Past Presenters: Where Are They Now?
Do you ever wonder what happened to the presenters and finalists and award winners you observed at conferences? Did their research end along with the conference? Our very own Melissa Napier is a great example of just how important undergraduate research and other scholarly endeavors are. Ms. Napier is a non-traditional student and previously graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mid-Continent University with an Associate’s degree. Following this she obtained her Bachelors in Psychology right here at Eastern Kentucky University. During Ms. Napier’s college career she has been on the Dean’s list as well as receiving the President’s Award several semesters. She was an Outstanding Senior in the EKU Psychology Department in 2016, a member of NAMI or EKU, and is a member of Psi Chi National Honor Society as well as the winner of the Psi Chi Writing Award in 2016. Ms. Napier was also a finalist for Outstanding Science Project of the Year Award, Undergraduate Division at EKUs Annual University Presentation Showcase in 2016. Currently Ms. Napier is attending EKU as a graduate student pursuing her Master’s in General Psychology while she serves as a Graduate Assistant to Dr. Mitchell. Ms. Napier has a son who is also an EKU student and will be graduating with a BS in computer science this spring. She is currently engaged to be married and will be gaining 3 step children in the process. Her mother died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack while she was in her 20s, but her father was there to see her graduate last spring and is very proud of her. We asked Ms. Napier a few questions in regards to her undergraduate experience with research, mentors, and the value these opportunities hold in obtaining a higher degree and getting the most out of your education. Below are some of the questions we asked Ms. Napier along with her responses:
What were some of the most beneficial things you learned as an undergraduate?
“I’ve learned so much during my time here at EKU, but I’d say the most important lesson is to believe in yourself and dream big. As a nontraditional student, I was nervous about coming back to college and wondered if I could keep up. I’ve learned that if you work hard and don’t give up, then you’ll be surprised at how things seem to align in ways that lead you to your goals.”
What role did mentorship play in obtaining your degree(s)?
“Mentorship has definitely played a big role in my time here at EKU. All of the professors are very helpful, but there are three extra special ones who I definitely look up to. Dr. Osbaldiston, Dr. Mitchell, and Dr. Botts. They have all been very supportive and encouraging to me and I have learned so much from all of them.”
Why did you present at UPS 2016, what did you present, and can you elaborate as to how beneficial this experience was to you and your education/career goals?
“Dr. Osbaldiston is the one who got me interested in research while I was taking one of his classes. With his help, I presented at several different conferences. I learned more about the entire research process during that short time than I could have ever learned from any book or lecture. My major area of interest is trauma, so I presented a meta-analysis on EMDR. I’m interested in the different types of treatments to help trauma victims and also how these treatments have evolved over time with practice and further research. The value of participating in the research process yourself really cannot be overstated. It’s something that I wish everyone could have the opportunity to do.”
What are you doing now (education, life, research…)
“After graduating with my BS, I was accepted into the General Psychology MS Program here at EKU. This program has a strong research focus so it is a great opportunity for those of us who are interested in research. I have chosen to do my thesis research on animal assisted therapy and I’m currently working on that. Once I finish my MS, I plan to pursue a doctorate degree. I will be applying to several schools, but I hope to be accepted into the PsyD program here at EKU. It’s a great program and I love EKU so I’d definitely rather stay here. My goal is to become a clinical psychologist and work with underserved populations.”
Advice to undergraduates:
“My advice to undergrads about presenting: Remember this is a learning process and nobody expects you to be absolutely perfect yet. Try to relax and enjoy yourself as much as possible. All you have to do is talk about your research and your knowledge and interest in the subject will naturally shine through. Every time you present, you’ll get better and feel more comfortable.”
Ms. Napier tell us, “I’d like to see more nontraditional students participating in research here on campus too.”
Published on February 16, 2017