UNH undergraduate students stand with the Psych Cup, which they won earlier this year at the 2013 New Hampshire Academic Psychological Association Convention. The win means UNH will host this year’s convention in the spring. Pictured from left to right are Psych Cup team members Amanda Mead, Hong Sun Park, Kayleigh Greaney, Joel Wyatt, and Meredith Cashman. Credit: Lisa Nugent/UNH Photographic Services.
UNH will host the 2014 New Hampshire Psychological Association Academic Convention after a group of undergraduates majoring in psychology won a Jeopardy-style competition earlier this year, besting six other New Hampshire university teams.
The students took home the Psych Cup at the 2013 New Hampshire Psychological Association Academic Convention hosted by Plymouth State University. The students are mentored by Katie Edwards, assistant professor of psychology and women’s studies, and director of the UNH Interpersonal Violence Research Lab, and Joan Glutting, clinical assistant professor of psychology and coordinator of the UNH Psychology Department internship program.
At the convention, New Hampshire college and university students attend workshops on professional skills, applying and succeeding in graduate school, career options for those with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and contemporary topics in psychology. Convention attendees also attend an occupational fair where they can meet potential employers and representatives from graduate programs. UNH has participated in the convention since its inception five years ago.
“The NHPA Academic Convention is a unique partnership between the UNH Psychology Department and the state professional association for psychologists. This convention is open to all psychology students from any college or university in New Hampshire, thus it is also a unique opportunity for UNH students to not only meet and learn from psychologists both academic and clinically focused but also to meet their fellow students from across the state,” Glutting said.
In addition to competing in the Psych Cup, which UNH has now won twice in four years, students present their research findings at a poster competition as well as orally. In 2013, UNH students won the best poster presentation and best oral presentation of research.
“One of my favorite things about being a faculty member is to accompany students to conferences such as the New Hampshire Psychological Association Academic Convention and the Undergraduate Research Conference, and see students with so much confidence and excitement present the findings from the research studies they have worked so hard on, sometimes for multiple semesters and even years,” Edwards said.
For Meredith Cashman, a senior psychology major from Meredith, the experience competing in the Psych Cup was both fun and nerve-wracking, but once the competition got under way, she said she jumped right in. The UNH students won their semi-final round, competing against three other universities. They went on to the finals where they out-answered their two competitors.
“Each person on our team was able to correctly answer at least one question throughout the competition, which was great because we were all able to contribute,” Cashman said. The UNH team even had its own cheering squad in the audience.
“It was also nice to see the rest of our research lab have fun during the competition as well, and they even made little makeshift signs to cheer us on. They were just so enthusiastic, and they were some of the only members of the audience to actually do that. It was so sweet of them and it just highlights why I love working with these people,” said Kayleigh Greaney, ’13, of Exeter.
Greaney earned her bachelor’s in psychology and plans to attend graduate school. While waiting to enter graduate school, she continues to work at the Interpersonal Violence Lab and volunteers at the county jail. Her career goal is to become a clinical psychologist with a specialization in forensic psychology.
For Hong Sun Park, ’13, who is now in graduate school at Boston College, he enjoyed prepping for the psych cup and spending time with his peers in the Psychology Department. “We weren't afraid to be wrong and when we were, we were ok with it,” he said.
Joel Wyatt, a senior psychology major from Berlin who one day plans to become a clinical psychologist, said he hopes the 2014 convention, which will be held April 5, 2014, will encourage more psychology students to present posters and lectures on their research.
“It is always valuable to be a part of such organizations because of the things you can learn and the connections you can make. I have learned that networking is a huge part of the professional ‘real world’ and this organization provides that opportunity,” Wyatt said.
All of the students had high praise for their mentors. Greaney said joining Edwards’s Interpersonal Violence Research Lab was one of the best decisions she has ever made.
“Professor Edwards and the graduate students really believe in the work that they are doing, and they actually want to use that research to make a change in our society. But Professor Edwards does not stop her work in the lab; she is always answering my questions about graduate school and is always offering to help other students and myself apply to graduate school. I have so much respect for Professor Edwards and the graduate students in our lab, and I feel honored to work with them,” Greaney said.
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