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Anita Rollins at a Beacon Science Fair
Anita Rollins at a recent Beacon College student science fair.

When state and national social distancing guidelines closed one door for two Beacon College psychology students fortune opened door No. 2.

Isabela “Izzy” Chavez and Anita Rollins had been tapped to present in April research they’d conducted at Beacon Cross Cultural Psychology and Quantitative Research Design classes, respectively, during the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Conference in Denver, Co.

The convention, available to members, professionals and students, presents scientific papers, posters and symposia as part of the RMPA advocacy in all phases of professional development through the dissemination of scientific and professional ideas. Judges selected their work from hundreds of research submissions from undergraduate and graduate students, and psychology professionals.

Isabella Chavez In her cross-culture psychology project, Chavez, 20, a junior psychology major from Yuma, Az., researched life in the Philippines and its healthcare system. Chavez interviewed her cousin Chantal about growing up in the Philippines and compared that nation’s healthcare system with United States. Chavez found the U.S. health-care system was better equipped than the Philippines.

“In the Philippines, there is a huge gap between the rich and poor,” she said. “So, the more money you have the better quality of healthcare you will receive.”

Meanwhile, Rollins, a senior human services and psychology major, examined potential salary differences between white collar and blue-collar jobs.

However, as with so many events during the COVID-19 spring, the conference — slated for April 16-18 — was cancelled.

Chavez said although as the time for the conference approached, she expected that outcome, but expectation only slightly tempered the disappointment.

“I was hoping to present my poster because it was going to be my first time to ever present at a conference,” Chavez said. “I am disappointed that I could not present my poster, but hopefully I can get another chance at presenting at a conference in the future.”

“Both Izzy and Anita worked incredibly hard on their projects,” said Dr. A.J. Marsden, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College, the nation’s first accredited baccalaureate institution dedicated to educating primarily neurodiverse students.

That’s when the second door opened.

Psi Chi, the International honor society in psychology, and one of the largest honor societies in the United States with better than 1,150 chapters, Psi Chi teamed with the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association board to afford students who were supposed to present at the conference the opportunity to do so virtually through the new Psi Chi Research Poster & Paper Repository created within the Open Science Framework (OSF) for every student, not just Psi Chi members, to use.

That includes the posters Chavez and Rollins created.

Not all’s well, that ends well exactly, but a decent virtual consolation prize.

“When I heard my poster was going to be included in the Psi Chi Research Poster & Paper Repository, I was excited,” Chavez said. “I knew it was a chance to get my name out there and for people to see my work. This is a great opportunity and will look good on my resume.”

Paradoxically, through the online format, Psi Chi officials believe their research will outstrip the typical exposure.

View Isabella Chavez’s conference poster here

View Anita Rollins’ conference poster here