BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University's Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies has announced the recipients of their 2022-23 student awards. The recipients were honored at the School of Graduate Studies awards reception on Tuesday, April 4.
The Domer Graduate Student Research Award
The Domer Graduate Student Research Award was established by Dr. Judith Domer, dean of the Graduate School from 1997-2004, and her husband Floyd to provide assistance for expenses related to scholarly activities. Of the 6 students who received the 2023 Domer Award, 4 were students in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS):
Bailey Chenevert, graduate student in the experimental psychology program, received the award for her research on “The Viral Verdict: How Incidental News Consumption on Social Media Impacts Mock Juror Decisions."
"My research focuses on how our psychology impacts the criminal legal system and vice versa - really, I'm interested in any kind of information that can help policymakers and court actors create a more effective and equitable court system! Previous research shows that consumption of news media about a crime before it goes to trial results in more guilty verdicts and harsher opinions of the defendant. So, my thesis investigated how crime news on social media, specifically, influences juror behavior," explained Chenevert.
Chenevert is advised by Dr. Twila Wilgrove, associate professor in the Department of Psychology.
Brian London, graduate student in the experimental psychology program, received the award for his research on “Is There a Practical Benefit to Averaging? Assessing the Ability to Harness the Wisdom of the Inner Crowd.”
"My research assesses people's ability to make accurate numeric estimates. Specifically, I want to see if people can be instructed to make two estimates from two different perspectives and produce an average that is closer to the true answer than either estimate by itself. Results from this research could impact the way in which people make numeric estimates," explained London.
London is advised by Dr. Andrew Smith, professor in the Department of Psychology.
Elizabeth Pearce, graduate student in the experimental psychology program, received the award for her research on “Assessing the Predictive Quality of the Theory of Planned Behavior in the Context of Formal Help-seeking Actions Among Female Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence.”
"The extant literature on victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) focuses on small samples of survivors who have already sought help, but a sizeable portion of all victims of IPV don't even report what has happened to them, let alone reach out for aid. By targeting both people who have and have not sought help, my goal is to utilize my research to better understand the factors that go into an individual's decision to, or not to, obtain assistance from a variety of resources. I hope that this research will be useful when creating and adapting services to better fit the needs of victims in order to serve more people, and serve them to the best of our abilities," explained Pearce.
Pearce is also advised by Wilgrove.
Sophie Ryan, graduate student in the geography program, received the award for her research on “Greenspace and Adolescent Mental Health: Investigation of Socio-demographic Effect Modifiers and Recommendations for Community-level Mental Health Interventions."
"My work investigates spatiotemporal mental health clusters, the association between greenspace and mental health outcomes among adolescents, and the mental health response following exposure to extreme social (i.e., COVID-19 pandemic) and natural (i.e., hurricane) stressors. I'm also interested in understanding how socio-demographic and environmental variables interact to increase the odds of an individual, or a community, experiencing heightened poor mental health outcome burdens," explained Ryan.
Ryan is advised by Dr. Maggie Sugg, associate professor in the Department of Geography and Planning.
The Graduate Student Outstanding Thesis Award
The Graduate Student Outstanding Thesis Award recognizes outstanding scholarly activity by students who have completed Master's theses in the previous calendar year. Of the 3 students who received the 2023 Outstanding Thesis Award, 2 were in CAS:
Jonathan Tyler, graduate student in the history program, received the award in the arts/humanities category for "Dixie Entrenched: The Transformational Nature of the First World War on the South."
"My thesis focuses on how the First World War changed the American South socially, economically and culturally. Furthermore, it draws a line from those changes to some of the issues facing the South today," said Tyler.
Tyler's thesis was advised by Dr. Judkin Browning, professor in the Department of History.
Taylor Martin '22, alumna of the experimental psychology program, received the award in the social science/education category for "Joint Attention during Early Mealtimes and the Influence of Weaning Style."
Martin's thesis was advised by Dr. Amy Galloway, professor in the Department of Psychology.
The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
Additionally, Emily Walker, graduate student in the experimental psychology program, received the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for her work as instructor of record for the Research Methods in Psychology Lab. The award recognizes a graduate teaching assistant who excels as an instructor in undergraduate classes.
Walker's nominator wrote, "Emily’s focus on facilitating a growth mindset—that it is possible to improve knowledge and skills even if doing so is sometimes challenging or uncomfortable—is one backed by evidence in psychological science and is particularly apt for students who think of themselves as 'bad at math/science.' Emily encourages this growth mindset via several regular practices. She often reminds students that learning takes time and practice, offers to meet regularly with students both during and outside of office hours, and shares with students her own perspective as someone who was recently in their shoes. The effectiveness of these approaches is evidenced in the high performance of students in her labs and via student evaluations."
Three Minute Thesis Competition Winners
During the ceremony, the winners of the School of Graduate Studies' Fall 2022 Three Minute Thesis competition, all from CAS, were also recognized:
Kelly Davis, graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program, received first place for "Predictors of COVID-19 Vaccination in College Students." Her advisor is Dr. Lisa Curtin, professor in the Department of Psychology.
Robert Onjiko, graduate student in the biology program, received second place for "Effects of Moderate Malnutrition during Pregnancy on Neonatal Immunity to Malaria: A Tom & Jerry Tale." His advisor is Dr. Maryam Ahmed, professor in the Department of Biology.
Skyler Prowten, graduate student in the experimental psychology program, received the People's Choice Award, voted by the event's attendees, for "Impact of Instagram's Body Positive Versus Muscular Ideal Images on Men's Body Image." Her advisor is Dr. Doris Bazzini, professor in the Department of Psychology.
Congratulations to these outstanding students!
About the Department of Biology
The Department of Biology is a community of teacher-scholars, with faculty representing the full breadth of biological specializations — from molecular genetics to landscape/ecosystem ecology. The department seeks to produce graduates with sound scientific knowledge, the skills to create new knowledge, and the excitement and appreciation of scientific discovery. Learn more at https://biology.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Geography and Planning
The Department of Geography and Planning promotes the understanding of the spatial dimensions of human behavior within the physical and cultural systems of the earth, and the role of planning in achieving improvement in those systems. The department offers degrees in geography and in community and regional planning. Learn more at https://geo.appstate.edu.
About the Department of History
The Department of History offers a broad curriculum in local, national, regional and world history at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, which encourages history majors to develop a comprehensive approach to human problems. The study of history is an essential part of a liberal arts education and offers valuable preparation for many careers, such as law, journalism, public history, public service and business, as well as in teaching and the advanced discipline of history. Learn more at https://history.appstate.edu.
About the Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology
Appalachian’s Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology serves more than 1,000 undergraduate majors seeking the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, as well as 80 graduate students in three master’s programs (experimental psychology, school psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology and human resource management) and the clinical psychology (Psy.D.) doctoral program. Learn more at https://psych.appstate.edu.
About Graduate Education at Appalachian
Appalachian State University’s Williams School of Graduate Studies helps individuals reach the next level in their career advancement and preparedness. The school offers 80 graduate degree and certificate programs in a range of disciplines, including doctoral programs in education (Ed.D.) and psychology (Psy.D.). Classes are offered at the main campus in Boone as well as online and face-to-face at locations around northwestern North Carolina. The graduate school enrolls more than 2,000 students. Learn more at https://graduate.appstate.edu.
By Lauren Andersen
April 26, 2023