Southeast’s Student Research Conference Fosters Undergraduate Research

Dr. Drew Appleby

Dr. Drew Appleby

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 18, 2016 – Southeast Missouri State University senior Christina Thomas hopes to shed some light on the ways in which far-reaching technology advancements have impacted workplaces everywhere when she and a group of fellow students present their findings at Southeast Missouri State University’s 24th annual Student Research Conference (SRC) April 20-21 on campus.

A senior psychology major in child development from Memphis, Tennessee, Christina Thomas is looking forward to presenting something she finds interesting and getting her peers passionate about it too.

“I think the conference is a great way to get out information, especially with my topic,” said Thomas, who with four of her fellow students will give at 15-minute presentation on technology and its impact in education, the workforce and business. “It’s important for the students to see how the world is changing and to still be an active participant in it.”

Their project was part of a research-based course requirement and the Center for Strategic and International Studies seminar in Washington, D.C. Thomas, whose father works in the technology industry, sees how technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives.

“I wanted to address how technology affects the workforce, the positives and the negatives,” said Thomas. “That’s the society we live in today and people don’t realize the impact technology has on our lives.”

Thomas is among more than 100 students who will present 68 research projects at the annual Student Research Conference (SRC) that runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for both days in the University Center Ballroom A and B.

The SRC encourages research by undergraduate and graduate students in all disciplines and provides a setting for students to present their work in a professional manner. The SRC will feature empirical and theoretical papers as poster or 15-minute oral presentations. Research can be independent, part of a course or as a team collaboration, but must be sponsored by a Southeast faculty member.

“The biggest priority of the conference is to give students the opportunity of experience,” said Dr. Scott Brandhorst, instructor of psychology at Southeast. “A part of doing research is about sharing and the conference gives them an avenue to present their research to others.”

Having professional presenting skills is important for students, whether it’s for an undergraduate or graduate class requirement or employment opportunities. The SRC provides a safe place for students in any field of study to present their work to fellow students and colleagues, said Brandhorst.

This is Cassandra Mick’s second year participating in the conference, and she relished the opportunity it affords her to hone her professional presenting skills.

“Research is a requirement for graduate school and my field of study and employment,” said Mick, a junior psychology major in child development from Nashville, Tennessee. “Here I gain the experience of presenting and explaining all the details and research from beginning to end in a small amount of time.”

Mick is presenting three separate projects, one on her own and two as part of a team. She hopes to become a clinical psychologist and knows the experiences she takes advantage of at Southeast will benefit her later when defending her doctoral thesis.

The SRC can also inspire students to learn about how to do their own research projects and take their education to the next level, said Laura Delgado, instructor of psychology at Southeast.

“This is a part of education besides sitting in a classroom,” said Delgado. “The conference exposes students to other disciplines and to learn about something they might not have in the classroom.”

This year’s SRC keynote speaker is Dr. Drew Appleby, professor emeritus of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He will discuss the value of undergraduate research for students entering employment.

When selecting each year’s keynote speaker, they look for someone who gets undergraduate students interested in and excited about research, said Delgado.

“He’s had the expertise and passion to get students involved in research and the importance of conducting research,” said Brandhorst. “He shows them the bigger picture of how their research is making an impact on their studies and lives.”

The Student Research Conference is sponsored by the Department of Psychology, Psi Chi Honor Society for Psychology and the Psychology Club. The Student Research Conference is financially supported by a grant from Funding for Results, as well as by a gift from Phi Kappa Phi to support the students who win a Research Presentation Award.

For more information about Southeast’s Student Research Conference as well as the event program, visit http://www.semo.edu/src/.