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Beacon Students Psychology Honor
Beacon Psychology students Sarah Blanchard and Cassandra Bergman.

Two Beacon College students are psyched about presenting their research that was accepted for an international conference on social studies this week at a regional university.

Cassandra Bergman and Sarah Blanchard will exhibit poster presentations at the International Society of the Social Studies Conference at University of Central Florida February 22-23 featuring research each completed last semester for the school’s Qualitative Research Design course.

The “ISSS conference provides a platform for all educators to engage in rich dialogue about the social studies,” the conference website notes. “For university faculty, teacher educators, curriculum specialists, social studies department leaders, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as P-12 teachers, the conference features presentations that appeal to all.”
The event features scholarly presentations and teaching workshops conducted by prominent U.S. and international experts.
For her study, Bergman compared stress levels of professors who teach students with learning disabilities against professors who do not.

“Considering the school that I attend, I thought that the information that I would gather would be useful information for the professors who teach here,” she says of Beacon College, America’s first college or university accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students with learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning differences.

Bergman recruited, interviewed, and surveyed five participants from Beacon College and five from Lake Sumter State College regarding their teaching-related stress levels.

Her research found no significant differences between the two groups.

Meanwhile, Blanchard — inspired by a TED talk about positive psychology — focused on the benefits of taking a positive psychology class. She surveyed students in Beacon’s positive psychology class and found students in the course expressed more positivity and gratitude.

“I was really happy that my research was recognized,” Blanchard says, “because I am going to be able to take my research and hopefully help other students and other people enjoy more positive thoughts.”

Dr. A.J. Marsden, an assistant professor of human services and psychology, and the students’ instructor, says students reap significant benefits from participating in these scholarly events.

“These kinds of international conferences provide great opportunities for our students to share their research with different disciplines and fields,” Marsden says. “It also helps those who plan to go on to graduate school where students are expected to conduct and present experimental research.”

Such outings, she adds, also “help boosts students’ self-confidence and gives them a sense of accomplishment.”