On April 6, Venus Beulah and Matt Czachur shared research they conducted in Dr. A.J. Marsden’s “Research Design” course and had submitted for consideration for the conference. Judges selected their work — which was featured during the conference’s opening ceremonies — from almost 500 research submissions that included not only undergraduate and graduate students, but also psychology professionals.
Beulah, 24, sought to pinpoint the age at which students with learning disabilities apprehend the societal stigma associated with LD. While observing students at a local Montessori elementary/middle school, she gathered data that students with and without learning disabilities reported.
Her research found that most students in her study cohort were 10 years old when they realized — and became self-conscious — that they had a learning disability.
Similarly, college students with LDs, she discovered, felt significantly “different” from their peers, which contributed to drastically less acceptance among their peers.
“It would be beneficial to see the correlations between traditional schools and Montessori schools, and the potential benefits and long-term effects each teaching model has on learning disabled students, and maybe incorporate those teaching techniques into public schools,” Beulah, a senior, said. “Bringing more awareness to learning disabilities and the different aspects around it could allow students with learning disabilities to not feel ashamed in public schools or see it as a roadblock in reaching toward a college education.”
Czachur, 26, meanwhile, tackled a controversial subject: the tension between sexuality and grade point average.
His hypothesis: sexually active students enjoy higher GPAs than do their celibate or less promiscuous counterparts — and that the number of sexual partners a student boasts may influence GPA.
While the junior found no meaningful difference in GPAs between sexually active students and those who were not, Czachur uncovered a significant incongruity between the number of sexual partners and GPA:
Students with up to three sexual partners enjoyed the highest grade point averages.
“My research will be beneficial to society in showing that everything in moderation can be a good thing,” Czachur said.
While parents may blanch at his findings, Marsden embraced her students’ accomplishments.
“I am incredibly proud of the hard work that Venus and Matt put into their research projects,” she said. “They were both passionate about their topics and I was delighted when they expressed a desire to submit their work to such a competitive conference.”