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Students present research poster in national forum

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College students continue to receive recognition for excellence in undergraduate research.

Most recently, two Newton students, sophomore Azucena Gonzalez and junior Lila Tibbets, along with 2014 Bethel graduate Guadalupe Gonzalez, also of Newton, presented a poster in Washington, D.C., at the end of the fall semester.

The presentation was at the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience poster session for undergraduates, part of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.

The students titled their poster “Emotion Effects on Performance in a 3-Back Task.”

“Our project was designed to see whether faces displaying emotion were better remembered than faces displaying no emotion,” Azucena Gonzalez said. “This was done using a 3-back memory task [a matching game] and EEG recordings. We found that faces displaying fear were better remembered than faces that displayed no emotion.”

“Our main goal was to see if emotional stimuli affected short-term memory,” Tibbets added. “Short-term memory and emotions are so fundamental to our daily experience and functioning, it is imperative that we understand their interaction.”

Reflecting on the experience of presenting in company with undergraduates from around the country, Tibbets said, “We had to prepare a poster that was reader-friendly but comprehensive, which was harder than we expected.

“During the presentation, we were asked some very difficult and technical questions by professionals in the field. We had to think quickly and answer knowledgeably, even if we felt a little overwhelmed.

“As students and professionals, we need good presentation skills to be effective scientists. This experience was invaluable to honing those skills.”

“Presenting at the neuroscience conference was a really great experience,” Gonzalez agreed. “I enjoyed meeting and talking to professionals in the area of neuroscience, who gave me advice on what would look good in graduate school applications.”

A Bethel student garnered additional national recognition through publication. Laura Jensen, senior from Everest, published “Stereotype Spillover Effects on Women in Mathematics” in Proceedings of the National Conference of Undergraduate Research 2014.

The students’ project adviser is Dwight Krehbiel, professor of psychology.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2014-15. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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