Columbia College psychology studentsA team of four Columbia College students received first place honors at the 35th Annual Great Plains Students’ Psychology Convention held at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.

Sara Schmalz, Jessica Gray, Madison Gibbons and Jackson Portell won first place in the undergraduate empirical oral presentation category for their research titled “Projective testing: Selection of ambiguous images for use in the Contemporary Thematic Apperception Test.” The undergraduate research team used qualitative research methods to identify ambiguous images for inclusion in the CTAT, one of the most-used projective psychology tests in the field. Graham Higgs, chair of the Psychology and Sociology department, served as the team’s faculty sponsor.

Two other Columbia College students also presented their research at the conference.

Kea Carrow presented a poster on her research titled “Writing prompts and self-efficacy,” which examined the effects of the writing used in math courses and how students perceive their ability to be successful completing tasks.

Alyssa McKenzie’s research, titled “Conformity, self-esteem, and cosmetics,” examined those concepts through an exploratory factor analysis. She also presented a poster.

Carrow and McKenzie were both sponsored by Gretchen Hendrickson, assistant professor of psychology.

Columbia College was one of 26 Midwestern institutions to participate in this year’s conference, which took place March 13-14.

This year, 15 research teams presented in the undergraduate empirical oral presentation category, and 19 projects were presented in the undergraduate empirical poster category. Each category is judged by two faculty volunteers, and a first place and second place award are presented in each category.

Columbia College remains active in the academic psychology community. Next year Columbia College will play host to the Missouri Undergraduate Psychology Conference.