This year eight current and former students from Oglethorpe University presented their original research at the 2010 Annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychology Association (SEPA). SEPA is one of the largest psychology associations in the United States. According to www.sepaonline.com, the purpose of SEPA is to “advance psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare.”
Last year, four Oglethorpe students presented their research at the conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The meeting this year was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee from March 10 until March 13.
In order for one’s work to be accepted for this meeting, the study must answer an important question in a certain area of psychology. All of the papers were peer reviewed by experts in the southeastern United States. The research must be original, well-conducted, well-written, and ideally it should have a real world application. Most applicants are professors, followed by graduate students and then finally the traditional undergraduate student. It is relatively rare for undergraduate students to have their work accepted for presentation at professional research conferences; the performance of these students speaks highly of their own efforts as well as the caliber of the training in the Psychology Department.
The students stood in front of their presentations and answered questions. Each student presented for two hours. Of the students are two current Oglethorpe students, Mary Beth Bidgood and Brittany Weiner, recent graduates, Ilana Olin and Jessica Graner, and four alumni, Sara Zipperer, Brandi Wilson, Whitney Wood, and Caiti Grendahl. The topics of their papers include a behavioral treatment for encopresis, anxiety and its relation to perfectionism, and self-actualization and its relation to parenting style.