Psychology students, faculty attend MPA conference

Students and faculty meet with 12 alumni at the Exchequer restaurant in Chicago.

June 14, 2012

By Rachel Zolfo ’14

Bradley psychology students and faculty traveled to Chicago this May for the 84th annual Midwestern Psychological Association conference, a gathering that draws professionals and students from all over the region.

More than 25 Bradley undergraduates both attended the conference and presented various research projects and psychological studies. Students conducted research on a variety of topics, such as “Left-Handedness Related to Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Aggression across Cultures” by Kimberly O’Leary ’13 and “Effect of Differential Sanctions on Drunk-Driving Behavior” by Cody Maddock ’13, Alexis Small ’13, Patrick King ’14 and Christina Carreno ’12.

For students, this conference offered valuable exposure to the professional world of psychology, said Dr. Derek Montgomery, chairman of the psychology department.

“This is not an undergraduate conference,” he said. “At the conference, students are able to articulate their findings to a professional audience.”

Students also had the opportunity at the conference to learn about graduate school possibilities and to meet with professionals in the field.

However, many of the students agreed the most beneficial part of the trip was meeting alumni from the department. For the second year in a row, students and faculty met with 12 alumni for dinner at the Exchequer, a restaurant in Chicago.

This recent tradition benefits students and faculty alike. Students receive career advice and thoughts on graduate school from alumni and faculty members hear firsthand about their former students’ success.

“The most amazing part of the alumni event was getting to reconnect with former students from my lab,” said Marybeth Southard ’11. “I got to see all of the generations of lab members, including students who trained me in lab procedures as well as the younger students I helped along the way, and the students they have subsequently trained. Being able to see the continuation of what I worked so hard on through current students who are brilliant and passionate is incredibly rewarding.”

Overall, faculty members said they were pleased with how the students presented themselves and their work at the conference.

“It was really gratifying to see the students take the next step to becoming professionals,” said Dr. Anthony Hermann, associate professor of psychology.