Dr. Wes Jordan with Stephania D'Abrosio, Nicole DeAngeli, Michelle Klima, and Heather Pribut.

SMP Spotlight

48 students completed an SMP in psychology in AY13-14. Congratulations to them all!

At the end of each year, mentors select particularly outstanding SMPs to be featured in our PsycSMP Showcase. 13-14 Showcase projects were written by Stephania D'Ambrosio, Nicole DeAngeli, Allison Herrington, Michelle Klima, Meshan Lehmann, Heather Pribut, and Ciara Willett.

+ VIEW Showcase Project Details

Ali Herrington '14 presents her SMP

What kinds of research have our SMP students done?

  • When Love Hurts: The Development of A Domestic Violence Intervention in the Immigrant Hispanic Community
  • Strategic Self-Presentation and Sexuality in Gay, Straight, and Bisexual Online Dating Profiles
  • The Effect of Emotion on Memory
  • Modeling Impaired Decision Making: Impulsivity and Risk Taking in the Neonatal Ventral Hippocampal Rat Model of Schizophrenia
  • Talking to Children about Death and Dying: Communication in Families Facing Pediatric Cancer

Check out the database of past PsycSMP abstracts


St. Mary's Projects

The eight credit project, which may take many forms, draws on and extends knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. With the approval of the department, majors may complete eight semester hours of the St. Mary’s Project in any discipline or cross-disciplinary study area. The project is supervised by a faculty mentor, appointed by the department chair.

The College has established certain guidelines for the SMP:

  • It must be student-initiated;
  • It must demonstrate methodological competence (by identifying an area to be explored and proposing a method of inquiry appropriate for the topic);
  • It must draw on and extend knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. It must include a reflection on the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which the project is a contribution;
  • It must be shared with the larger community through some form of public presentation.

Students usually work on their SMP throughout their senior year; in certain circumstances, however, you may choose to begin your project in your junior year, and finish it a term before you graduate. By the middle of your junior year, you should have given serious thought to whether or not you want to do an SMP. Talk to students a year or two ahead of yourself, both in Psychology and in other disciplines, about their projects-or decisions not to pursue one. Talk to faculty you may be interested in working with. Look at our SMP Showcase and browse through the numerous topics and abstracts listed in our index of past projects. Attend SMP Presentation Days when they are held.  Think about possible topics-what you might wish to spend this much time studying, and about whether the SMP is the right choice for you.

Alumni have indicated that their PsycSMP was a positive learning experience and was especially helpful in preparing them for grad school (most especially for those who did empirical projects). 

For more details on the SMP, read through our tips for getting started on your Psychology SMP and the College's general web page on the SMP. Students interested in completing an SMP in Psychology must submit a PsycSMP Declaration of Intent Form to SMP Coordinator, Angie Draheim, during the advising period prior to starting an SMP.

Note: Psychology majors are not required to complete an SMP. Instead, they may opt to complete an Alternative Capstone Experience.