College of Science & Mathematics
Celebrating 40 Years...
In 1974, the psychology department held its first Psychology Research Conference.
In just 40 years and two school-name changes later, the psychology department grew in the number of major and minor programs, grew to encompass over 800 students and over has earned, in this year alone, over $700,000 in grant awards.
Still, that doesn’t seem a large enough ruler to measure 40 years.
“I’m going to wing this,” said Associate Professor of Psychology Jim Haugh, as he stood before parents, students and faculty. “I’m going to begin this ceremony with my two favorite people.”
Several “oooh’s” and “ahhh’s” later, Haugh introduced his two children. “Why am I bringing my sons up here? To show them off primarily,” he chuckled, “but because today we’re celebrating 40 years.”
On April 17, students from both undergraduate and graduate psychology programs gathered in the Student Center Eynon Ballroom to showcase their panel selected projects before their peers and families, at the 40th Annual Psychology Research Conference. The Psychology Alliance club and the Applied Behavior Analysis club were also in attendance to support their fellow researchers and club members.
“As parents we often wonder where our sons and daughters will go,” Haugh said, “you have the luxury in knowing where your sons and daughters have come.”
Presentations packed the itinerary, as well as an awards and recognition ceremony for student achievements in research and service in psychology.
Andrew Jarema, a second year graduate student, gave his presentation on the “Beliefs about the Causes of Depression and Treatment Preferences.”
“I want to become a Professional Counselor after I graduate [this spring],” said Jarema. “This research, although it was very strenuous and time-consuming,” he smirked, “gave me the information I need to become certified and assist those experiencing depression.”
As part of the psychology graduate curriculum, Jarem had to develop and research his own thesis, while those still working towards their undergraduate degrees, like senior Kaitlin Schwartz, assisted their lab professors in their research projects.
“I came into college with no idea that I wanted to do research,” explained Schwartz, “but everyone kept telling me ‘to do research and to get involved,’ and now I love it so much that I want to work in Geriatric Clinical Psychology.”
While the conference is geared towards psychological research, the projects sometimes become multidisciplinary, as the poster portion of the conference featured several bio-psychology research studies.
“I think it’s a good idea to get involved in research,” Jarema said. “It allows you to develop a specialty, or gives you the opportunity to find one with the guidance of your professor(s).”
Haugh, advisor to both students believes that advising is more than just assigning and assisting in research.
“I believe, on the whole, that we professors become mentors in the lab,” Haugh said. “We talk to students, we watch them mature and grow and help them plan their careers.”
A majority of the projects are completed during the academic year, in each of the professors’ research specialty. Haugh said that this year experienced a higher volume of applicants into the conference, creating the best abstracts he’s seen in his 13 years with Rowan University.
“As we continue to grow, let’s say in another 13 years, we might have twice the applicants,” Haugh said, “but that just means the level of research being done will rise with the numbers.”
Concluding the conference was the Psi Chi inductions, in which students making the study of psychology one of their major commitments were able to join the life-long honors society, and the wards ceremony.
Angara Beaubrun, winner of the Okorodudu Outstanding Contribution to Service in Psychology, has been dedicated to her major as well as to the Rowan community. Beaubrun will graduate this spring having been a Resident Assistant, a member of the Help Hotline, which assists students in their time of stress, an Admissions Ambassador and an intern with Healthy Campus Initiatives.
“It’s nice helping others and I find it satisfying when people can come to me for advice or just to talk,” Beaubrun said. “It makes me happy.”
40 years of professors, mentors, students and parents, creating a university of futures.
“You all brought yourselves here,” Haugh said. “All these students show that we have many more years to come.”