Psychology Students Present at Midwestern Psychological Association Conference

Webster psychology students, along with professor Eric Goedereis at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference

Five students and one professor from Webster’s undergraduate degree program in psychology attended and presented at the 95th annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA). The convention, which took place in Chicago from April 20-22, welcomed students, scholars, practitioners, and professionals to share their peer-reviewed research and connect with psychological scientists from across the Midwest and the world.  
This year’s MPA conference included over 1,700 research presentations from psychology, behavioral science, and related disciplines. Five proposals from Webster University’s BS in Psychological Science program were accepted to be presented at the conference.  
BS degree candidates Kinza Awais, Andrew Schatz, Jori Rinderer, and Maribeth Wagganer, as well as recent graduate Jameala Thomas-Jones, were invited to present research posters stemming from their respective psychology senior thesis projects. In addition to presenting, the group also attended various sessions – including keynote addresses by renowned scholars in psychology, networking opportunities, and student-focused workshops on graduate school and employment preparation. 

“My experience at MPA was extremely positive overall and allowed me to explore topics in the field I had never even considered before,” said Jori Rinderer, whose project examined perfectionism and frustration tolerance among school-aged children. “Getting to connect with others that were also passionate about psychology and research was an experience I'll never forget.”
Psychology Department Chair Morgan Grotewiel, who mentored Schatz’s project, spoke to the importance of research conferences.  
 "Conferences like MPA allow students to share their original research with professionals and peers from other institutions. They practice their presentation and professional communication skills, get feedback to improve their research, and learn about areas of interest, major themes and theories, and research paradigms in their discipline. These conferences also allow students to network, making connections with potential graduate schools and employers, as well as promoting Webster as an institution that values student research." 
Eric Goedereis, associate professor of psychology and assistant vice president for research at Webster, taught the senior thesis course and provided guidance to all students in the class. In addition, he served as research mentor to and co-author on Rinderer and Thomas-Jones’s posters. Having witnessed the efforts of his students, Goedereis was thrilled to see their hard work pay off as they shared their research with industry professionals.  
“During COVID, many professional organizations pivoted to remote or online conferences, so it was really energizing to be able to attend MPA in-person with these students,” Goedereis said. “I am so proud of the effort and professionalism of this group of students. They represented Webster University incredibly well; their excitement and passion for psychology was inspiring.”  

Several students applied for and received student/faculty collaborative research grants via the Office of the President. This competitive program provides up to $500 to current undergraduate students who are conducting research under the direction of a faculty member. The program is open to students across Webster’s global network from any major, provided that the project will result in a tangible outcome or work product. To date, this program has supported over 200 undergraduate student projects, including professional papers and posters; laboratory or field work; performances, exhibitions, and creative displays, and other disciplinary projects.

To learn more, visit Webster University’s BS in Psychological Science program

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