Gina Mann is no stranger to discrimination.
Yet, despite her familiarity with it, she still was shocked by the surprising results of her recent research.
Discrimination doesn’t discriminate.
Mann presented her findings at the Human Factors and Applied Psychology (HFAP) Conference held January 31 at the University of Central Florida Student Union Key West Ballroom in Orlando, Fla.
The Human Factors and Applied Psychology (HFAP) Conference allows student researchers focused on centered on areas of human factors and applied psychology to present their work. The conference also provides a collegial setting for networking for likeminded researchers from Beacon College and other institutions such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Flagler College, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, University of West Florida, Rollins College, Stetson University, and the U.S. Military Academy.
“It means so much to me to have been chosen to present my paper for the conference,” said Mann, 21. “I had worked long and hard on this paper and project. This was the biggest research I have ever done, and I am so proud of it.”
Mann wasn’t the college’s only participant.
Alexandra Hancock, Kelly Hurley, and Arianna Pappas presented in the poster category.
Hancock, a senior human services and psychology major, focused on the topic of being “Falsely accused.” Hurley, a junior majoring in human services and psychology, presented an “Analysis of the quality of holding and residence cells in the law enforcement field.” And Pappas, who graduated in December with a B.A. in psychology, afforded student researchers an “Inside look at district attorneys.”
For her class project, Mann compared and contrasted discrimination against the LGBTQ — an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning — and ethnic communities.
“This issue was personal to me because not only do I know people who get discriminated against but I have been discriminated against myself,” she said. “I felt it was important to have a better concept and understanding of discrimination particularly between the LGBTQ community and other ethnicities.”
With that, the psychology major designed a Survey Monkey tool to collect anonymously subjects’ age, race, gender, and sexual orientation and measure psychological distress and impact of stereotypes.
Her results: same difference.
“I was surprised by the findings because I was not expecting it to be equal for discrimination,” Mann said. “I never thought that would be the case when I was doing my research. I thought that one group would experience discrimination more than the other.”
Dr. A.J. Marsden, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College, and Mann’s instructor, suggested the senior from Northridge, Calif. submit her paper, “Perceptions of Discrimination,” to the conference.
“Students from Beacon have presented at this particular conference in the past and I thought it would be a good avenue for Gina to share her research,” Marsden said. “This conference offers a welcoming and constructive environment for undergraduate students to present — which I thought would be perfect for Gina.”
At the conference, student researchers presented papers in two sessions.
Mann appeared in session two and received 10 minutes to present her renamed paper, “Who gets discriminated against more?” A short question and answered session followed.
With graduation around the corner, Mann — who carries a 3.79 GPA — plans to hunt for work in either California or Florida, possibly work for a year, and then pursue her Master’s degree.
“I [was] excited to show everyone my results, and to be able to present it at such a prestigious conference,” she said. “To have been selected is a huge honor for me.”