Mason McFee
Student Writer

New York City – the city that never sleeps, full of bright lights, home to Times Square and the Eastern Psychological Association Conference…wait, what?

Over this past spring break, a group of six Messiah students and three professors traveled to the Eastern Psychological Association Conference in New York City through grants they received from SGA and the Dean’s Office.

Megan Hendricks, Hope Blackford, Nicole Harland, Ashley Burkett, Sara Wagner and Katrina Williams were led by Dr. Diane Brockman, Dr. Valerie Lemmon and Dr. Jennifer Thomson—all professors from Messiah’s psychology department. Each of the six students were paired with a research partner, some with students from other colleges.

Blackford and Hendricks

Sophomores Hope Blackford (left) and Megan Hendricks (right) with their research; photos courtesy of Blackford.

Sophomore psychology majors, Megan Hendricks and Hope Blackford, were paired with two girls from Dickinson College. While at the conference, they conducted research on romantic relationships and how satisfied people in those types of relationships were. The group found that men generally thought they had fewer options with girls even though statistics prove otherwise.

They also tested perceptions of one-night stands. According to Hendricks and Blackford, the differences of opinion that arose in the research could be attributed to Messiah’s visitation rules and more rigid stance on the subject as opposed to Dickinson’s.

Both Hendricks and Blackford agreed it was a very positive and rewarding experience. Hendricks says a man at the conference took a picture of their research because he found it interesting: “It was really encouraging to have someone be that interested in something we did,” Hendricks said.

EPA Conference

Hendricks and Blackford with Dr. Diane Brockman.

“Everyone was super friendly, and even if we were criticized about their research, it was constructive and intended to be helpful,” Blackford added.

Students also had the opportunity to sit in on a research presentation by Messiah’s own Dr. Thomson.

“It was interesting to hear all the people with higher degrees engage what Dr. Thomson was saying,” Hendricks said. “You can talk about psychology at Messiah, but not in the same way that we got to engage those at the convention, which I really appreciated.”

All in all, both students agreed it was a mind-boggling trip! If you or someone you know is interested in obtaining a grant through SGA, visit the Career and Professional Development Center for more information.