Student honored at research conference

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Northwestern College senior Rachel Muilenburg won the most outstanding paper award at the Siouxland Social Research Conference, hosted by Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, on April 15.

Muilenburg, a psychology major from Orange City, presented “Metamemory: Judgments-of-Learning, Framing, and Restudy Decisions Among High School and College Students.” She studied a sample of high school and college students as they were given word pairs, made judgments and took a memory test. Muilenburg explored gender and age differences in metamemory on the basis of judgment, framing effects and restudy choices.

Muilenburg was one of 22 Northwestern students who presented research at the conference. They were among several student presenters from area private liberal arts colleges.

This year’s keynote speaker was Josh Cobbs, executive director and founder of The Pier Center for Autism in Sioux City. Cobbs is credited with helping to pass legislation that mandated applied behavior analysis therapy for Iowa state employee healthcare plans. He also advocated nationally to help improve the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Anna Bartlett, a full-time psychology major from Orange City, presented her research, “The Moderating Effect of Ethnic Identity on Self-Esteem and Belief in a Just World in the Face of Perceived Discrimination.” Her presentation focused on how ethnic identity affects both the relationship between perceived discrimination and self-esteem, as well as the relationship between perceived discrimination and belief in a just world.

Tracy Chapman, a senior psychology major from Hawarden, Iowa, presented “Optimism, Coping and Meditation Effects.” Chapman investigated two meditation models regarding their effect on internal locus of control, social support, optimism and active coping.

Shannon Gier, a senior psychology and religion major from Crestwood, Ill., presented “The Effect of Attachment Styles and View of God on View of Atonement” at the conference.

Sherry Nelson, a senior psychology major from Fulton, Ill., presented her research, “Body Image, Religious Fundamentalism, and Attachment.” Nelson conducted a study to find a relationship between body dissatisfaction, attachment to God and parents, and religious fundamentalism.

Ranell Rowenhorst, a senior psychology major from Orange City, presented “Working on Working Memory by Interpreting Simultaneous Interpreting: Working Memory in Differing Verbal Fluency Levels.” Her research compared the working memory of four groups of people differing in verbal fluency, including sign language interpreters, verbal interpreters, students in advanced foreign language courses and monolingual students.

Sarah Simmons, a senior psychology major from Valentine, Neb., presented her research, “Even One Can Count: The Relationship Between Social Influence Techniques and Recycling Behavior.”

Groups of students also presented at the conference.

Social work majors Greg Hegstad, a junior from Sanborn, Iowa; Karlee Stubbe, a junior from George, Iowa; and Madison Yohe, a sophomore from South Sioux City, Neb., presented their research, “Phenomenological Study of Reasons for Abstinence by College-Aged Students.”

Juniors Emily Reyes, a social work major from Highland, Calif.; Genesis Torres, a social work major from Chino, Calif.; and Anthony Wubben, an elementary education major from Buffalo Center, Iowa, presented “Depression in College-Aged Students; Ages 18-24, A Phenomenological Qualitative Study.” Their research sought to highlight depression experiences in five college-aged students, emphasizing the impact that college played in their experiences.

Heidi Gritters, a junior Spanish and social work major from Kansas City, Mo., and Talitha Witt, a junior social work major from Orange City, also presented at the conference. Their research, “Bicultural Integration of Hispanic Children in a Rural White American School System: A Phenomenological Quality Research Study,” examined how Hispanic children are integrating into the American school system and managing a bicultural lifestyle.

Elisabeth Kahanic, a senior Christian education/youth ministry and social work major from Sioux City, and Kaela Prachar, a junior social work major from Milford, Iowa, presented their research, “A Phenomenological Study of Pastors’ Thoughts on Immigration and Their Impacts.” Their study built upon existing literature that detailed the impact religious leaders had on their constituents, and how churches in larger metropolitan areas are active in pushing for immigration reform. Their research focused on pastors in rural area churches with a growing congregation of Hispanic individuals.

Social work majors Carly Rozeboom, a junior from Boyden, Iowa, and Taylor Studer, a senior from Spencer, Iowa, presented “The Response of Reformed and Christian Reformed Pastors to the Issue of Domestic Violence: A Phenomenological Qualitative Research Study.” Their research focused on women who were the victims of domestic violence, their relationships with their pastors and how their interactions influenced the outcomes of their situations.

Psychology majors Cortney Repp, a sophomore from Hagerstown, Md.; Evan Stoesz, a senior from Eagan, Minn.; and Nathan Walburg, a senior from Hartley, Iowa, also presented at the conference with Gier, Muilenburg and Rowenhorst. They presented their research, “Counter-intuitiveness and Memory for Theological Concepts.”

Northwestern College is a Christian college of more than 1,200 students in Orange City, Iowa. Rated the nation’s sixth-best baccalaureate college by Washington Monthly and a top-10 Midwestern college by U.S. News & World Report magazine, Northwestern provides an education committed to academic rigor and a Christ-centered worldview.

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