Asbury to Host Psychology Association Conference

Asbury University’s Department of Psychology will host this year’s Kentucky Psychological Association Spring Conference on March 29.

Psychology students from across Kentucky will participate in group skill-building activities, present research, network with other students, ask and answer questions about graduate schools and nominate faculty members for Outstanding Mentor awards. Additionally, the conference will offer a workshop for faculty and students called “Advocacy: Every Voice Counts.”

“We will talk about using what we know and our skills to affect the world around us, whether that be our churches, our college, our local institutions, our profession, our government, etc., for the good of others,” said Dr. Janet Dean, an assistant professor of psychology. “One could even argue that there is no point in this academic endeavor if we never engage the world. The guest speaker, Dr. Sheila Schuster, has been advocating for mental health care and the needs of Kentucky residents at the state level for years. Mental health care here is better because of her efforts. It will be an honor to present with her on Saturday.”

According to junior psychology major Devon Zweifel, Asbury students will present research on a variety of topics, including the effect horses on recognizing body language and facial expressions, environmental effects on state‐induced test anxiety, and video game social and self identities. Additionally, Asbury students will compete in the Psych Bowl, a high-energy quiz tournament for teams of undergraduate students.

Zweifel says she looks forward to presenting research with fellow Asbury students, as well as learning from other students’ work.

“We spent countless hours preparing, conducting, and analyzing research, and when it's all said and done, it is great to share our work with others,” she said. “Likewise, I love getting to see what others have researched — there are some really interesting studies out there, and sometimes the findings are pretty cool. Part of the research process is to consider future paths that might be taken following the research we have completed. And so in some ways, the research we complete now may spark an interest in research that we may consider for continued undergraduate study, or possibly graduate and doctoral work.”

Growth in research skills is about more than just academics, though. Zweifel says there is a strong correlation between vocation and mission in the field of psychology, and she hopes students will be encouraged to tap into this connection through their hands-on experience at the KPA conference.

“A mission may be fulfilled in the way of providing other psychologists with the information that can help in their practice, and may spark further research,” she said. “One person's passion and mission in research may impact countless lives in the future.”

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