Top Posters Selected at the Mentored Student Research Conference

Thursday, April 7 marked BYU’s Eighteenth Annual Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference. With a total of 261 posters from 276 students in the nine departments in the College of Family Home and Social Sciences, the event was a major hit. Students from each department worked with faculty mentors to create engaging and informative research posters, then gained experience presenting to fellow students and other visitors.

After two years of hosting this event virtually, we were thrilled to see all our student presenters in person again. This year’s conference featured a new prize drawing for attendees who spoke to presenters about their posters, as well as students’ choice awards. All awards were presented at the luncheon after the conference.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Undergraduate Awards

Place/ DepartmentWinner(s)Faculty Mentor(s)Title 
1st AnthropologyAlyssa Terrill PittsScott UreTan Great Salt Lake Gray Ceramic Variant at Snow Farm, Payson, Utah
1st EconomicsMena VillanuevaRiley WilsonHow Does Legal Status Affect Immigrants’ Geographic Mobility? Evidence from DACA
1st GeographyLilli Jewell, Jakob Rogers, Samantha BotswickMatt BekkerTree Ring Analysis of James Strang’s Michigan Kingdom
1st HistoryKaitlyn HillamAmy HarrisYouth on the Move: Internal Migration in Early Modern England
2nd HistoryLindsey MezaDavid-James GonzalesUnofficial Segregation: The Citrus Industry and Hispanic Segregation in Orange County, CA 1900-1940
3rd HistoryDallin Webb, Brayden Lane, Kathryn BlauAaron SkabelundMovies and Memories: Post-War Generational Rifts and Grave of the Fireflies
1st NeuroscienceHannah Brundage, Serin Lee, Jared McFarlaneJordan Yorgason, David ThomsonP39 Effects on Accumbal DA in Young vs. Old Mice
1st Political ScienceKesley Townsend, Jordan Gygi, Kelsey EyreChris Karpowitz, Quin MonsonHeretics and Hypocrites: Seeing Religious Guidance Through a Partisan Lens
2nd Political SciencePatricia MacCabeCeleste BeesleyBombs, Busts, and Babies: How National and Economic Insecurity Influence Attitudes Towards Childbearing in Taiwan
3rd Political ScienceIsaac OversonCeleste BeesleyThe Effect of Oil Wealth on Repression in Venezuela
Political Science Honorable MentionGrant Baldwin, Chris VazquezAdam DynesOh No! I’ve Accidentally Elected a Republican! The Effects of Nonpartisan Local Elections on City Council Partisan Composition
1st PsychologyAngie Bledsoe, Audrey ParkerMelissa Jones, Davey EreksonNavigating Conflict: What Helps LGBQ Students at a Religiously Conservative University Reconcile Their Faith and Sexuality
2nd PsychologyAna McCarl, Keeley Russel, Matt Dickinson, Christina Holt, Adam Orton, Joshua Christensen, Mason PillingBlake JonesHey Kids, What are You Cooking for Dinner?! Pilot Study of an Online Family Meal-Planning Calendar
3rd PsychologyJulia Cole, Anna Jorgenson, Jason M. Hoskin, Leini Jenkins, Spencer Jamison Wendy BirminghamTo Work or Not to Work: Perceived Stress in Working vs. Stay-at-Home Mothers
Psychology Honorable MentionMaya Criser, Marinne Hammond, Madison TurnerPatrick SteffenMeasuring Maladaptive Perfectionism in Emerging Adults at BYU Using the Religiosity and Maladaptive Perfectionism Scale (R-MPS)
1st School of Family LifeCorinne Archibald-Sato, Maihcen WareAdam Rogers, Ashley FraserKnowing Your Roots: The Effects of Ethnic Identity on Adolescent Mental Health and Discrimination
2nd School of Family LifeSarah Austin, Meiling Jiang, Madeline Meldrum, Sierra Livermore, Holly Harris, J. Andan SheppardSarah CoyneBorn Queer in the Covenant: The Impact of Latter-day Saint Culture on LGBTQIA+ Members
3rd School of Family LifeClare M. Gibeault, Julie Button, Priscilla DavisAdam RogersJust Calm Down: Parents’ Mental Health Shapes How They Respond to Their Child’s Anxiety
School of Family Life Honorable MentionTrey M. AguirreAdam RogersParental Intervention: Do Parent Relationships Mitigate the Effects of Bullying on Adolescent Children?
1st SociologyCamilla Cevallos Jalil, Margot RamfjordJane LopezThe Isolation of Immigrants Due to Low English Language Skills
2nd SociologyNatalie Herbst Durtschi, Rae HarbCurtis Child“Who am I? What do I believe? Where do I fit in?”: BYU Students’ Experiences with Faith Challenges
3rd SociologyHolly HarrisKevin Shafer, Mikaela DufurA Gendered Comparison of “Early COVID” Changes in Parental Childcare Activities on Parenting Stress
Sociology Honorable MentionAnya NowickiLance EricksonSpirituality as a Path Towards a More Meaningful Life

Graduate Awards

Place/ DepartmentWinner(s)Faculty Mentor(s)Title
1st Neuroscience Joakim Ronstroem, Hillary Wadsworth, Summer ArthurJordan YorgasonEffects on Acute and Chronic Morphine on Lateral Paracapsular Amygdala Circuitry
1st PsychologyHannah Brown, Audrey ParkerDavey EreksonMe, Myself, and I: Therapy and Self-Concept Change in College Students
1st School of Family LifeAvalon WhiteJeremy YorgasonPsychological Distress of Spousal Caregivers of Older Adults: The Moderating Role of Marital Quality
2nd School of Family LifeNaomi McAllisterJocelyn Wikle, Jeremy YorgasonPornography Use in the Couple Relationship: Ties to Partner Attachment, Depressive Symptoms, and Sexual Satisfaction
1st Social WorkRebekah Lauren HillSherinah Saasa, Steven HoffmanMore Borders to Cross: The Financial and Psychological Impact of Immigrant Discrimination During COVID-19
2nd Social WorkRebecca AllenDavid WoodE-learning and Its Effects on Social Work Students’ Confidence in Delivering Evidence-Based Interventions
3rd Social WorkHeather BerryhillStacey Shaw, Steven HoffmanBack to School: The Impact of Parental Factors on Student Engagement Outcomes Among Resettled Refugee Children in the U.S.
Social Work Honorable MentionHannah BrownCory DennisThe Impact of Suicidality and Spirituality on Substance Use Treatment Discharge
1st SociologyCarlee Guenther DynesHayley PierceMothers Matter: How Mothers’ Experiences Impact Rates of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) in Their Daughters

Center Awards

Place/ DepartmentWinner(s)Faculty Mentor(s)Title 
1st Civic EngagementGrant Baldwin, Chris VasquezAdam DynesOh No! I’ve Accidentally Elected a Republican! The Effects of Nonpartisan Local Elections on City Council Partisan Composition
1st Diversity, Collaboration, and InclusionCatalina ValdezMikaela DufurLinguistic Bonding: Heritage Language Use and Parent-Child Closeness in Immigrant Families
2nd Diversity, Collaboration, and InclusionJ. Andan SheppardAshley Fraser, Jocelyn WikleTwo Peas in a White Pod: White Parents’ Values as a Predictor of Children’s Cross-Race Friends
1st GerontologySeth OttoRay MerrillProstate-Specific Antigen Screening According to Health Professional Counseling and Age in the United States
1st Redd Center for Western StudiesAutumn Welling, Sophia HarrisRuth KerryA City Set on a Mine: Negative Effects of Mining on Utah Communities
2nd Redd Center for Western StudiesSophia Harris, Autumn WellingRuth KerryInvestigating Characteristics of The Spanish Flu Pandemic (1918-1920) in Utah Mining Communities
3rd Redd Center for Western StudiesJordan Coburn, Taylor Topham, Morgan Duffy, Hannah DixonCarol WardSTEM Internships for Native American Students: Mentors’ Perspectives

Students’ Choice Awards

CategoryWinner(s)Faculty Mentor(s)Title 
Timeless TopicHillary Wadsworth, Elizabeth Anderson, Alyssa Stockard, Spencer Vogel, et alJordan Yorgason, Scott SteffensenLow-Dose Alcohol Enhances Dopamine Release in the Nucleus Accumbens
Best PresenterEmily CollierSteven HoffmanEnding the Stigma: How Diagnosis Impacts Mental Health Stigma in University Students
Most Interesting ResearchJoakim Ronstroem, Hillary Wadsworth, Summer ArthurJordan YorgasonEffects of Acute and Chronic Morphine on Lateral Paracapsular Amygdala Circuitry
Most Eye-Catching PosterGavin Jones, Christina Small, Dallin Otteson, Kyle BillsScott SteffensenWhole-Body Vibration Alleviates Symptoms of Morphine Withdrawal

Join us next semester for our first Fall semester conference on December 8, 2022. Next year’s Winter semester conference will be April 13, 2023.

Learn more about getting involved with a mentored research project.

You Can Have Anxiety and Be a Social Scientist- Three Professors Share How

As the school year nears its end, we’re all feeling it — the nervousness before finals, the stress and pressure to do well, the fear of what comes next. These anxious feelings aren’t exclusive to students; nearly 20% of American adults have an anxiety disorder and many others experience issues with anxiety each year, even if they don’t have an anxiety disorder.

This month’s “Picture a Social Scientist” activity focused on those who have mental health challenges, particularly anxiety. The “Picture an Anxious Social Scientist” event on March 31 began with a presentation on biofeedback from BYU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Biofeedback helps us respond to our body’s stress signals before they become too intense and to take action to relieve stress throughout the day before it impacts our ability to complete our tasks or handle our emotions.

CAPS Biofeedback presentation

The biofeedback presentation was followed by a panel of professors with different types of anxiety. Alyssa Banford Witting in the School of Family Life, Sam Hardy in the Psychology Department, and Scott Sanders in the Sociology Department put themselves in an anxiety-inducing situation to help students see how someone with anxiety can be successful as a social scientist. They addressed questions such as, “What was your experience being diagnosed?” and “What do you recommend for students who may have these feelings but have not been diagnosed?” as well as “How has anxiety been a superpower in your career?”

The professors shared some of the tools they use to manage their anxiety. Sanders suggested, “Develop self-love now, develop self-care now… Do it now because it’s so much harder when you’re in those troughs.” Deep breathing is another helpful tool that was taught during the biofeedback presentation. Hardy’s tools include antidepressant medication, therapy, and support groups. His self-care includes Diet Dr. Pepper and hobbies like cooking, playing with dogs, and jamming out on drums in the basement. He also is mindful of nutrition and exercise, reads self-help books, and makes spiritual practices a priority.

Banford Witting encouraged students not to go it alone if they are feeling anxious. “Seek help, there’s no reason to suffer.” When looking for help, remember that your professors are there for you and you are not alone in your struggle. “It’s common enough that it’s okay. You’ll have some friends in the mental illness business… Everybody has anxiety to some degree,” added Hardy.

Sanders said to manage anxiety step by step, day by day, or even moment by moment. Describing his process to overcome anxious feelings he said, “What can you do in that moment? Maybe it’s a breath, a class period, a day. What does it look like and what can I do to get through that moment?”

PICTURE AN ANXIOUS SOCIAL SCIENTIST: Natalie Herbst Durtschi interviews panelists Alyssa Banford Witting, Sam Hardy, and Scott Sanders.

Whatever your experiences with anxiety may be, create boundaries for yourself, find your toolkit, and keep navigating the challenges that come your way. There will be many who can relate and help, as well as those who understand and support.

The College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences monthly “Picture a Social Scientist” events will return in the fall. With the goal of fostering belonging, each event will feature inspiring social science professionals to whom students can relate. Future events will explore themes such as neurodiversity, being a woman, managing a dual-career family, and other groups that are underrepresented in the social sciences. Students can expect to gain new perspectives and develop insights on how to press forward with their own ambitions.

Learn more about “Picture a Social Scientist” here.

Learn more or schedule an appointment with BYU CAPS.