Asbury Psychology Students Win at State Conference – Asbury University
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Asbury Psychology Students Win at State Conference

April 25, 2018

Alyssa Martin ’18 and Bethany Engler ‘18 presented their research at the Spring Academic Conference of the Kentucky Psychological Foundation. The conference was held at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky. on April 7.

The poster competition featured 32 students from eight colleges and universities from across Kentucky.

Martin presented on “The Mediating Role of Shame in the Relationship Between Thoughts about God and Mental Health.” For her presentation, Martin won the first place Ernest Myer Undergraduate Award. Martin is the second Asbury student to win first place at the conference, following James Austin Scott ‘14, who won in 2014 when Asbury hosted the event.

“Winning first place was an extremely humbling and surreal experience,” Martin said. “My research pertains to how we view God and how that influences the shame in our lives. To me, this is a very meaningful topic and the results say a lot about Asbury and other Christian communities. Therefore, it means a lot that the meaningfulness of this research can be seen by the broader psychology community of Kentucky.”

Martin’s research sought to demonstrate the relationship between perceptions of God, shame and mental health. Martin worked with 82 undergraduate students and found that her results supported the hypothesis.

“The psychology department at Asbury University has provided me with a tremendous amount of resources, encouragement and personal growth,” Martin said. “I would not be where I am today without the department and faculty members. Therefore, it was an amazing experience to be able to show the great work that Asbury is doing to other psychology departments across Kentucky.”

Engler presented on “Attitudes Toward Persons with Disabilities.” In her research, Engler found an interaction between religiosity and positive attitudes towards people with disabilities.

Dr. Janet Dean was impressed with the Asbury presentations at the conference, especially with an Asbury student taking home first place.

“I had two reactions,” Dean said. “One was surprise. We have a smaller lab with less funding than many of the psychology labs in larger state universities. On the other hand, our students do really good work, and they know their research very well. I was humbled and excited that this was seen and acknowledged by the conference judges. We are proud of both Alyssa and Bethany for their outstanding work this year.”

Dean and Dr. Paul Nesselroade also gave a talk on the scientific method and its strengths and weaknesses entitled, “Psyched about science…within reason.”

Prior to the conference, students who present their findings complete a research practicum with supervision from Dean or another psychology professor.

“These are students who did well in the required research course in psychology and are able to work independently under ‘graduate school-like’ supervision,” Dean said. “To present at the KPA SAC, their projects have to be of high quality and rigor and completed on time. Students then submit this work to the Kentucky Psychological Foundation for acceptance as a poster presentation at the conference.”

To learn more about Asbury University’s Psychology Department, visit: