Students sharpen research skills for Expo

San Jacinto College students showcased their research and creative skills during the twelfth Psychology Exposition on North Campus.

The Exposition took place Oct. 23 and 24 in the Monument Room of the student center.

Department Chairperson of Behavior Science Dana Rocha said the exposition is a relatively new event for San Jac.

“It started in the spring of 2007, and we hold the expo every Fall and Spring semester,” Rocha said. “I got the idea from attending something similar.”

According to Rocha, the psychology exposition faculty’s hard work and dedicated collaboration have made the event a success over the past years, and it continues to grow.

Furthermore, she said, the exposition offers students important learning opportunities, and “strengthens a sense of community when people come in here and learn about topics that are relevant to everyday life.”

Professor Tammy Miller said the research projects displayed at the Expo are assigned in students’ psychology classes and require a multi-step process.

“First, they have to find a scientific journal article and write a summary paper that is two to three pages, and they have to take that topic and explain it as fully as they can on the poster for this expo. And then, the third component is that they have to create something original that is placed in front of their poster,” Miller said.

Meanwhile, Rocha said students are able to understand their topic, be as inventive as they like, and create a visual object to make their presentation stand out.

“It a really good process…,” Rocha said. “They get to be as creative as they want to, and it tests them in multiple areas which are great. It’s writing, it is a presentation, and then a lot of them have very original ideas on what they can add to their poster. So, I think it is an overall benefit for their education,” Rocha said.

Professor Rachel Chapa has worked with students for two semesters on their psychology posters and said the learning outcomes of the students’ projects are different.

“A lot of students will say, ‘Oh wow, I didn’t know that’, with their topic they don’t know what they are going to be finding, and a lot of times it takes them in a different direction, sometimes they are surprised by what they find,” said Chapa.

Student Valerie Bernal said she chose anorexia as her topic because she wanted to provide important information about the disease.

“I thought it would be an easy topic, and knew how serious anorexia can be, so I had to make people aware of this,” Bernal said.

Student Alexus Rendon said her experience with the project was positive and allowed her to be more knowledgeable about prescription opioids.

“I learned all sorts of things and became more informed on how powerful that drug can be if it isn’t treated right. The only difficult part was finishing it on time; the rest was fun,” Rendon said.

The Psychology Exposition recognizes the top three projects and awards the students by displaying their posters in the Burleson building of the North campus.

“We typically take the winners to dinner and pay for that ourselves,” Rocha said, “and we also recognize them in the classes, take their pictures and sometimes we have gift cards donated from the publishers of the books we use.”