Psych Professor Recognized for Contributions to Student Research

Published: April 11, 2009 | Read Time: 2 minutes

One of Southern Utah University's own picked up the "Early Career Contribution Award" for this past academic school year from the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association (RMPA), a regional association for professional psychologists. 

Dr. Jeff Elison, assistant professor of psychology, was given the award, which recognizes members who have earned their doctoral degree within the past 5-10 years and who have made major contributions in research and teaching. Elison said, "In particular, it was my work mentoring student research that was recognized. I was nominated by respected colleagues and friends and their support means a great deal to me." 

The feat marks the second time the award has been given to an SUU faculty member. Dr. Britt Mace won the award five years ago. 

Accompanying Elison to the conference in New Mexico at the end of this past spring semester, were 28 Undergraduate psychology majors, two graduate students and four faculty members from SUU, which according to Elison, often has the largest student turnout of any institution at the annual event.

Elison said of his award-winning work in the field and at SUU, "Mentoring student research and seeing its dissemination at RMPA is the single most rewarding aspect of my job. Similarly, I believe this experience, in many cases, is the single best learning experience for our students. It is one they will remember long after they have forgotten the details of course work." 

At the RMPA Conference, students attended workshops, listened to lectures given by well known experts in the field, and presented their own research projects. SUU students reported on ten research projects reflecting the work of 22 SUU student scholars and six faculty mentors. 

Students commented that attending the conference helped them discover the real-world relevance of information they were learning in class, assisted them generate new ideas for research projects they hope to carry out, and inspired them to pursue scholarly work and consider applying to present their work for next year's meeting. 

One of those students, Nathan Anderson, a sophomore biology major from Spanish Fork, Utah, and an SUUSA Science Senator, said of the experience, "RMPA is a wonderful opportunity for SUU students to present their research work in either poster, or oral presentation form. This is an amazing opportunity to get firsthand experience with research presentations and to learn the newest research out there."

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