Counseling students create projects for poster symposium
Final project for research course
First semester graduate students in the College of Psychology’s Counseling program received hands-on experience in designing a community project and participating in a poster session.
The assignment served as the final project for the 23 students in PYCL 0507: Research and Evaluation for Counselors with Assistant Professor Ariann Robino, Ph.D.
“This assignment was an opportunity for the students to collaborate with a community organization to find out what their needs were and then develop a research proposal based on that,” Robino said.
As part of the project, students worked in groups to identify an organization, interview stakeholders and develop a research question in a final paper and poster. The symposium took up the final class of the semester and allowed them to present their work to classmates.
“The symposium was the culmination of their project and sharing the design they came up that would address the needs of that organization, if it were executed,” Robino said.
Conducting graduate level research was a new experience for first semester student Hailey Fitzpatrick, whose group created the poster “How Can We Incentivize Volunteering For Bit By Bit?” The group, which also included Isabella Pacanins and Melanie Gasilovskiy, selected as their organization Bit By Bit, a Davie-based nonprofit that uses horses in mental and physical therapy.
“I’ve never taken a research class, so this was full-on research mode for me,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said her group’s research focused on how Bit By Bit could increase its number of volunteers, which would allow them to see more clients. The group created a survey that could identify volunteers in colleges and high schools. Fitzpatrick said the project relates to her future career interests in animal-assisted therapy.
Robino said that in addition to learning about research, working with community organizations has the added benefit of identifying potential internship or job sites. She also encourages her students to submit their posters for conferences.
“I've done some solo conference presentations, but the most fruitful presentations come from the work that you do alongside colleagues and peers, so I wanted them to be able to get that experience,” Robino said.