rc psychology highlight: Research

Claire McDonald and Ben Campbell, both psychology seniors at Roanoke College, were recently featured on Roanoke’s website for their research experience. You can check out the full page here.

Claire McDonald, Class of 2022

Claire wasn’t sure what degree she wanted to pursue when she first came to Roanoke College. But during the fall semester of her sophomore year, she enrolled in a developmental psychology class, taught by Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand, assistant professor of psychology. She loved the class and, consequently, found her major.

In the spring of her sophomore year, McDonald joined a lab managed by Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand, which focused on adolescent and young adult peer relationships. This sparked her interest in research within psychology. This fall, Claire plans to work as a research intern at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem. She hopes to apply to graduate school to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology with a specific interest in research related to dementia and cognitive impairment in older adults — experience Claire said she hopes to gain at the VA Medical Center. But she’s not the only psychology student that has recently made big steps in their research experience…

“Research has played a huge role in my college career and in my development as a student. It has been the most crucial and beneficial part of my college experience.”

Ben Campbell, Class of 2022

Ben Campbell has used his interest in relational aggression, peer social dynamics and gender to formulate a study. He used the study to apply for the College’s Summer Scholars Program and received the prestigious award, enabling him to carry a project titled “Effects of elicited jealousy on masculinity and relational aggression in men.” You can check out more info on his research journey in our previous blog post, found here.

In recent years, approximately 30 students each semester have been involved in research. The experiences are important not just for information discovery, but also for deepened learning, enhanced training on specific topics or methods, and the development of skills that graduate training programs and employers in careers utilizing psychology look for and highly value. As a research assistant, students also develop professional and mentoring relationships with their faculty mentor, and refine critical thinking and statistical reasoning skills.

“The experience to contribute to a discipline in a larger way is a special opportunity,” Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand said. “Apart from the professional skills developed, the research experiences students at Roanoke are involved in also contribute to the sense of community we have in the department.”

Research is the bedrock of the student experience in Roanoke College’s psychology department, which brought the College its seventh consecutive “Great Schools for Psychology Majors” recognition in The Princeton Review’s annual “Best Colleges” guidebook, released on Aug. 31.




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