KOKOMO, Ind. — How are people handling the impact of COVID-19 on their lives?
Curiosity about that question led to a research project for Indiana University Kokomo senior Jack Doerges.
“The public mandates about mask wearing and other preventative measures were being decided at the time I needed to decide on my research topic,” said Doerges, majoring in psychology. “We’re all dealing with this in different ways. I wanted to see what differences in how we are dealing might be hurting people, and what differences might be helpful.”
He was among nearly 30 students who presented their work at the campus’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, held virtually this month.
Doerges, a California native who now lives in Carmel, enjoyed the opportunity to present his work to other students and to faculty. He also appreciated the chance to do real-world research on a relevant topic with his faculty mentor, Joseph Waters, clinical assistant professor of psychology.
“It’s different than learning about research in class,” he said. “I’m doing it myself. I’m creating my own ideas, and pursuing those. I had to write my own questions for the survey, and I’m analyzing the data to draw a conclusion. This is the kind of experience I wanted.”
His work earned one of four awards, selected by a panel of faculty judges. Two were presented in the poster division, and two in presentations. Each winner receives a $200 scholarship.
Sponsored by the Honors Program, the virtual program included 12 posters and 13 oral presentations on topics in humanities and social sciences, and social justice, and the sciences.
“I was so impressed with the quality of the research presented, and with the level of discussion and engagement between our students and faculty,” said Erin Doss, assistant professor of communication arts.
Doerges was honored in the poster division, along with Brooke Clifton, from Marion, for The Effect of Concussion Prevention Programs Among High School American Football Players: A Systematic Review.
Top presentation award winners were Sistine Dishon, Kokomo, Love Styles Influence on Relationship Outcomes and Maintenance Behaviors; and Elliot Barnett, Tipton, Accretion Belt Characteristics in a Hydrodynamic Evolution of a Contact Binary.
Faculty judges included Lalatendu Acharya, assistant professor of health sciences; Scott Blackwell, lecturer in philosophy; Julie Brunson, assistant professor of psychology; Jim Coby, assistant professor of English; Josephine Dibie, lecturer in business; Chris Felts, assistant professor of criminal justice and homeland security; Joann Kaiser, senior lecturer in communication arts; Gin Morgan, assistant professor of psychology; and Christina Romero-Ivanova, assistant professor of education.
Other participating students included Haley Bitner, Lucas Bolander, Mike Brown, Brennan Buchanan, Linh Chau, Sisi Croel, Madison Culbreth, Connor Dailey, Hung Doan, Gabby Dunkin, Cristina Esquivel, Ashlee Fitzgerald, Samuel Garcia-Lopez, Jayona Gray, Mary Gregory, Ian Hancock, Yudi Esperanza Gil Hernandez, Jordan Hostetler, Hunter Kellogg, Leah McCormick, Bianca Miranda, Michael Nelson, Audrey Soel, Troy Weger, and Dan Allender West.