WHEELING, WV, Oct. 16, 2007 - Research experience is vital to college students as they prepare for the post-graduate world of employment and graduate school. Beyond conducting their own studies, students who attend scientific research conferences gain professional skills as they showcase their work and have a chance to network and talk shop with professionals in their field.
As director of undergraduate research at Wheeling Jesuit University, psychology professor Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, is always seeking hands-on opportunities for his students. He is traveling with students this Wednesday to the Psychophysiological Research Conference Oct. 17 - 21 in Savannah, Georgia, where they will hear and meet some of the nation's top names in neuroscience.
Dr. Raudenbush and students will return on Saturday, Oct. 20, just in time to take part in the 2 p.m. inauguration of Wheeling Jesuit's eighth president, the Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J. at the McDonough Center.
“It is exciting to be presenting work done as an undergraduate at a professional conference,” said Corinne Chamberlin, a 2007 graduate of Wheeling Jesuit. “I love being part of a university that has undergraduate students presenting their projects at conferences that host a majority of graduate and professional studies. It says a lot about our psychology department and university.”
The students going to this conference are co-authors of three psychological studies that will be presented and deal with the fascinating topic of pain distractions and the effects of scents on cognition and physiology.
(Left-to-right are Kristen Koval, Corinne Chamberlin, Trevor Cessna and Justin Schmitt).
The studies and students that will be going to Savannah are detailed below:
• Use of video games to distract physical therapy patients from pain and anxiety: Pickerington, Ohio resident Trevor Cessna. Cessna graduated from Wheeling Jesuit in 2007 and is currently working on his master's degree at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. He was formerly the head research assistant in the Wheeling Jesuit psychology lab.
• Differential effects of chocolate and coffee scents on cognition, physiology, and clerical office work: Huntington, W.Va. resident Daniel Felbaum, Euclid, Ohio resident Kristen Koval and Annandale, Va. resident Justin Schmitt. Felbaum graduated in 2007 and is currently working on his M.D. at Marshall University. Koval and Schmitt are seniors in the Psychology Department at Wheeling Jesuit and will graduate this May. Schmitt is also the Student Government Association President and the current head research assistant in the psychology lab.
• Differential effects of visual distractions on pain threshold and tolerance: Martins Ferry, Ohio resident Ryan Hunker, Canonsburg, Pa. resident who now resides in Wheeling Corinne Chamberlin and Felbaum. Ryan Hunker is a senior in the Psychology Department and will graduate in May. Corinne Chamberlin is a 2007 graduate from Wheeling Jesuit with a degree in psychology. She is currently an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in the Wheeling Jesuit's Service for Social Action Center.
Wheeling Jesuit offers a variety of research laboratories available for students in this type of work. The Chemical Senses Laboratory examines issues related to taste and odor processing, food preferences and eating disorders; the Health Psychophysiology Laboratory examines issues related to psychological-physiological interactions. The Sleep Performance Laboratory examines issues related to improving sleep patterns and subsequent cognitive functioning; the Sensory Attenuation Laboratory examines how human performance is altered in the absence of sensory stimulation, and the Pain Perception Laboratory examines the conditions under which pain can be attenuated, in hopes of increasing the quality of life for those individuals experiencing pain.
The psychology department sends many undergraduates to professional conferences. Some future conferences being considered include those taking place in the following cities: Boston Mass.; Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; San Francisco, Ca., Austin, Texas; Pittsburgh and Paris, France.
One of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, Wheeling Jesuit University offers students a high-quality private education. Since 1995 U.S.News & World Report has ranked Wheeling Jesuit University among the top institutions in its “Best Master's Universities in the South” category. The campus is also home to the Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center, the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies®, the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future, a Challenger Learning Center® and the Clifford M. Lewis Appalachian Institute.