Southeast Students Hone Job Skills at 24th Annual Research Conference


Devante ChapmanCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 21, 2016 – Conflicts in the workplace are the root of millions of dollars in business losses every year, according to a Southeast Missouri State University student who presented the results of his research April 20 at the 24th Annual Southeast Student Research Conference.

Devante Chapman, a junior corporate communications major from Kennett, Missouri, said research shows managers spend 70 percent of their time on conflict resolution, leaving only 30 percent of their time for managing other aspects of their business.

He is one of 100 students participating in Southeast’s Student Research Conference (SRC) which continues today in the University Center. Laura Delgado, instructor of psychology at Southeast and a faculty advisor for the conference, said the academic event has featured 68 research projects. 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 has featured empirical and theoretical papers as poster or 15-minute oral presentations. Research was conducted independently, as part of a course or as a team collaboration, and was sponsored by a Southeast faculty member.

Delgado says the conference provides students wonderful opportunities to collaborate with faculty, enhance their resume and enhance their communication skills.

“It’s a win-win situation,” she said.

The conference on Wednesday featured a keynote presentation by Dr. Drew Appleby, professor emeritus of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He discussed the value of undergraduate research for students entering the job market.

Following the keynote, Chapman participated in the Wednesday afternoon poster session of the conference. His project was the culmination of study on the topic of workplace conflict as well as interviews with people employed in various workplaces.

He says differences between co-workers who are Baby Boomers and those who identify with Generation Y can cause strife “because they don’t understand each other.”

Baby Boomers “are hard-working and they work for respect,” he said, whereas those in Generation Y are “more independent and you have to earn their respect.” He says the two generations need to work to learn each other’s history to bring about mutual understanding.

“Communication plays an important factor,” he said, adding that from chief executive officers to those lowest on the organizational chart, communication must be clear.

Conflict in the workplaces arises when there is poor communication, opposing personalities and co-workers with different values. Chapman on Wednesday advocated for listening, separating co-workers with differences and developing criteria for good solutions as best practices for resolving workplace conflict.

“Listening can’t be the last resort,” he said.

Southeast Student Research Conference

Southeast student Kylie Christensen gave a poster presentation about video games at the 24th Annual Student Research Conference.

Chapman’s work leading up to the conference taught him the importance of gathering correct factual information, how to conduct research, organize, manage his time and speak – all skills that will benefit him in a sports marketing career he hopes to launch after graduation.

For Southeast student Kylie Christensen, the conference has given her a forum to share her love for video games – a focus not expected from a 21-year-old female college student, she said.

The conference is an opportunity “to talk about something I really don’t get to talk about,” Christensen said. “This is a big step for me. It’s a good way to put yourself out there and talk about something you are passionate about.”

Christensen, a junior psychology major from Jackson, Missouri, and Leah Waddell, a freshman psychology major from Louisiana, Missouri, teamed up as classmates in PY103 “Career Development in Psychology” to give a poster presentation titled “Video Games Within Child Development.”

The two say people expect violent video games – like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty — to cause violent tendencies among children who play them. Their research, however, found something quite different. Many of these games actually help youth overcome boredom, face challenges and make friends.

“Kids can learn some valuable lessons” from video games, like the importance of not getting involved in gang life, Christensen said. Violent video games also can serve as valuable emotional outlets for children, she said.

She said investigators found the student perpetrators of a mass school shooting in Columbine, Colorado, in 1999 had played violent video games. But millions of other youth playing violent video games have never engaged in such activity.

There are many other factors that can contribute to violent behavior, she said, including a child’s home and school environment, media sources and violent music and movies.

Both Waddell and Christensen say they hope the conference helps them launch extraordinary careers in their future. Waddell aspires to be a school psychologist, while Christensen hopes to become a sports psychologist in the e-sport industry, helping cyber athletes control their emotions.

Awards – for best theoretical paper, best empirical paper, best poster project and best graduate project — will be presented in a ceremony at the conference at 12:15 p.m. today. The 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