May 19, 2022 at 1:45pm
Dane Lisser

Student research showcased at Midwestern Psychological Association Conference

Each year, the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA) hosts its annual meeting in Chicago, Ill., to share research across all areas of psychology.

The MPA annual meeting features invited addresses and talks from leading psychologists across the United States, papers and posters addressing a wide range of topics in current psychological science, workshops addressing the teaching of psychology, research methods, and statistics, discussion groups, roundtables and social events where members can share ideas and interests.

Five Millikin University psychology students were accepted to have their research posters presented at this year's meeting, held April 20-23 at the Palmer House Hilton. Hundreds of research applications, from posters, papers and professional development sessions were submitted for the meeting.    

Cyla Vos, a junior from Decatur, Ill., presented her Honor's thesis and psychology capstone research, titled "Does the Apple Really Fall Far from the Tree: Childhood Trauma and Its Link to Disrupted Social Connection." Vos' research looks at childhood trauma and its link to social disconnection and adult attachment styles.

Cyla Vos

"I also was validating and confirming reliability on my own measure I had created in a class at Millikin. Through correlation analyses, I determined that all three variables were related, and my own measure was found to be valid and reliable," Vos said. "The validity was found through determining convergent validity between the Social Disconnection Instrument and the Adult Attachment Questionnaire. Therefore, my measure can be used in future studies."

Vos noted she is interested in researching social connection and its link to technology for her next study.

The psychology research group of Jasimine Ash, of Chicago; Nancy Masimbi, of Decatur; Diane Ineza, of Laurel, Md.; and Kelsey Jacobs of Mahomet, Ill., presented their research titled "Examining the Dream: Racial Climate on College Campus."

Pictured left to right: Jasimine Ash, Nancy Masimbi and Diane Ineza

"The research conference was an interesting yet insightful event for me. Beyond presenting my own research, I learned so much about the research of others. That was the most exciting and insightful part," said Ash, a junior psychology major.

Ash noted, "To have so many people interested in the research I conducted made me feel that what I was studying was not only important but potentially encouraged changes regarding campus life for students and professors."

Dr. Linda L. Collinsworth, professor of psychology and chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department at Millikin University, says all psychology majors at Millikin have the opportunity to be involved in research and take part in presenting at conferences like the Midwestern Psychological Association.

"The students' posters are peer-reviewed before acceptance. Hundreds apply for the opportunity to present their research, so we are very proud when we are accepted. They are competing with graduate students and professors for acceptance," Collinsworth said. "This is the ultimate in Performance Learning for psychology students. Psychologists present their research to other scholars. The psychology major emphasizes numerous opportunities for students to engage in research." 

Millikin University's psychology major provides students with an understanding of the scientific discipline of psychology through exposure to the breadth of the discipline, from its most basic level (neuroanatomy) to its most interactional level (sociocultural). Students will develop the knowledge and skills in using the scientific method to both conduct research to understand mind and behavior, as well as deliver clinical or consulting services from this empirical base.