A Day of Learning: The Mentored Student Research Conference

Students from across the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences gathered virtually for the 17th annual Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference on Thursday, April 8. After opening remarks from President Kevin Worthen and a brief talk from Loren Marks, professor in the School of Family Life, participants watched as awards were announced for outstanding posters from each discipline.  

These research posters are a representation of the great scholarship being carried out by our undergraduate and graduate students. Experiential learning is a core part of the college’s aim to prepare students to be active participants in their respective disciplines. Through the conference, students are given the opportunity to share their work in a professional setting; this opportunity not only builds resume, but also helps prepare students with tools for success in their future careers.  

The conference is funded by the Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. See the list of awards below and view all posters and a recording of the awards ceremony at https://fultonchair.byu.edu.  

Undergraduate Awards 

Anthropology 

1st Place— 

Student: Abigail Rivera 

Mentor: David Johnson 

Poster: Paleopathology Report for Excavations at Wadi Mataha 

Economics 

1st Place— 

Student: Carver Coleman 

Mentor: Joseph Price 

Poster: Mortality Benefits of Non-pharmaceutical Intervention During the 1918 Flu Pandemic 

Geography 

1st Place— 

Student: Casey McClellan Geslison 

Mentor: Sam Otterstrom 

Poster: ’To Hold the World Together’: A Uinta Basin Homesteading History, 1905–1930 

History 

1st Place— 

Student: Jinhee Nelson  

Mentor:Rebecca de Schweinitz 

Poster: From the Eisenhower Presidential Library- Young People in Politics 

2nd Place— 

Students: Steven Tarno, Abigail Davidson, AJ Tower 

Mentor: Dr. Skabelund 

Poster: “To Lose a Voice: The Systematic Suppression of Women within Nazi Germany” 

Neuroscience 

1st Place— 

Students: Shawna Ibarra, James Bates, Summer Arthur, Gavin Jones, Tanner McVey, and Dallin Otteson 

Mentors: Scott Steffensen and Jordan Yorgason 

Poster: Shaking for Relief: Reducing Anxiety in Alcohol Withdrawal 

2nd Place— 

Students: Lindsey Edwards, Roger Woods, Lesle Nevillle 

Mentors: J. Dee Higley, Elizabeth Wood, Jacob Hunter 

Poster: MAOa-Genotype-by-Environment Interactions on Central Monoamine Metabolite Concentrations in Infant Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta) 

Political Science 

1st Place— 

Students: Kelsey Eyre, Kesley Powell, Heather Walker 

Mentor: Jeremy Pope 

Poster: White Identity Does Not Equal Racial Resentment 

2nd Place— 

Students: Grant Baldwin and Zeke Peters 

Mentor: Adam Dynes 

Poster: At Large But Not in Charge: How Formal Institutions Affect Minority Representation on US City Councils 

3rd Place— 

Students: Ethan Meldrum, Camilla Alacron, Layla Shaaban 

Mentor: Ethan Busby 

Poster: Whistle While You Work: What Attributes Influence Whistleblower Credibility? 

4th Place— 

Student: George R. Garcia III 

Mentor: Darren Hawkins 

Poster: International Reverberations: How the January 6th Insurrection Affected Political Views of South American Bureaucrats 

Psychology  

1st Place— 

Students: Alex Merce and Maryn Rolfson 

Mentor: Wendy Birmingham 

Poster: Breadwinners and Bread Makers: Trends in Gender Ideology Among Religious Working and Stay-at-Home Mothers 

2nd Place— 

Students: Alice Wang, Samuel Castillo, Fatma Luka, Tyler Parra, and Josely Velasquez 

Mentor: Niwako Yamawaki 

Poster: Misinformation and Education Level on Discriminatory Behavior Toward Asian Victims During COVID-19 

3rd Place— 

Students: Leslie Neville, Elysha Cash, and Elijeh Tauai 

Mentors: J.D. Higley and Elizabeth K. Wood 

Poster: Inherent Sensitivity and Acquired Tolerance to the NMDA-Antagonist Ketamine is Associated with Alcohol Intake: A Nonhuman Primate (Macaca mulatta) 

4th Place— 

Students: Colt Mitchell Halter and Elysha Cash 

Mentor: Dr. Higley 

Poster: Translating Kagan’s Human Testing Paradigm for Measuring Behavioral Inhibition four Use Infant Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta)—A Pilot Study 

School of Family Life 

1st Place— 

Students: Logan J. Marks and Heather H. Kelley 

Mentors: Loren D. Marks, David C. Dollahite, and Spencer James 

Poster: Change in Financial Stress and Relational Wellbeing during COVID-19: Exacerbating and Alleviating Influences 

2nd Place— 

Student: Annie Rushton 

Mentors: Erin Homes and Jeremy Yorgason 

Poster: What Did You Preconceive Before You Conceived 

3rd Place— 

Students: Danielle Cannon, Jessica Willis, and Elisabeth Kimball 

Mentors: Loren Marks and David Dollahite 

Poster: Strong Black Families: Unique Strengths and Challenges to Religious Black Families 

4th Place—    

Student: Corinne Archibald 

Mentor: Laura Walker 

Poster: Sexual Development: Influence of Peers and Media on Adolescent Sex Ethics and Behaviors when Parent Communication Quality is Low 

Sociology 

1st Place— 

Student: Emley Holcombe 

Mentor: Melissa S. Jones 

Poster: Early Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adolescent Substance Use: Boys vs Girls 

2nd Place— 

Student: Brianna Walker 

Mentor: Melissa S. Jones 

Poster: Police, Teen Cynicism & Gender 

3rd Place— 

Student: Michele Castro 

Mentor: Curtis Child 

Poster: Sisterhood is the Most Beautiful Gift: The Social Meaning of Direct Sales 

4th Place— 

Student: Ashley Kernan 

Mentors: Melissa S. Jones and Rick Miller 

Poster: Affects of Childhood Adversities on Women Prisoners Who Experience PTSD 

Graduate Awards 

Psychology 

1st Place— 

Student: Maddy Peterson 

Mentor: Jared Nielsen 

Poster: Extra-axial Cerebrospinal Fluid Volume Normalizes with Age in Autistic Individuals 

School of Family Life 

1st Place— 

Student: Rebecca Walker Clarke 

Mentors: Chelom Leavitt and Jeremy Yorgason 

Poster: Honoring Otherness: Religiosity and Marital Connection Through Empathy and Commitment 

2nd Place— 

Students: Alexandra Cooper and Matthew Daines 

Mentor: Jeremy Yorgason 

Poster: Too Fit to Quit: Relationship Benefits of Exercise in Early Marriage 

3rd Place— 

Student: Amber Price 

Mentor: Chelom E. Leavitt 

Poster: Self-silencing & Emotional Intimacy in Romantic Relationships 

Social Work  

1st Place— 

Student: Spencer Sandberg 

Mentors: Sherinah Saasa and Steve Hoffman 

Poster: Exclusion, Drugs, & African Immigrants: Testing Social Exclusion Theory 

2nd Place— 

Student: Abena Yirenya-Tawiah 

Mentors: Sherinah Saasa and Joseph Olsen 

Poster: Perceived Parental Involvement and Self-Efficacy among children in Zambia 

3rd Place— 

Student: Kirra Crump 

Mentors: Stacey Shaw and Mallory Funk 

Poster: Refugees and Religion: The Impact of Religious Coping on Emotional Distress and Resilience 

4th Place— 

Student: Tucker Wallace 

Mentor: Steve Hoffman 

Poster: I Think I Can: How Health Literacy Influences Self-Efficacy Among College Students 

Sociology 

1st Place— 

Students: Taylor Topham, Breanna Duffin, Hannah Dizon, Avanlee Peterson, Alex Rieder, and Jordan Coburn 

Mentor: Carol Ward 

Poster: Native Americans in STEM: A Case Study of Mentored Internships 

Neuroscience 

1st Place— 

Students: Hillary Wadsworth, Gavin C Jones, James Bates, Summer Arthur, Tanner McVey, Dallin Otteson, Shawna Ibarra, and Parker Layton 

Mentors: Jeremy Yorgason and Scott Steffensen 

Poster: Virus-Induced Inhibition of Mu Opioid Receptors and Anxiety in Mice 

Anthropology 

1st Place— 

Student: Jacob Jepsen 

Mentor: Michael Searcy 

Poster: Detecting Remnants of the Past: Archaeo-Geophysical Prospection at Wolf Village, Utah 

Additional Awards 

Redd Center 

1st Place— 

Student: Casey McClellan Geslison 

Mentor: Sam Otterstrom 

Poster: “To Hold the World Together”: A Uinta Basin Homesteading History, 1905–1930 

2nd Place— 

Students: Nadia Gisselle Terron Ayala, Catalina Valdez, and Rachel Weaver 

Mentor: Jane Lopez 

Poster: Shades of Belonging: The Intersection of Race and Religion in Shaping Utah Immigrants’ Integration 

Civic Engagement 

1st Place—Camilla Alarcon 

Mentor: Jay Goodliffe 

Poster: A Latent Class Analysis of Methods of Political Participation 

Gerontology 

1st Place— 

Student: Carver J. Coleman 

Mentor: C. Arden Pope III 

Poster: Greenness is Associated with Decreased Mortality Risk in Cancer Patients 

Diversity and Inclusion 

1st Place— 

Students: Nadia Gisselle Terron Ayala, Catalina Valdez, and Rachel Weaver 

Mentor: Jane Lopez 

Poster: Shades of Belonging: The Intersection of Race and Religion in Shaping Utah Immigrants’ Integration 

2nd Place— 

Students: Taylor Topham, Breanna Duffin, Hannah Dixon, Avanlee Peterson, Alex Rieder, and Jordan Coburn 

Mentor: Carol Ward 

Poster: Native Americans in STEM: A Case Study of Mentored Internships 

3rd Place— 

Student: Samuel Hale Pulsipher 

Mentor: Aaron Skabelund 

Poster: Himmler’s Persecution: His Mistreatment of Homosexuals in the Third Reich 

4th Place— 

Student: Ruth Kaloki Bryson 

Mentors: Anthony Bates and Ben Ogles 

Poster: BYU Students’ Experiences with the African American Civil Rights Seminar 

To view all posters, visit the conference page.   

Childhood adversity shapes adolescent delinquency, fatherhood

Written by Christine Allen of University Communications

Photo by Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

About 61% of Americans have had at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), experts’ formal term for a traumatic childhood event.

ACEs—which may include abuse, neglect and severe household dysfunction—often lead to psychological and social struggles that reach into adulthood, making ACEs a major public health challenge. But the long-term consequences of ACEs are just beginning to be understood in detail. To fill in the picture, two recent BYU studies analyzed how ACEs shape adolescents’ delinquent behaviors as well as fathers’ parenting approaches.

ACEs linked to girls’—but not boys’—delinquent behavior

Although the role of adversity in adolescent delinquency has long been examined in the field of criminology, only in the past decade have criminologists referred to these events as ACEs and seriously considered how early ACEs predict a person’s delinquency, according to BYU sociology professors Hayley Pierce and Melissa S. Jones.

In their study of that relationship, published in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Pierce and Jones showed that ACEs do have a significant effect on teenagers’ criminal behavior—at least for girls. Girls who experienced four or more ACEs by age five, during the most sensitive period of brain development, were 36% more likely to participate in delinquent behavior. Boys’ delinquent behavior, on the other hand, appeared unrelated to early ACEs, although boys have an overall higher rate of delinquency.

“These results run counter to previous research suggesting that girls are far more likely than boys to internalize trauma through developing an eating disorder or other self-harming behaviors,” said Jones. “What we find here is the opposite: girls are externalizing trauma through delinquent acts.”

Pierce and Jones drew their data from the longitudinal Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study. The survey examined childhood adversity and adolescent behavior over a 15-year period for approximately 5,000 children, with a high proportion born to poor, single-parent or minority families in the U.S.

“Our analysis points toward the need for gendered strategies in working with children with ACEs because the different ways boys and girls are socialized shape how they process trauma,” Jones said.

The study should also promote compassion and understanding for adolescents who act out, the researchers emphasized.

“One of the most important things I teach in my juvenile delinquency class is that delinquency is a symptom of an underlying problem,” said Jones. “If an adolescent is getting arrested, there’s often something else going on in the child’s life, such as problems at home.”

“When adolescents engage in delinquency, it’s important first to ask, ‘Okay, what got you here?’ and work from that knowledge,” Pierce added.

ACEs predict less warmth, more harsh discipline in fathers

Even though ACEs may not be linked to teen boys’ delinquency, having ACEs earlier in life does apparently impact how men parent.

Most existing research on ACEs and parenting focuses on mothers and looks exclusively at abuse. Curious about ACEs’ effects on fathers and the wider range of ACEs that may influence more day-to-day aspects of parenting, BYU sociologist Kevin Shafer and Scott Easton of Boston College decided to examine parenting patterns in men with past ACEs.

In a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, they found that fathers who had experienced at least three ACEs were more likely to use harsh disciplinary techniques. Compared to the mothers with ACEs from previous studies, these men were also less likely to exhibit positive parenting characteristics, such as giving affection to their kids, providing care for young children and being emotionally supportive. The more ACEs a father had, the greater their effect on his parenting.

ACEs likely influence fathering partly because ACEs are associated with poor mental health, including depression, anxiety or anger management problems. Mental health challenges in turn influence how men parent their children.

“While on the face of it that sounds bad, it’s weirdly also a good thing because even though ACEs happened in the past and can’t be changed, you can get treatment for mental health issues in the present,” said Shafer. “When men get that help, they can blunt the impact of their ACEs on how they parent their kids, and that improves their kids’ outcomes. So their own childhood isn’t destiny.”

The study analyzed data from the 2015–16 U.S. Survey of Contemporary Fatherhood, which queried over 2,000 fathers about their adverse childhood experiences, degree of psychological distress and parenting habits.

The connection between ACEs and negative fathering techniques is especially indicative of the “untreated trauma” suffered by many men, which Shafer believes is “one of the biggest public health issues we have.”

“When men get that help, they can blunt the impact of their ACEs on how they parent their kids, and that improves their kids’ outcomes. So their own childhood isn’t destiny.”

Kevin Shafer, BYU Professor of Sociology

“We have a lot of individuals walking around with ACEs going untreated, and our study shows that has a wide-ranging impact on people in their lives,” said Shafer. A big part of the solution would be a “comprehensive public mental health strategy” for fathers, which may include better incorporating fathers into the childbirth experience and early pediatric care, as well as regularly screening fathers for mental health, he concluded.

Media Contact: Tyler Stahle