Five student psychology majors within the Department of Psychological Science at South Texas College made the trip to San Antonio to take part in a prestigious conference held by the Southwestern Psychological Association (SWPA) on April 1.
Natalie Zarate, Alexandra Alvarado, Liza Garcia, Gabriella Hernandez and Flor Garcia, who are all members of Psi Beta National Honor Society, submitted a proposal to SWPA, and presented the findings of their research to attendees at its 2017 Convention in San Antonio.
Students are mentored through the leadership of their STC Faculty Advisor, Liza Veliz, who is also the incoming Vice President for the Southwest region of Psi Beta beginning in fall 2017. Veliz guided students through the research process. Their research focused on orientation methods and their potential influence on retention rates at STC.
“We are presenting a first year orientation study,” said Psychology student Flor Garcia. “We have reviewed orientations of significance for graduation rates or dropout rates in two year colleges. This conference commemorates what our career stands for so it’s a privilege to participate.”
SWPA works to promote and strengthen psychology’s scientific, professional and educational facets. At its annual meeting, SWPA offers paper, poster, continuing education sessions, workshops, symposia, and invited talks. The Association prides itself on serving the psychological community by providing access to scientific advances and professional development within a collegial atmosphere. Students are welcomed and treated as active and valued participants in the discipline.
“We are showing what we can do as a chapter and organization, and proving that our research is helping others realize how beneficial the orientation process can be,” said Natalie Zarate.
The Department of Psychological Science at South Texas College offers students the opportunity to obtain an Associates of Arts (A.A.) in Psychology. The degree requirements for all students include completion of core curriculum and field of study courses. The program encourages students to become familiar with the different fields of Psychology, which will enable them to make an informed decision on how to continue their academic and professional careers. This degree is an excellent transfer program since the core curriculum parallels the first two years of most four-year psychology degrees.
“One of the things that was important to the Psychological Science Department at STC was to offer an orientation for students to help with student success and retention,” said STC Psychology Department Chair Dr. Janene Israel. “We offered an orientation and then we collected data from the students who attended the orientation, and their advisor Liza Veliz taught them about that research process. Collecting this data really helps us and informs us on what we can do better to address retention through that orientation process.”