Students Present Original Research at Professional Psychology Conference

Seven undergraduate students from Hope International University are presenting their original research projects at the Western Psychological Association (WPA) 2012 Convention, which runs from April 26 – 29 in San Francisco, CA. Heather Silva, Krystal Perez, and Jesus Ramos’ project is entitled Relationship Patterns and Cycles of Abuse, while Kimberlie Allen, Kassen Boesel, Rachel Navarro, and Gianna Persico’s project is called Family Dynamics and Anxiety: A Look at Bowen’s Theory.

The WPA is a professional organization focused on encouraging the exchange of scientific and professional ideas as well as supporting the research into the behavioral sciences. Like many other psychology organizations, the WPA rarely has undergraduate students present at their conferences, instead usually selecting work completed by graduate students or professionals. The inclusion of two research groups from HIU is an indication of the quality of work produced by Hope students.

“The fact that Hope students are repeatedly accepted at professional conferences speaks to the caliber of our students, as well as the unique structure of our classes that allows students to reach their potential,” Dr. Elliott Lawless, Chair of the HIU Psychology Department, said. “Because of our small class sizes, I am able to give more student-specific instruction and provide detailed scaffolding that enables growth.  Their acceptance at professional conferences is evidence that what we are doing at Hope is working.”

Dr. Lawless is looking forward to seeing the students gain a broader understanding and awareness of the psychology community and their place within it. He hopes they recognize that they have the ability to make significant contributions to the field and to make an impact just as graduate students and professionals do.

“Students usually walk away with a sense of confidence in their ability, but also a sense of awe regarding the sophistication of research in the psychological community,” he said. “Confidence is built, as are aspirations for future professional development.”


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