Monmouth College psychology professors Ryan Colclasure, far left, and Alec Stinnett, far right, accompanied six Monmouth students to the 32nd annual Tri-State Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference, held November 11 at Rockford University. From left: Colclasure, Lina Jursa ('24) of Homewood, Illinois, Madison Walker ('24) of Vernon Hills, Illinois, Kalista Merrill ('24) of Colona, Illinois, Hannah Rossmiller ('24) of East Moline, Illinois, Calista DePue ('24) of Pekin, Illinois, Morgan Thompson ('24) of Sandwich, Illinois, and Alec Stinnett

MONMOUTH, ILLINOIS (November 20, 2023) — A group of Monmouth College psychology students recently showed off their research work at a regional conference.

The five Monmouth students took part in the 32nd annual Tri-State Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference, held November 11 at Rockford University.

The annual day-long symposium focuses on research conducted by undergraduates in collaboration with faculty advisers. It is hosted by a consortium of four colleges from Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin on a rotating basis and attracts several dozen students from schools around the Midwest. This year's conference drew fifteen colleges and universities.

"It's a really good experience for our students," said Psychology professor Ryan Colclasure, who, along with department colleague Alec Stinnett, accompanied the students to the conference.

Colclasure said that the diverse research interests of the Monmouth students were also on display at the conference.

"Some of our students worked on gender identity projects and others worked on empirical studies on the effects of virtual reality on physiological measures," he said. "Our students did a fantastic job of putting together a synopsis of their presentations. Some of our students had just collected their data, so they presented fresh data. They also put together all of the components of their research proposals and their completed projects with wonderful graphs and graphics, and had an elevator pitch to explain succinctly what they had found."

The Monmouth students who presented at the conference were:

* Calista DePue ('24) of Pekin, Illinois, who presented "Understanding the Relationship Between Work Stress, Perceived Organizational Support, Burnout, and Self-Care";

* Kalista Merrill ('24) of Colona, Illinois, "Understanding and Prioritizing Mental Health on College Campuses";

* Hannah Rossmiller ('24) of East Moline, Illinois, "The Effects of True Crime on State and Trait Anxiety";

* Morgan Thompson ('24) of Sandwich, Illinois, "LGBT Safe Space Training";

* and Madison Walker ('24) of Vernon Hills, Illinois, "Examining the Relationship between Athletes' Psychological Resilience, Coping Strategies, and Performance in College Athletics."

Lina Jursa ('24) of Homewood, Illinois, who is a chemistry major with a minor in educational studies, attended the conference as an observer.

"The conference gives our students a chance to compare their experience at Monmouth and learn about what other types of research are being done by students at other schools and get a wider view of the discipline," said Colclasure.

He said the conference is also "a really good professional development experience for our students because it gives them more ideas about how to get into graduate or professional school or how to apply an undergraduate degree in Psychology to the private sector."

One of the characteristics that distinguishes Monmouth's popular psychology program is that its students work closely with a faculty member on their research project.

"Each of our senior students works singularly with a psychology professor as a mentor," said Colclasure. "That sets our program apart from a lot of other programs because a lot of other programs have mass labs where ten students work on a single project. Our students work individually with a faculty member."

Founded in 1853 and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), Monmouth College provides a transformative educational experience within a caring community of learners. A residential liberal-arts college that is the birthplace of the women's-fraternity movement, Monmouth College empowers students to realize their full potential, live meaningful lives, pursue successful careers, and shape their communities and the world through service and leadership.

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