at the conference. Her research focused on the influence of gender stereotypes when females are doing the hiring.
Laurian Della, a junior psychology and art therapy major, presented her research on the relationship between sleep deprivation and odor detection thresholds in rats during the morning session. Working with Dr. Himmanen, the idea was formed in early September but training the rats started in early January and took three months to complete.
“The research process itself is challenging in that it requires you to think abstractly, but is extremely rewarding in that it allows you to approach a theoretical question or hypothesis from numerous perspectives,” said Della.
After a break for lunch, the afternoon continued with an afternoon poster session as well as more presentations. The day concluded with a presentation from alumni speaker Dr. Candice Klingerman. Klingerman’s presentation was entitled “Food or Sex? With These Fantastic Choices, How Does One Decide?” and focused on gerbils and their choice between food and sex.
Included with the Psychology Research Conference was the 3rd Annual Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (LFSfN) Research Symposium. This part of the program was sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Dr. Audrey Ettinger, was one of the coordinators of the event, along with Dr. Himmanen and Dr. Scepansky.
“There was a lot of logistics. Between the two conferences, we had almost 200 guests on campus. Thinking about the practical aspects of getting everybody in the right locations at the right time and properly fed was not exciting work but hard work and we had wonderful support from dining services on arranging that and the facilities folk in setting everything up,” said Ettinger. “Other than that deciding how to organize the posters and talks in a meaningful way was challenging.”
During this conference, the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience was recognized for winning the Chapter of the Year Award last year. According to Ettinger, the Chapter was recognized because of “these research conferences and the outreach work that we have done at the seminars we have hosted.” Without having to apply and only submitting an end of the year report, the Chapter won the Chapter of the Year Award.
“The experience of doing undergraduate research was amazing and invaluable. Students should take advantage that this opportunity is being offered,” said Valdez.