Research opportunities are plentiful in the Psychology Department. Getting involved in research is a great way to gain practical experience whilst gaining professional connections and work experience. St. Mary’s students routinely partner with professors on research projects, the results of which are often published in academic journals and/or presented at professional conferences.
Faculty members have a wide range of research interests in both human and animal behavior. Areas of specialization include:
- Behavioral neuroscience
- Clinical/Counseling psychology
- Cognitive psychology
- Developmental psychology
- Social Psychology
Starting as early as their first year, students can gain valuable experience working with faculty on research projects.
Research Participation in Connection with Coursework
Introduction to Psychology students have the option of participating in research in order to fulfill the Introduction to Psychology Research Requirement. Some students have the opportunity to earn extra credit for psychology courses by participating in research.
St. Mary’s Projects
The St. Mary’s Project is a year-long, 8-credit, independently designed and executed course of study intended as a capstone experience for a student’s time at St. Mary’s, and it is a wonderful way to gain research experience. Many psychology students choose to complete an SMP that involves a hands-on, empirical research experience. An SMP in psychology is not required for the major (there are other capstone alternatives), but is highly encouraged, particularly for students planning to continue their education at the graduate level.
“I found that conducting research expanded my job opportunities and also helped me obtain a research assistant position when I attended graduate school. The SMP was particularly helpful. Even four years after graduating job interviewers still ask me about this project and are impressed by the level of initiative and depth that the SMP requires.” – Stephanie Klapper ’10
SURF (St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship)
SURF is an eight-week annual summer program at St. Mary’s, where students from a variety of disciplines delve into research topics of their own aspirations with guidance from faculty mentors. The SURF symposium held in early July culminates with the presentations of research projects to an audience of your peers and professors. Approximately 10 to 12 students participate in SURF each summer since it started in 2012. The program is selective, with a fifty-percent acceptance rate. SURF is made possible by support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in addition to a number of internal funding sources. A portion of the funds go toward a stipend for the students, as well as room and board for the eight weeks.
Funding to Support Student Research & Related Travel
There is funding available to support student research efforts, especially travel to present at conferences.
Learn about the Psychology Research Fund and the Bucknam-Glidden Fund
Student research with faculty, especially on St. Mary’s Projects, occasionally leads to publication in peer-reviewed journals, a highly prestigious accomplishment for college students.
Representative recent publications: (* = St. Mary’s students):
- *Wolf, J., Williams, E. N., *Darby, M., *Herald, J., & *Schultz, C. (in press). Just for women? Feminist multicultural therapy with male clients. Sex Roles.
- *Roberts, B.M., *Jarrin, S.E., Mathur, B.N., & Bailey, A.M. (2016). Illuminating the undergraduate behavioral neuroscience laboratory: A guide for the in vivo application of optogenetics in mammalian model organisms. The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 14 (2), A110-A15.
- Mirabile, S. P., & *Kodluboy, C. (2015). Description and validation of a teacher report version of the Self Expressiveness in the Family Questionnaire. European Journal of Developmental Psychology. 12(6), 678-687.
- Sullivan, E.M.*, & Glidden, L.M. (2014). Changing attitudes toward disabilities through Unified Sports. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 52, 367-378.
Students and faculty regularly present at regional, national, and international professional conferences. Recent conferences attended include the Society for Neuroscience, Eastern Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, and Society for Research in Child Development. Some of these students have been supported by competitive travel awards sponsored by the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the College or the Foundation.
Representative recent conference presentations:
- Williams, E. N., & *Moore, L. (2017, August). Counseling clients with chronic autoimmune diseases: A qualitative study. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.
- Foster, N. L., & *Jimenez, M. (2017, April). How do beliefs about ease of processing contribute to directed forgetting? Poster presented at the 89th Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.
- *Suzich, T., Kass, A., Orille, M., Chapman, H., & Tickle, J. J. (2017, March). Exposure to and attitudes toward virtual reality and virtual reality technology. Poster presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Boston, MA.
- Mantell, J. T., *Forrester-Fronstin, Z., McCarthy, M. K., & *Hancock, K. P. (2016, November). Vocal pitch production accuracy of steady tones and bends. Poster presented at the Psychonomic Society Annual Meeting, Boston, MA.
- Williams, E. N., & *Wolf, J. (2016, November). A qualitative study of feminist multicultural therapy with male clients. Poster presented at the North American Society for Psychotherapy Research Conference, Berkeley, CA.
- Mirabile, S. P. & Kodluboy, C. M.* (April, 2015). School-aged children’s emotion regulation strategies: Links to socioemotional and academic competence. Poster presented at the 2015 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, PA.