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| Student Corner |

Student Conference Programs

by Dolores Sarno-Kristofits, Ph.D., DAPA
Chair, Student Membership Committee

Conference 1999
The student membership program for APA is in its fledgling phase but has had great response from all those involved, with great support from the APA staff and Penn State in particular.  The students presented for the first time at the Conference in October 1999.  Student ambassadors also came from their homes to New York City to offer to work at the  workshops and take advantage of the excellent workshops provided during the 1999 conference.  Parents, spouses and significant others traveled to the Waldorf-Astoria to watch the culmination of months of coordination and preparation as the students presented a multi-university study concerning trauma and media exposure and the lack of response from students today regarding significant trauma or disasters that occur.

The students involved were Kelly Vaughn, an honors senior in psychology from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, Jason Dietz , a criminal justice major from Roanoke University and Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, and Sgt. Marie Mutz, a Navy intelligence officer and Army Sgt. from Penn State.

Others deeply involved in the research who did not present at the Waldorf were Christine Nicholson, a law major from Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Juan Abreau, an active Army officer and student in criminal justice from Penn State, and Jared Harvest from Villanova University in Pennsylvania.  The student ambassadors such as Kye Stoudt, Tom Slaski and Tracy Dipallo,  gave freely of their time and effort for almost nine months and traveled to the conference to participate in the activities.

The preparation for the conference was filled with nervous activity.  However, the presentation was very well attended and the audience became extremely involved and interested in what the students had to say.  The APA had also provided a student and spouse hospitality room where all of the students met and prepared for the presentation and met others whom they did not know.

After the conference, the students received evaluation forms and letters congratulating them for their performance which were deeply appreciated and well deserved.  These can be a part of their permanent record and hopefully will help them get into graduate education, e.g. law schools and doctoral programs, to which they aspire.

Conference 2000
This year got off to a very quick start and planning and research has been going on since last October.  Little time was lost in discovering a new topic of interest and distributing surveys to more universities with other students becoming actively involved.   There will be five students who are flying in to Las Vegas to present this years material in October.  University
professors have been helping the students have more opportunity to discuss their interests.

This years presenters will be from a multitude of universities; all coordinating their research through meetings and be e-mail.  The presenters will be Thomas Walker, MA, Psychology, freshly graduated from Duquesne University in Pennsylvania, Jason Dietz, criminal justice and social policy, Kutztown University, Kevin Sunday, Biology major, Kutztown University, Juan Abreau, who just returned from being a visiting student in Venezuela, from Penn State, University Park, and Sgt. Marie Mutz, psychology and social policy major, Harrisburg campus, Penn State University.

Other students such as Zachery James Schroedel, engineering, Lehigh University, and Jared Harvest, Engineering major, Villanova University, have been invaluable in helping distribute and becoming involved in the research.

The presentations have provided a way to allow students to work with professionals, to meet other professionals, and become involved in a mentor/student relationship.  Some quotes concerning the feelings of the students are as follows:

"Research has allowed me to expand my intellectual and academic pursuits.  Working with fellow students has also given me a tremendous amount of camaraderie with my peers.  The APA has given me the opportunity to work with expert professionals in the field of psychology, and has strengthened my market ability for graduate school."  Jason Dietz, senior, Kutztown University.

"The opportunity of working with an experienced Ph.D. (Dr. Sarno-Kristofits) compiling, writing, and distributing a survey, has enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of the research process than I could have achieved by taking a traditional college course.  I hope to further my studies in this area now, and hope to continue my education by attending law school or graduate school in the very near future.  Working with others in this capacity has been an invaluable experience for me. "  Sgt. Marie Mutz,  U.S. Army and Penn State University.

"Being an education major, and being a non-traditional student, I find it quite rewarding and somewhat humbling to be able to participate in this research, doing the survey, abstract and presentation.  The research was engaging, the abstract allowed me to focus, and the presentation to the APA will become a very valuable addition to me life experiences.  Finally, working with Dr. Sarno-Kristofits was a rewarding aspect from the point of learning research, analyzing data and ending with her modeling in the course of human interaction."  Kevin Sunday, Senior, Kutztown University.

"I cannot tell you when I have been this excited.  It has provided me with an opportunity to interact with students from other Universities, and work as a team to pull this presentation together.  I am really looking forward to Las Vegas."  Thomas Walker, M.A., a recent graduate from Duquesne University.


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