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Students present research at Carolinas Psychology Conference

Eight Erskine students, including one graduating senior, attended the Carolinas Psychology Conference this spring at Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina, accompanied by Instructor of Psychology Dr. Cynthia Midcalf, who taught the students in her research class.

Students making the trip to the conference included Matthias Benoit, Neal Blank, Alexis Bruce, Andrew Gaines, Josh Mundy, Raisa Real Pagieva, Caroline Van Deusen, and Sierra Wolter. Among this group were five students giving presentations.

Matthias Benoit, from Paris, France, is a psychology major and a member of the men’s basketball team. “My presentation was about whether or not music has an effect on our mood,” he explains. “I made people listen to four different types of songs, then made them assess how they felt.” He will be a senior in the fall and plans to return to his native country for a master’s degree and is interested in a career “as a therapist for kids with autism and/or as a family therapist.”

Neal Blank, of Camden, S.C., is a double major in psychology and history with a minor in biology. A member of the men’s soccer team, he has served as SGA vice president, secretary of the Erskine Society for Psychology, and vice president of programs for the honor society Alpha Chi. His presentation, “Metastudy Finds Mental Illness the Largest Risk Factor in Recidivism,” analyzed factors contributing to criminal relapse. He hopes to pursue graduate study in psychology and a career connected with forensics in relation to law enforcement and corrections. “Not only did I enjoy presenting my study, I also was very interested in the presentations by other students,” the rising senior says.

Andrew Gaines, also a psychology major and a rising senior, is from Ware Shoals, S.C., and has been active in SGA, South Carolina Student Legislature, and the Erskine Society for Psychology. His presentation was entitled “Face Value.” In his hypothesis, he predicted that “individuals who are rated more attractive will be rated more likely to act in positive ways.” He plans to begin a year of study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland beginning in the fall and would like to complete a Ph.D. in psychology and become a research professor.

Josh Mundy, of Aiken, S.C., graduated in May, completing a major in biology with minors in psychology and chemistry. Active in the South Carolina Student Legislature, he was a Euphemian and served as Intersociety Chair. In “Anxiety, Motivation, and the Locus of Control,” his research sought to “identify a correlation between all three variables that would provide insight to how people work in different situations, and what environment best supports their best learning and occupational performances.” He plans to take a gap year, gain work experience, and then pursue a medical degree.

Raisa Real Pagieva, of Dallas, Ga., a member of the women’s beach volleyball team, is a rising junior majoring in psychology with a minor in art. She serves as Judicial Council Chair and is president of the Erskine Society for Psychology. Her research, “Correlation Between Racial Bias and Mental Health,” “suggests no significance in the relationship between racial bias and abnormal mental health,” she says. “It was stressful to present my work in front of people, but it felt great to do it,” she says, adding, “I also enjoyed hearing my peers’ presentations and their passion for what they worked so hard on and researched.” She is considering a career in the field of psychology.

Pictured above, from left, are Dr. Cynthia Midcalf, Caroline Van Deusen, Andrew Gaines, Raisa Real Pagieva, Alexis Bruce, Sierra Wolter, Neal Blank, Matthias Benoit, and Josh Mundy.

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