USAO Psychology Department Presents Research at New Orleans Conference

Thursday, August 31, 2006

CHICKASHA – At a recent psychology conference drawing thousands worldwide, five members of the University of Science and Arts community joined the nation’s top psychology experts and students to present research. Guest speakers at the event included celebrities “Dr. Phil” McGraw, Bill Cosby and a host of renowned psychologists.

Dr. Tina Winn, chair of the Division of Business & Social Science, and Dr. Chris Walker, assistant professor of psychology, joined three of their top psychology students to help present research at the 114th annual American Psychological Association (APA) conference in New Orleans.

According to Walker, the trip was designed to give up-and-coming students experience with the global psychology society.

“The purpose of our trip was to provide our students with an opportunity to meet other psychological researchers, gain experience in presenting psychological research and to observe and experience psychological research at the highest level,” said Walker.

Misty Shepard, a junior from Lindsay, and Nowata junior Blakely Adams joined Winn and Walker to present their project entitled, “Academic and Social Achievement Goals as Predictors of Academic Behavior in Middle School.” The study was aimed at helping identify behaviors in students based upon their academic goals.

Shepard said she enjoyed being a part of the research presented at the conference.

“Being able to see the most current research presentations in person really opened up my eyes to how exciting and informative psychology research really is,” said Shepard.

Adams said she was encouraged that her professors shared the same excitement she felt.

“I feel very lucky to have such encouraging mentors as Drs. Walker and Winn who I believe are just about as excited as we are for us to learn and experience the different areas of psychology,” said Adams.

Recent Tulsa graduate Natalie Ingraham presented a research project entitled, “Development and Validation of an Exercise Typology Questionnaire,” that examined the motivations behind personal exercise, the implications of why some people experience exercise burn-out and the success measures of those who meet or don’t meet their exercise goals.

Walker said he was proud to show off his students and their research.

“Dr. Winn and I are certainly proud of our student’s contributions to psychological research and we would like to thank them for the time and attention they devoted to their work,” Walker said. “Misty, Blakely and Natalie are undoubtedly some of our top students and the rest of the USAO community can be sure that they served as strong ambassadors for USAO.”

To Winn, the opportunity for undergraduates to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with psychology professionals was too good to miss.

“Presenting research at the APA national conference is an awesome experience for anyone,” said Winn. “Having such an opportunity as an undergraduate is quite rare. We also had the opportunity to see ‘legends’ in our discipline and hear from people who are on the cutting edge in our field.

“I am so pleased that the university supported this opportunity and that the students put in the hard work necessary to make it happen,” she added.

During the convention, the team met up with two USAO psychology alums working towards doctorate degrees in counseling psychology at Oklahoma State University.

Glenna Stumblingbear graduated from USAO in 2004 with a bachelor of science degree in psychology. Her project was entitled, “Development of an American Indian Acculturation Scale.”

In 2002, Rebekah White graduated from USAO with a bachelor’s degree in psychology as well. White presented a research project entitled, “Posttraumatic Growth: Predictors of Growth after Trauma.”

According to the APA website, the convention was attended by approximately 8,000 people, and opportunities were given for volunteer Hurricane Katrina relief. With more than 100 years dedicated to psychology advancement, the APA “is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists.” The APA has more than 150,000 international members.