During my experience at The Southeastern Psychological Association conference in Charleston, I had the opportunity to interact with over 100 undergraduate psychology students and professors from a variety of states who were presenting their research. Not only did I learn a variety of research topics but I also learned about the different kinds of methods and data collection that were used to conduct the research which inspired me to continue to conduct research in graduate school. I had the opportunity to discuss my research with my professors from Rollins, to other undergraduates, and to other psychology professors who came over to learn about my research project. Additionally, there were graduate schools at the conference who I approached to learn more about their psychology programs and we discussed several routes I could take as a graduate student such as social psychology and Industrial-Organizational psychology. While presenting, I received helpful feedback on my research and thus I was given ideas for future research I could do. When I was not presenting, I attended formal research presentations given by professionals in the psychology field and was able to learn more about specific topics that are receiving media attention such as the sensation of Déjà vu. I was able to practice presenting to a variety of people that ranged from undergraduate students to renowned psychology researchers and this experience has allowed me to connect with other psychology students and professors from graduate schools who attended the conference. This conference has contributed greatly to my long-term educational goals of pursuing a career within the psychology field. In addition, my involvement with this conference has prepared me for future research presentations in graduate school.
I appreciated all the constructive feedback that I received from my professors, other graduate students, and from professors from other undergraduate psychology programs. Feedback ranged from additional factors that I could have studied such as having a larger population size, additional independent variable suggestions, and I also received ideas for future research such as individual differences like if subjects in my research were athletes, personality differences, and gender variables. When presenting my data, I was comfortable with the statistical terminology and being able to elaborate on it and educating people about my topic. Also, this opportunity allowed me to exercise my research terminology to interpret other researchers’ data and research questions to be able to give suggestions to them to improve on their research. People would ask how to improve their study and I would give them feedback and how to change methods to better suit their research question, which could include diversifying their population sample. I found myself attracted to research that was neurological in nature and was exposed to different techniques and equipment that are currently used in other undergraduate schools such as fMRI and MRI machines. This knowledge of what other graduate schools offer will help me when searching for graduate schools in addition to acquiring information on the variety of courses that were offered when talking to the graduate students that were present at the conference. I learned of the different opportunities that are available if you continue to do research by attending the award ceremony at the end of the conference where professionals and graduate students were awarded based on best oral presentation, best APA paper, and best mentor.