April 22, 2016

Melissa Avecillas EPACentenary Psychology Students Present at the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) Conference

Hackettstown, New Jersey – Fifteen Centenary University Psychology students recently presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference in New York City. This is the seventh year that Centenary University Psychology students had presented at this annual conference which draws a nationwide attendance.

“Independent research provides students with the opportunity to explore research and psychology in a manner that is not provided in the classroom,” says Dr. Christine Floether, Associate Professor of Psychology at Centenary University.  “Students who have participated in the Eastern Psychological Association Conference have gained invaluable knowledge and experiences outside the classroom that will last a lifetime.  The students examine areas of interest to them which will enhance not only their academics at Centenary, but in their future endeavors as well.”
Student and faculty participants in this year’s conference and their poster presentation topics are listed as follows:
• Melissa Avecillas  and Dr. Jeremy Houska – “The Effects of Complimentary Words by Strangers and Family on State Self-Esteem”
• Deana A. Fritz and Dr. Jeremy Houska– “Let Me Take a Selfie: Effects of Instagram Photos on Personality Ratings”
• Shaina G. Dinapoli, Stephanie Nardone, Katherine Gannon and Dr. Keith Morgen – “Sub-Syndromal Experiences in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Clients Not Designated as Co-Occurring”
• Kelsey Anderson, Jacklyn Smith and Dr. Keith Morgen – “Healthcare Insurance and Accreditation Status in Substance Abuse Treatment Services”

• Abigail Voelkner, Carolyn Brouard and Dr. Keith Morgen – “Organizational Structure in Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorder Treatment Facilities”

• Kelsey Denison-Vesel, Carolyn Brouard and Dr. Keith Morgen – “Pregnant Women and Substance Use Disorder: Treatment Episode Dataset 2013”

• Jessica Gullett, Erin McCormick, Patrick Flagg  and Dr. Christine Floether – “The Art of Healing: How Art Therapy Can Relieve Academic Anxiety”

• Nicole Montouri and Dr. Jeremy Houska– “The Effects of Motivational Fitness on Women’s Motivation and Body Image”

“My students got the opportunity to apply their Psychology education using large-scale, real-world data to address complicated social sciences issues pertaining to various elements of the substance use disorders treatment discipline,” says Dr. Keith Morgen, Associate Professor of Psychology at Centenary University.  “They also were able to start their transition from student to professional, and they are continuing this development in their work with me on other upcoming research presentations and future publications.”

Participant Mary Riley’s project entitled “I Just Need It: Social Perceptions of Behavioral and Substance Addiction” won 5th place at the Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ) Undergraduate Research Symposium.

“I was especially delighted to see Mary’s experiment recognized by the judges at the ICFNJ Research Symposium,” says Dr. Jeremy Houska, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of Institutional Research and Assessment at Centenary University and the professor who worked with Riley on this project.  “This was the first time a Centenary student took home an award from this symposium! ICFNJ was a very different experience for Mary, who has presented regularly at national psychology conferences. This time she effectively distilled the highlights of her research to those outside of psychological science: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) scholars and industry professionals.”

Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) was founded in 1896 and is the oldest of the regional Psychological Associations in the United States. Its sole purpose is to advance the science and profession through the dissemination of professional information about the field of Psychology. EPA achieves this goal by conducting its annual meeting where the members of EPA present the latest advancements in professional and scientific work to their colleagues. EPA welcomes psychologists from all fields across the discipline.  For many psychologists, the annual EPA meeting represents an important opportunity to hear what is happening across the landscape of psychology and to use that information to develop their own career. At EPA, luminaries from all areas of psychology give master lectures about the current state and future directions in their particular area of expertise.

The ICFNJ Undergraduate Research Symposium is designed to introduce students to the opportunities that await them if they are willing to take some risks and overcome some challenges.  Twenty-nine poster presentations were judged by industry professionals, academic leaders and students from High Tech High School of North Bergen.  Students defended their research and findings while also being evaluated on their communication skills, research methodology, visual display and application in today’s world.  All the students attend one of the 14 private colleges or universities in New Jersey, demonstrating that the tradition of innovation and creativity continues in our great state.

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University is an independent, coeducational liberal arts and career studies college distinguished by an accomplished faculty, small class sizing and diverse student body.  Centenary is the only baccalaureate and master’s degree granting institution in northwest New Jersey.

Centenary University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J. with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County).  The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs in the following locations: Parsippany, Edison, and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.  The School of International Programs recruits international students for study at Centenary and Centenary students for study abroad opportunities. 

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