Mariam Tabrez: Reflecting on SEPA

The SEPA conference overall was such an enriching experience because it awesome to see and meet so many people passionate about the same subject. Also, it was incredible to see the diversity in the subject of psychology and how people are taking theoretical information and using it to study things from homophobia to using emojis. It definitely inspired me to take political psychology research to a national level and find trends in political behavior and why it happens. Especially in our present political climate being able to understand why people believe what they believe will allow us to possibly become empathetic towards differing opinions. Seeing research not only as a academia requirement but as a necessity to improve society is inspiring and definitely makes me want to research even after my college career. This experience has also shown me that Rollins small liberal arts environment made it a little easier to talk to professors and researchers that came up to me because we practice that skill at Rollins daily. If I went to a large state school I probably would have been more intimidated. Overall, it was a great experience that has got me thinking about furthering my research involvement in the future.

Mariam Tabrez: Presenting a Poster at SEPA

On March 9th, I presented at the SEPA poster presentation and represented Rollins as a student researcher. I was very nervous in the beginning because I have never done anything like this. I have given presentations but never at a large conference on my own. I spent a couple of hours before hand memorizing what I was going to say because I did not want to leave anything out. When we started presenting the posters the first few people that came up I was a little nervous and stuck with what I had memorized but as time went on I became a lot more comfortable. I was able to not only remember parts of this study but also talk about political theory I had learned in my politics class to address some of their questions. It was really cool to be well educated on what I was presenting and being able to educate others. Also, I was able to meet some professors and students from other schools. They gave me more ideas on how to research political psychology further as well as diversifying the population that the research was on. This presentation experience was amazing and l was definitely out of my comfort zone but it was such a great way to see how to take knowledge out of the classroom. Also I learned a lot about presenting which will be helpful in the classroom as well.

Stephanie Spence: Presenting Research at the ACS Conference

During my visit to the American Chemical Society National Conference in San Francisco, I presented a poster of my research on the analysis of caffeine as a tracer of wastewater contamination. Presenting my research at a conference of this scale was a new and exciting experience for me. As I arrived at my scheduled session and hung my poster up, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of presenters and the scale of the conference as a whole.

During the session, I had the opportunity to talk and share my research with undergraduate students, graduate students, professors, and industry professionals from around the country. The depth of discussion varied with each person’s interest and background knowledge of the topic, but it was a pleasant experience to be able to talk about my research with other scientists. More experienced members of the field were very supportive and impressed with my research when I explained that I was an undergraduate and encouraged me to continue research.

I also had the opportunity to walk around the hall during the session and see other posters. It was beneficial for my own future research to see and hear graduate students or professors describe their work. Participation in this poster session has not only given me a great opportunity to be a presenter at a national conference, but it also gave me a better appreciation for scientific communication. I am grateful to have been able to participate in this conference and to be a part of the scientific community.

Stephanie Spence: The American Chemical Society Conference

From April 2nd to April 6th, I attended the American Chemical Society 253rd National Conference in San Francisco, CA. This was my first time attending a national scientific conference and my first time traveling for a conference. During my stay, I was able to do a little bit of sightseeing in San Francisco, but I spend majority of my time walking around the hotels and convention centers experiencing all that the conference had to offer. I went to a variety of talks throughout the session, given by industry professional, academic professors, undergraduate and students. Looking at the session topics, it was amazing to see the scale of the conference and all the areas where chemistry is applied.

One of the most memorable moments was attending the Kavli Foundation Lecture Series featured speaker Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna, one of the largest talks at the convention. I was also able to attend a workshop during the conference on finding a career to fit with personal strengths and goals. As an undergraduate, the workshop was very helpful for me to learn the differences between jobs in academia, industry and government, and helped me think about what I might like to do after graduate school. It was a great opportunity to be able to attend this conference as an undergraduate and hope to return in future years as I continue my education in chemistry.

Isabella Seddon: Overview of the SEPA Conference, plus Takeaways

Attending and presenting my independent research at the Southeastern Psychological Association annual meeting in Atlanta was definitely a highlight of my senior year at Rollins. After a long process of conducting research, meeting deadlines, and submitting applications, I was ecstatic to hear that my hard work had paid off. While I was only able to attend a few of the poster sessions when I was there, I still saw a significant amount of current psychology research conducted by undergraduates, graduate students, and professors. I talked to many students from around the country and learned about their backgrounds in psychology, the research they were presenting, and their future plans for graduate schools and careers in psychology.

An aspect of the poster session which I found especially interesting was the diversity of topics being presented. These ranged from animal behavior to politics to music. It was also neat to see the complexity of research increase from undergraduate to graduate to post-graduate categories. For me, this emphasized the fact that psychology’s application is extremely widespread and there are many different career paths in psychology that I might be interested in outside of the most common few. While I am still unsure what I want to do in the future, this trip definitely helped me take a step in the right direction. I really enjoyed seeing what the city of Atlanta had to offer and intend to go back and visit soon.

 

Cristina Perez Diaz: Reflections on the Southeastern Psychological Association Conference

The SEPA conference at Atlanta was an amazing experience for me and I would also say my classmates. Outside from the expected result of making connecting with undergraduate and graduate students from other colleges, I was able to develop closer bonds with Rollins students I barely knew before, and learn more about the research they are conducting. I was able to also meet and learn more about some of the Psychology teachers at Rollins that I have not had the pleasure of taking a class with, such as Dr. Houston. I truly benefiting from having lunch with the psychology teachers and sharing a conversation with them, since some will be part of the committee for my thesis, and it really helped to learn more about them as individuals outside of Rollins, and some of the topics they have researched in the past. As mentioned before, I was able to practice some of the skills I will definitely need if I am lucky enough to attend the conference again, but this time to present my own personal research. I had never been in a conference that is based on poster presentation, and it was a great professional and interpersonal experience that I would recommend to anyone that is fortunate enough to attend. I am extremely excited to share this experience with fellow students and teachers, and hopefully present my own research as a first author, something that would be a great accomplishment for something coming from abroad.

Lexi Tomkunas: Reflections on Southeastern Psychological Association Conference

When presenting research at SEPA, there are a few particular interactions that stand out to me. While Dr. Queen, my co-peer mentor and I were a bit unsure as to how our poster presentation would be received, we ended up having a lot of interest in our poster! This was excellent because it gave us the opportunity to present many times to a diverse audience. One individual who we presented to was interested in our research because she had children in public school. Beyond the fact that this individual had a doctorate in psychology, she was interested in hearing our opinions on our research and the implications we believe our research has in everyday life. Our research suggested that having a growth mindset leads to increased college success. Similar results in past research have been shown across all levels of education. Therefore, when this conference attendee approached us and asked us our opinions, we were able to have an excellent discussion surrounding pertinent issues in the education sector in relation to our research. This conversation also required that I think on my feet and be able to apply my research, which is a valuable skill to have. I am beyond grateful for my experience at SEPA and for this specific experience. I look forward to presenting at future conferences and completing more research to continue to expand my knowledge.

Me at the Poster Presentation

Isabella Seddon: The Day of the Poster Session (Southeastern Psychological Association)

I woke up early on Thursday morning, excited for the poster session that I was about to participate in. I was glad to be there, especially considering the hours it took to find the hotel the day before. It turns out that there are two Hyatt’s on Buckhead and the MARTA (a train which is a primary source of transportation in Atlanta) brought us to the wrong one. I sipped my coffee nervously as I always do before I participate in any form of public speaking. When it was almost time for the session to begin, a fellow Rollins student and I went into the presentation room and pinned up our posters in our reserved spots on a long row of blank boards. After a few people approached me and asked me about my research on adult coloring and stress reduction, my nerves disappeared. After about an hour and a half, the poster session was over and several of the Rollins psychology professors and students also presenting their research at the meeting went out to lunch at a famous diner within walking distance of the meeting hotel. It was great to talk with them outside of a school setting and discuss random topics and ideas. I was relieved and excited to explore Atlanta after a morning of attending poster sessions. After returning from lunch, a fellow Rollins student and I took an Uber into downtown and visited Centennial Olympic Park, the place where the 1996 Summer Olympics took place. We walked around and saw many historical monuments, college campuses, museums, restaurants, and even visited an underground mall. Overall, the day of the poster session was unforgettable and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I was given.

Lexi Tomkunas: At the SEPA Conference (Southeastern Psychological Association)

Going to SEPA was a truly amazing experience. Never before have I had the opportunity to present research I have completed, so I learned a great deal. As a peer mentor for Dr. Queen’s first-year RCC, I was fortunate to have the ability to complete research simultaneously with her and my co-peer mentor.

Because our class was an intro to psychology course, we ran an entire psychology study in order to provide an example to the students in the class. We based the study off of the book, Mindset, by Carol Dweck, and completed research about the way in which the growth versus fixed mindset influences college success. What we found is that students with growth mindsets have traits that are more beneficial to college success than students with fixed mindsets.

When Dr. Queen informed my co-peer mentor and I that we had the opportunity to present this research, I was very excited. At the same time, however, I was a bit nervous because I had never had the opportunity to present research to experts in the field. Nevertheless, presenting at the conference was a wonderful experience. All of the students, faculty, and researches present at the conference were very supportive and offered great feedback on our research. Additionally, I was able to learn about other current research in the field of psychology. Furthermore, I enjoyed being able to spend time with my professors and classmates out of the classroom setting. I would love to present research again in the future.

My co-peer mentor and I after our presentation in Atlanta

Cristina Perez Diaz: At the SEPA (Southeastern Psychological Association) Conference

When I was told to participate in a research that would later be presented in the SEPA conference, I couldn’t help but ask, SEPA, what is SEPA? I agreed to Dr. Harris’s proposal, because of course I trusted his judgement that I could productively contribute, but also because I was once told that college is about taking risks and saying yes to new experiences. I am so glad that that day I took a leap of faith and said yes, because it was without any doubt one of the most amazing experiences I have had in college.

The morning we were presenting I couldn’t keep my nerves under control, I had never had a prior experience like that one and I did not know what to expect. As I stood in front of the poster that had my name as one of the author, I rehearsed in my mind the few things I had memorize in case I froze. A couple of young girls approached me and asked, “would you explain a little about this research?” I swallowed saliva, and started to talk, as I subtly looked at a few notes I had taken. Without even realizing the words began to flowed smoothly, one person after another, minute after minute, until it was time to start packing up.

I had a lot of interesting conversations with fellow students and teachers, who seemed genuinely interested not only on the poster I was presenting but about my own interests in psychology and future research I was interested in conducting. I even was asked to present research on another conference during April. I engaged in debates about politics, and climate change, personality factors and family dynamics, about Freud and Trump. I kept some email addresses and phone numbers from people I met and expressed interested in knowing about my future research on sibling dynamics, competition and perfectionism. In conclusion, this experience has served to motivate me even further to pursue a career that is linked to psychology and possibly public relations, since I truly enjoyed the interpersonal aspect of the conference.