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June 5, 2022

IVC’s Psi Beta Psychological Honors Society members attended the Western Psychological Association (WPA) Conference in Portland Oregon in the spring. Thirteen students presented independent research they conducted over the 2021-2022 school year. All of the students were accepted to present in their field’s general session, alongside professional research psychologists and graduate students.

“This was one of the best educational experiences of my career so far," said IVC Psi Beta President Brittany Kester. "We can present over Zoom or practice elevator speeches, but nothing compares to the intricacies, challenges, empowerment, and pride that come with a professional research poster session presentation. We learned to display our work effectively and experienced what was successful for others in the session. We learned the dramatic importance of being thorough in our research and prepared for any question. We also learned the proper way to simply say, "I don’t know but I intend to find out.”  

In all sessions, IVC Psi Beta members’ posters drew the intrigue of large crowds around them, some were even asked to work on projects with professors from other institutions. Students also met famous psychologists like Phillip Zimbardo, networked with other institutions, attended multiple interdisciplinary talks and paper sessions, participated in a regional Psi Beta meeting, and a WPA student council meeting. Most importantly, the students built strong connections with other members of Psi Beta.

Two faculty members, Jerry Rudmann and Hartrisha Dhindsa, also gave talks on their current research which gave students insight into what the next steps of research dissemination looks like.

IVC Psychology Professor Michael Cassens says, “The experience of IVC Psi Beta students attending and presenting at a professional psychology research conference is always one that is deeply impactful and remembered by each student that attended for years to come. The knowledge, research skills, and professional soft skills gained are utterly invaluable and have inspired many students to pursue research in ways that they didn’t initially intend.”