Seniors Jennifer Bitgood and Kristin Peachey presented research at the 63rd Annual Pennsylvania Sociological Society Conference at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Pa.
Bitgood presented “Starved for Attention: The Effects of Race and Gender on Perceptions of Eating Disorders” in a student paper session. Bitgood’s research included data analysis from a secondary survey. The research was conducted throughout two semesters in union with the courses Bitgood had taken: Methods of Social Research and Social Statistics.
“I am interested in health and individuals’ well-being and was able to learn more about that during the research process and presentation,” Bitgood said.
Peachey presented preliminary results from her honors in the discipline project in a student research poster session titled, “To Lead or not to Lead? Evaluating Student Satisfaction with an Undergraduate Leadership Development Program.” Her thesis evaluates student satisfaction in the Called to Lead program. “I am collecting the data from my research through focus groups and surveys,” Peachey said.
“The poster I presented at the conference displayed the results of my focus groups,” Peachey said. The research began last semester after completing a research proposal. This proposal included an introduction, literature review and methodologies of her thesis. “This semester I am collecting and analyzing my data and the last step will be to make my recommendations to the Called to Lead program concerning how to increase student satisfaction with the program,” Peachey said. The research process is predicted to take a year.
The poster session included three judges, who visited presenters individually, asking them questions about their project. Other conference attendees were welcome to ask the presenters questions and review the posters as well.
This was not Peachey’s first conference. She previously presented at the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Social Research Conference in 2012 and 2013. She also attended the College’s Scholarship and Creative Arts Day in 2013. When asked what she would do differently in regards to the presentation she responded, “I would not do anything differently if given the chance. This was the first time I presented using a poster rather than a PowerPoint presentation, so I was a bit nervous beforehand. When the judges asked me questions, I was able to explain my project well, and I felt confident in my responses.”
This was also not Bitgood’s first conference; she previously presented at the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Social Research Conference and the American Sociological Association’s Annual Conference as part of the Honors Program.
Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Michele Lee Kozimor-King felt that both Bitgood and Peachey have excellent research and presentation skills. “They are detail oriented, dedicated and thorough in their research and presentation. I think what impresses me the most is how they seek out opportunities to present their research and do not shy away from the challenge,” Kozimor-King said.
Kozimor-King was the faculty sponsor for their research paper submission for the Pennsylvania Sociological Society. “I am the advisor for Peachey’s honors in the discipline thesis. I mentored her through the entire process from thesis proposal in the spring to her current research, which was ongoing. I also assisted her with the creation of the poster,” Kozimor-King said.
She is also Bitgood’s faculty advisor for her honors in the discipline thesis. “I have worked with both of these women in many capacities in the past. Peachey and I have been in a mentoring relationship since she chose the major. They are currently my teaching assistants for both Research Methods and Statistical Analysis.”
“They are truly dedicated social researchers. They are also dedicated teaching assistants. They assist the students and me in my class selflessly as servant leaders. It is an honor and privilege to work with them and attend the conference with them,” Kozimor-King said.