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Laney Leichter with her research poster

Laney Leichter recently showed off her researching prowess on a big stage last month when she presented research she conducted as a Beacon College student at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Her presentation, “EQ and Autism,” focused on the intersection of emotional intelligence and learning disabilities. The research she conducted began as a project in Dr. A.J. Marsden’s qualitative research design class that Leichter took in the fall and was completed in Marsden’s quantitative research design course.

“I was shocked when I got selected because … I … applied just to say I did it, not thinking anything of it. I felt really proud of myself and that I was able to accomplish such a feat as an undergrad,” said the 21-year-old from Sarasota, Florida.

Leichter, a junior psychology major, said she chose her topic “because it seemed like it was a great way to learn more about the connection between the two things.”

The conference is open to members, professionals, and students. It 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 select work from hundreds of research submissions from undergraduate and graduate students, and psychology professionals.

“It has been a joy to watch Laney’s interest in this topic grow as she learns more about it,” said Marsden, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon. “Her excitement is contagious. Watching her grow from this student who was intimidated by research and statistics to this confident presenter of academic research was fun for me. Presenting at academic conferences is rare for an undergraduate psychology student — most presenters are graduate students and academics. I am so proud of her; we all should be.”

When it came time to stand and deliver, Leichter said her research stood up to scrutiny.

“I think my presentation went well and that it was received positively by others,” she said. “I got tons of interesting questions as well as others giving me ideas for how to further my research.”

For Leichter, the experience expanded her horizons — and those of her peers about Beacon.

“I got lots of other psychology connections when it comes to working on other research, as well as having other people be exposed to Beacon and what this college is,” she said.