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07-20-2017

Clarkson University Psychology Undergrads Present Research at Boston Conference

Six Clarkson University students presented their research at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference in Boston this past semester.

Gabrielle Spaziani and Robert Young with their poster “Electronic Interactions: College Students Detect Depression Through Social Media Profiles.”Students Gabrielle Spaziani and Robert Young presented a poster outlining their work in Associate Professor of Psychology Jennifer Knack's Social Development and Health research lab, while students Christiana Raymond, Meg Hartwell, Kayla Jurchak, and Zachary
Coffin presented posters of their research in Assistant Professor of Psychology Lisa Legault's Motivation and Emotion research lab.

“We regularly take students to conferences,” said Knack. “Most students have worked in one of our labs on projects for multiple semesters and the conference is a great opportunity to present their results and interact with professionals. In the poster sessions, there's a big room with posters displayed and the audience mills around and asks questions. The students are excited to see similar results from other research teams, and they also notice new approaches to psychological research. Conferences and presentations like this really help to round out experience in the classroom and lab. It's not enough to conduct research -- you must share it or it's meaningless.”

Gabrielle Spaziani of New Hartford, N.Y., heartily agrees about the value of the conference. A psychology major with a minor in human resource management, Spaziani just finished her junior year but is graduating early. She worked with student Robert Young and Knack on the poster “Electronic Interactions: College Students Detect Depression Through Social Media Profiles.”

“I am so grateful to have had such an amazing opportunity,” said Spaziani. “While presenting my poster, we got a lot of great feedback from peers and professors on different ways of detecting depression on social media. For example, one peer talked about using time stamps to see how often one posts about their mood, since research shows that those who are depressed tend to post late at night or early in the morning, and less during the day.”

She gained other helpful information as well, saying, “I had a lot of fun interacting with people from other colleges and took home a lot of what I learned from the various sessions to share with our adviser for Psi Chi, of which I am president. We got a lot of advice on how to recruit members and how to make our membership stronger.”

Knack has been a member of the faculty at Clarkson for six years and her colleague, Legault, was hired five years ago. They both take students to conferences as often as possible.

“We're proud to offer this opportunity to our students,” Knack said. “They can attend other poster sessions, network, and attend workshops on careers and graduate school.”

Student Zachary Coffin found the conference to be an interesting and informative experience. He said, “It was amazing to be able to hear about other people's research and what they are hoping to accomplish. It was also nice to talk to more people with similar interests in psychology, as there aren't many psychology majors at Clarkson.”

Coffin, a psychology major who just finished his sophomore year, is from Dolgeville, N.Y. He presented his poster on “Socio-Motivational Antecedents of Psychopathy” with Legault. “I look forward to furthering my own as well as my fellow lab partners' particular research topics and learning as much as I can along the way,” he notes.

Other Clarkson students attending the conference were Robert Young of Los Angeles, Calif., double major in biology and psychology. He's a junior who's graduating early. Young presented his poster, “Electronic Interactions: College Students Detect Depression Through Social Media Profiles” along with Gabrielle Spaziani and Prof. Knack.

Megan Hartwell of Bainbridge, N.Y., is a double major in psychology and interdisciplinary social sciences. She will graduate in December. She presented her poster, “Dynamics of Sociostructural Beliefs: How Social Identity Management Influences Intergroup Perception,” with Prof. Legault.

Kayla Jurchak of Chadds Ford, Pa., is a psychology major who just finished her junior year. She presented her poster, “The Role of Humility in Reducing Implicit Bias,” based on research done along with student Christiana Raymond and Legault. Raymond is a junior from Afton, N.Y., with a double major in psychology and interdisciplinary social sciences.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Six Clarkson University students presented their research at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference in Boston this past semester. Above, students Gabrielle Spaziani and Robert Young with their poster “Electronic Interactions: College Students Detect Depression Through Social Media Profiles.”

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/psychology-epa-2017.jpg.]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Kelly Chezum, VP for External Relations, at 315-268-4483 or kchezum@clarkson.edu.]

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