From April 21 to 25, sixteen psychology majors and four professors from Pacific Union College took a short, mid-term break to attend the Western Psychological Association (WPA) convention in Cancun, Mexico. At the convention sponsored by Psi Chi, the national honor society of psychology, the students presented two posters, met recruiters from graduate schools, and even listened to PUC alum Cara Tan give a symposium, all while enjoying the tropical sun and the beautiful beach of their hotel.
"Cancun was beautiful and awesome, but it was also a very good learning experience," says sophomore Jessica Cerda. "It was really important that the professors in our department really encouraged this."
Last year, these students took a lab for their child development class, in which they were assigned articles and instructed to conduct research on them. For both groups, the findings were significant. Because of their results, the professors urged them to submit an application to present at WPA. After sending in an abstract, they were accepted, and the process of perfecting their presentation began.
At WPA, Cerda and her fellow group members presented their research on the effect of ethnic awareness on job association, while the other group presented their study of the effect of spanking on children.
Presenting at WPA is an incredible opportunity for students who wish to attend graduate school. "Most people don’t have the chance to present posters at WPA, so we’re lucky that we had the chance to put our names out there in the world of psychology," says Cerda. "It's a great asset to students in our department."
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