Students and faculty of the Department of Psychology virtually attended and presented at the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) conference held on March 5 and 6, 2021.
This year’s presentations from Monmouth faculty and students included: “The Connection Between Emotional Intelligence and Social Justice,” presented by Professor Natalie Ciarocco and Natalie Delgado; “The Effect on Diversity on Self-Efficacy in Private University,” presented by Associate Professor Janice Stapley and Samuel Aydukovic; and “The Effect of Professors Ethnicity on Students’ Evaluations,” presented by Stapley, Ciarocco, and Senior Lecturer Michele Van Volkom.
Lindsay Mehrkam, Ph.D., adviser of the Psychology Club, presented with psychology majors Sarah Cooper and Nicholas Quinn; Cooper presented on “Public Perceptions of Mental Health Assistance Animals,” while Quinn’s research focused on “The Effects of Social Interactions on Psychological Well-Being of Dogs and Owners.” Mehrkam also presented with recent Monmouth University alumni Sojourney Gray ’20, Laura Swinyer ’20, and Tyra Ward ’19.
Additionally, Mehrkam participated in a learning symposium, “What Fish Can Teach Undergraduates About Learning, Behavior, and Research,” alongside comparative psychologists Ruth Colwill (Brown University) and Peter Basalm (Columbia University). In her talk, Mehrkam highlighted how students in Monmouth’s ‘Psychology of Learning’ course study basic learning concepts and principles, in part by having students teach goldfish new behaviors using positive reinforcement training, enrichment, and welfare assessments.
Kaitlyn Hogan, vice president of Psychology Club, reflected on the annual trip, “I always look forward to each year’s EPA conference because I enjoy learning about new studies and the statistically significant results discovered.”
Angelina D’Acunto, social media coordinator of Psychology Club, added, “One important message that stuck out was the importance of equity. As a woman scientist, it is important for me to see other women and minority groups represented in the field of psychology.”
Natalie Delgado, president of the Monmouth University Psi Chi Chapters, said, “Attending EPA was one of the most rewarding and eye-opening experiences in my academic career thus far. It has been a dream of mine to give a presentation at a regional conference ever since my interest in research began sophomore year.”
In past years, over 25 students annually attend the weekend conference which rotates locations in New York, Philadelphia, or Boston. Students’ travel expenses are covered through the generous support of the Department of Psychology, Psychology Club, and the Psi Chi Honor Society.
The EPA was founded in 1896 and is the oldest of the regional Psychological Associations in the United States. Its sole purpose is to advance the science and profession through the dissemination of professional information about the field of psychology, and provide an opportunity for scholars, practitioners, and students of psychology to convene annually to share research and ideas that foster the development of the discipline.