A Guide to Attending Academic Conferences

by Olivia Thornburg, '18

Why should I go to an academic conference?

  • You are exposed to formal presentations in the forms of posters and papers.
  • It’s a chance to network and meet others with similar research interests.
  • It’s a great addition to your resume.
  • If presenting, you gain experience in sharing your research with ordinary people and with others in the field.

What advice do you have for students interested in attending an academic conference?

  1. Dress for Success: Whether you’re just attending or presenting, ALWAYS wear appropriate clothing. For conferences, this means wearing business clothes.
  2. Practice, Practice, Practice: If you’re presenting a poster or paper, be sure to olivia-posterpractice your entire presentation several times through with willing friends, classmates, or professors. This way, you can clarify any confusing segments or just keep the information fresh in your mind.
  3. Bring a Notebook: Bring something to jot down any research ideas that come to mind or to write down the names and contact information of people you meet.
  4. Mingle: It is daunting when you go to your first conference, but really challenge yourself to mingle. You either find someone with similar interests or you make a new friend!
  5. Reflect: After going to a conference, be sure to reflect on what you learned, what interested you, and went well and what could go better regarding your presentation. Maybe even write these things down so you can improve next time!

What about the logistics of going to a conference?

  • Cost: Typically, there is a membership fee as well as an attendance fee for these conferences. For example, the fee to attend the New England Psychological Association conference is $30 which covers membership fees for the year as well as the attendance fee for the conference. Also, people usually provide their own transportation, but at least one other person from the psychology department attends and is usually very willing to arrange rides. Plus, you can include on your resume that you are a member of that academic association.
  • Location: Often conferences will vary from one year to the next, but you can look on their websites to identify where they will be held in the future.

What conferences do students and professors in psychology go to?

Welcome Back!

by Abigail Mark, ’18

Welcome back, Anselmians, and welcome, Anselmians who join us for your first year on the hilltop this fall! Just as importantly, though, welcome to the Psychology Department Blog. Whether you are a major, a minor or simply someone interested in the fascinating field we study, our blog aims to connect, inform, and engage our readers. Here, you’ll find articles written by professors and students with information about upcoming events, ongoing projects and research from our department, and interesting topics from our field. To start, here are some great opportunities for involvement in the Department of Psychology:

Psychology Ambassadors

The Psychology Ambassadors are a group of students who represent and are involved in the endeavors of the department. Ambassadors, clothed in spiffy, navy polos, can be seen chatting with potential majors at open houses, giving department tours ambassadors-2016-for-blogwith faculty members and attending dinners and talks with distinguished guest speakers. Pictured here are the newest inductees to the program: Olivia Griffin, Olivia Thornburg, Steph Conti, Taylor Francis, Lisette Labbe, Maria Soto, Caroline Braverman, Madeline Pratte and Alexis Caldwell, as well as returning ambassadors Richie Curran, Elizabeth Gallagher and Abby Mark. If you are interested in becoming a Psychology Ambassador, keep your eye out for an email announcing the next call for applications.

Psi Chi

Psi Chi is the International Honor Society of Psychology. It is considered both a psi-chi-logopersonal honor and a sizable academic achievement to be inducted. Members meet regularly throughout the semester and often attend conferences and annual meetings of organizations such as the New Hampshire Psychology Association, the New England Psychology Association, and even the American Psychological Association. Professor Finn and Professor Ossoff co-sponsor the Chapter on campus, and eligible students are contacted, usually in the spring semester, with information about induction and membership.

Psychology Club

A unique feature of the Psychology Club is that, unlike the organizations previously mentioned, it is open to anyone regardless of major or academic status. It’s aim is to involve the Saint Anselm College community in our department’s work, something which we hope one and all will feel welcome and encouraged to be a part of. The club meets regularly, organizes, and attends psychology-related events.

Guest Speakers

Keep an eye out for upcoming speakers on campus. It is no secret that the college community is constantly inundated with e-mails, but if you receive one regarding a guest speaker in Psychology on campus, don’t ignore it! Our very own Department Chair, Professor Ossoff, is scheduled to give an upcoming talk related to the ever-hot election topic. Distinguished psychologists are no stranger to the Saint Anselm College campus, and their talks are relevant, captivating and worth attending for both enjoyment and expanding your academic horizons.

Lastly, and importantly, please know that you are always welcome in our department. Barbara’s couches are a comfortable, quiet haven to do homework upon, Professor McKenna’s enthusiastic “Hello!” could be heard from a mile away, and Professor Rickenbach may, if you’re lucky, have baby Jack on her arm walking down the hall. Stop by and say hello sometime. We hope to see you involved in some of our programs and present at some of our exciting events. Lastly, pay a visit to our blog monthly for new posts which are sure to challenge you, interest you and excite you for this year in psychology to come!

Senior Shannon Sholds presents INBRE research at Eastern Psychological Association meeting

by Mackenzie Wild, '16

This past year, Shannon Sholds, a senior Psychology major, conducted research as part of the Idea Network of Biomedical Research (INBRE) summer research program.  The INBRE program gives students the opportunity to stay on campus, with housing and a stipend, during the summer to conduct research under shannonthe mentorship of Saint Anselm College faculty. Last summer, Shannon Sholds worked with Professor Paul Finn from the Psychology department to examine the effect of exercise intensity on body pH as well as changes in sleep, mood, and taste threshold. In this post, Shannon shares her experiences with her research, the INBRE program, and presenting this project at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association.

Could you tell me a little about your study and your hypothesis? The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in overall body pH, sleep, mood, and taste threshold that occur over the course of a collegiate Division II Cross Country season. Our hypothesis was as aerobic training decreased and anaerobic training increased, overall body pH (as measured by salivary pH) would shift from alkaline to slightly acidic. This shift in pH would effect a change in sleep disturbances in the athlete, with concomitant changes in mood and taste threshold. It was also hypothesized that before the championship meet, participants would exhibit negative changes in mood and decreases in sleep quality.

What were your findings? Were you surprised by your findings? Our hypotheses were partially supported. We did not find significant changes in salivary pH measured by pH strips, but changes in exercise intensity were demonstrated by the heart rate and mileage changes recorded from the Fitbit watches worn by the athletes. We also did not find significant changes in taste threshold using electrogustometry. We did find significant changes in mood: measures of vigor decreased, while measures of anger, confusion, fatigue, depression, tension, and overall mood disturbance all increased. The athletes also reported being significantly more tired and sad, and the Fitbit sleep data showed they were significantly more restless at night. Some of the findings were surprising, because although they reported being tired during the day, most of the athletes reported that they got plenty of sleep. The Fitbit data however, showed that this was not the case. Although they were sleeping for a normal amount of time, the athletes were restless for most of the night and missing out on the restorative REM sleep they needed. It was surprising to see how hard it can be to self-report sleep. It was also nice to see that the negative changes in mood that runners talk about while tapering is a substantial claim.

What made you interested in athletes in this way? Being a runner myself, I experienced what it was like to feel cranky and “off” during a taper (decreasing mileage). Tapering usually happens in the week or so before a championship meet, and it can be really hard to mentally feel prepared for that when you haven’t been getting much sleep and feel all these negative emotions. Running is truly addictive. When you become accustomed to a certain level of sympathetic arousal that you achieve from running 60 miles a week, dropping down to 10 miles that week feels similar to going through withdrawals. I wanted to do this study to help athletes understand this process, and hopefully prevent some burnout that they may be susceptible at this time. I also wanted to make coaches and trainers aware that these reports from their athletes are substantial and it may be difficult to motivate athletes during this time of the season.

How did you get involved with INBRE? Many of my friends from the chemistry department had been involved with INBRE over the summer and loved the experience. I was unsure about whether or not I was ready for the research process, but Professor Finn motivated me to try and I’m really glad I did.

What suggestions would you give to students who hope to apply for INBRE grants in the future? Make sure you choose to work with a professor that has the same research interests as you and that work well with. Start the process as early as possible, and make sure you love what you are researching.

What was your favorite thing about presenting at EPA? What was most difficult? My favorite part of presenting at EPA was getting to talk about my research to people with a wide array of backgrounds. It was a really fulfilling experience to talk to statisticians, sports psychologists, other undergrads, etc. because they all come with different questions and expertise. The most difficult part was feeling confident about my work. It is really hard to avoid comparing your work to everyone else’s and stressing over how much more you could have done.

What do you think the advantages are to presenting at a professional conference such as EPA? What did you gain? I would definitely love to present at a conference again. It is a great way to expand your knowledge, build confidence with your work, and make connections. For the most part the environment at a poster session is really supportive, which allows students to practice presenting their interests in an intimate setting with people that are genuinely interested in your findings.