Psychology Students Take Spring Break Trip to Amsterdam, Present Research

Psychology Students Take Spring Break Trip to Amsterdam, Present Research

At UD, spring break often involves much more than a trip to the beach. This past spring break, three senior psychology majors and one psychology graduate student made the trek to Amsterdam to present research at the International Convention of Psychological Science.

Emily Gardner, BA 15, Catherine Guilbeau, BA 15, Laura Jauregui, BA 15, and Alexandra Slaughter, MPsy 15, had worked together on a study of adults perceptions of bossiness versus assertiveness in male and female children, and at the urging of Assistant Professor of Psychology Erin Freeman, they traveled together to Amsterdam to present their findings to an international audience of researchers. Their paper, titled Ban Bossy? Perceptions of Bossiness, Assertiveness, and Likability in Males and Females, explored how females are more likely than males exhibiting the same behavior to be perceived by adults as bossy at a very young age.

Young males are given more leeway in regard to behavior, generally not considered bossy even if stereotypically bossy, said Gardner.

While Freeman also traveled to Amsterdam and was there to provide guidance to her students, she allowed them to take control of their hour-long presentation, which centered around a poster they had created. On their floor of the conference, everyone was presenting posters similar to theirs; the keynote talks took place in the evenings. During the three days of the conference, they were able to attend several different talks.

It was very beneficial to hear and participate in these discussions on an international level, as well as simply learn what kinds of discussions are taking place, said Jauregui.

While the conference only lasted three days, the students remained in Amsterdam for all of spring break, so they got to explore and enjoy the city during a non-peak time for tourists, taking a walking tour and striking up conversations with locals.

Once the students had decided to present at the conference, they were able to make the trip actually happen by applying for UD Experience Awards, which help provide the funds for UD students to participate in events such as these.

Its very uncommon for undergraduate psychology students to get this type of experience -- doing research, presenting at conferences, said Guilbeau, who will go on to graduate school at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in the fall. It definitely helped in my grad school interviews! The amount of research UD undergraduate psychology majors do is comparable to what some graduate students do at other schools.

Jauregui will be teaching at a preschool in Grapevine, Gardner is joining the Office of Undergraduate Admissions here at UD, and Slaughter is continuing in her masters studies (she will graduate in December), but there is no question that having had this experience will enrich all of their lives academically, personally and professionally.

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