Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 16:00

Innovative Graduate Research Showcased at Assumption

Assumption College Graduate Studies recently held its 5th annual Graduate Symposium, where students presented their research findings on topics related to business, counseling psychology, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling and special education.

“Each year, the Graduate Studies Symposium showcases the high quality and diversity of graduate-level research at Assumption College,” said Professor Leonard Doerfler, Ph.D., director of the College’s counseling psychology program and the Aaron T. Beck Institute for Cognitive Studies at Assumption College. “These presentations offer students the opportunity to showcase their research and demonstrate their communication skills before their peers, faculty, and project sponsors from all five of Assumption’s Graduate Studies disciplines.”

The following posters were presented at the symposium:

“Class-wide Peer Tutoring: What do Students Want?” by Kim Paquette of Holden, Mass., (special education); faculty advisor: Professor Nanho Vander Hart. Paquette’s project gathered and presented the experiences of students, with and without special needs, who benefitted from class-wide peer tutoring (CWPT)/Class Learning Assistant (CLA) programs at a regional high school. Her work will provide tools to evaluate and improve CWPT/CLA programs based on students’ input.

“Evaluating Social Synchrony in Autism Spectrum Disorder,” by Kayla Farley of Hopkinton, Mass., (counseling psychology); faculty advisor: Professor Paula Fitzpatrick. Farley’s study examined whether adolescents with autism demonstrate different social synchronization behavior than those without autism and whether these differences in social synchronization are related to clinical assessments and performance in social cognitive tasks.

“Exploring Serenity: How to Induce It?” by Lauramarie Rahusen and Nabil Georges, both of Worcester, Mass., (counseling psychology); faculty advisor: Professor Maria Parmley. Rahusen and Georges tested serenity induction procedures, using both self-report and physiological measures, in order to later examine the link between the experience of serenity and information processing when exposed to a variety of visual and auditory stimuli.

“Do Young Adults’ Views of Family-of-Origin Co-parenting Predict Their Future Parenting Confidence and Co-parenting Outlooks?” by Stacy Stewart of Groton, Mass., and Juliana Eells of Worcester, Mass.,(counseling psychology); faculty advisor: Professor Regina Kuersten-Hogan. Stewart and Eells investigated whether family-of-origin experiences with co-parenting impact young adults’ expectations of their future co-parenting relationships. They interviewed 123 undergraduates living on campus using the Perceptions of Parental Co-parenting Interview and asked them to discuss their family-of-origin experiences with co-parenting and to describe their ideas about their future family life.

“The Rehabilitative Journey of Individuals Who Exhibit Non-suicidal Self-injurious Behaviors Versus Suicidal Behaviors,” by Alyssa Breen of Franklin, Mass., and Mackenzie Dezieck of Newport, R.I., (rehabilitation counseling); faculty advisor: Professor Lee Pearson. Breen and Dezieck studied both self-injurious and suicidal behavior as well as their management, looking at how evidence-based treatments, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) are extremely effective rehabilitative approaches.

“Pre- and Postnatal Predictors of Infant Communication at 12 Months,” by Gil Poplinger of Worcester, Mass., (counseling psychology); faculty advisor: Professor Maria Kalpidou. Poplinger studied how co-parenting affects the development of joint-attention behaviors (such as combining sounds with gestures, following gaze, and pointing to communicate with caregivers) in twelve-month old infants and the role both mothers and fathers play.

In addition to the poster presentations, students presented additional research on the following topics:

“Strategic Planning Project for the Be Like Brit Foundation,” by Andrea Tobin of Maynard, Mass., and Monica Castillo of Sutton, Mass., (MBA Program); faculty advisor: Professor Eric Drouart. Tobin and Castillo applied their general management skills to draft a strategic plan aimed at identifying key issues facing the Be Like Brit Foundation and providing recommendations for sustaining the organization in the future. The foundation was founded by the family of Britney Gengel after the death of their daughter in the devastating 2010 earthquake during a service trip to Haiti.

“Evaluating the Clinical Utility of the ADHD Rating Scale in a Clinic Population,” by Suyi Liu of Worcester, Mass., and Melissa Symolon of Bristol, Conn., (counseling psychology); faculty advisor: Professor Leonard Doerfler. Liu and Symolon evaluated the predictive validity of the ADHD Rating Scale, used to diagnostically evaluate ADHD symptoms, in a clinic sample, specifically examining whether the scale differentiated between youth diagnosed with ADHD and youth with other DSM-IV diagnoses.

“The Impacts of Relaxation Techniques on Self-Esteem, Stress Reduction, and Athletic Performance,” by Ashley Januszewski of Haverhill, Mass., and Rachel Hedge of Manchester, N.H., (school counseling); faculty advisor: Professor Evan Tsoules. Januszewski and Hedge studied the stress levels, self-esteem, and academic and athletic performances of female college softball players and sought to provide them with the tools to utilize relaxation techniques in future real-life scenarios.

“Rehabilitation Challenges for the U.S. Justice System Today,” by John L. Quinn of Marlborough, Mass., (rehabilitation counseling); faculty advisor: Professor Lee Pearson. Quinn’s presentation considered the cost and effectiveness of incarceration in the criminal justice system, the present opportunities for rehabilitation of former inmates and some optimum potential opportunities that should be considered.

Assumption College Graduate Studies offers master’s degrees and certificates of Advanced Graduate Studies in counseling psychology, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, special education, and Business Administration (MBA). The College’s graduate students supplement theory and coursework with real-world training and high-level research to prepare them for their future careers (or to advance their current careers) and to lead lives of meaning.

Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College @AssumptionNews