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McNair Scholars' Paper Earns Award

By Jenna Campbell
UW-RF University Communications

FEB. 17, 2006--Throughout students' undergraduate careers important research questions arise, and unfortunately many stay unanswered. But for two UW-RF students who are McNair Scholars, their questions were answered through their hard work and dedication.

O'Neal Hampton (left) and Maureen Casey (center) have been recognized for their research on sexual harassment in organizational settings as winners of the Psi Chi Midwest Regional Award given by the Midwestern Psychological Association. Psi Chi is the national honor society in psychology.

Hampton and Casey submitted their paper on a research project seeking answers to the problem of sexual harassment to the 2006 annual meeting of the MPA. The paper was accepted, and their work will be showcased in a special paper session for Psi Chi award winners. In addition, Hampton will give a presentation on their research findings and will be presented with a certificate and a check for $300 at an award ceremony in Chicago.

The McNair program supports promising, academically talented students from populations that have been historically underrepresented in graduate study, including low-income, first-generation, and minority college students. The program seeks to increase students' confidence and support undergraduate research to better prepare the scholars for graduate study.

Each scholar in the McNair program chooses a faculty member to work with on a research project in his or her career field. Hampton and Casey both chose Travis Tubré (center), who is an assistant professor in the psychology department at UW-RF. Because both Hampton and Casey were interested in similar areas in which Tubré does research, they decided to collaborate instead of working independently.

"It's a bigger project than what I've done with other McNair Scholars, so it was nice to have two people working," said Tubré. "To date, we have surveyed more than 400 participants, and we are still collecting data."

Hampton and Casey began their project in the spring 2005 and are continuing their research in preparation for graduate study. The scholars are investigating sexual harassment at work or in educational settings. In particular, they are looking at differences in how men and women cope when subjected to various types of sexual harassment behavior. Their continuing research will extend their findings to understanding how these gender differences change when people are harassed by members of the opposite sex or the same sex.

"The ultimate goal is thinking about ways that organizations can develop interventions to prevent that sort of behavior," says Tubré. "We want to make people more aware of how negative sexual harassment really is and figure out how to convince people that it's a really important subject. The end goal in the societal perspective is trying to reduce the incidence of sexual harassment. We feel there's a real societal benefit to this research."

Hampton is a senior from Richfield, Minn., majoring in psychology with an interdisciplinary minor emphasizing human resource management. After graduation, Hampton plans on entering a master's or doctoral program in industrial and organizational psychology.

"The program has given me invaluable advice in applying to graduate school and helping me prepare my application materials," says Hampton. "Without this program and my mentor,   Dr. Tubré, I would surely not be afforded the opportunities I have today."

Casey is a senior from New Richmond, Wis., and is also majoring in psychology with an interdisciplinary minor emphasizing human resource management. Casey plans to continue her education by pursuing a master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology.  

"I've had a very positive experience with the McNair Program," says Casey. "Njia Lawrence-Porter, who is the McNair Scholars coordinator, is a very good motivator for all of us. She makes sure that we're all on task. I don't think that I would have put so much effort into getting in graduate school without this program."

"Approximately 70 students are in or have gone through the McNair Scholars Program," says Phil George, director of the Academic Success Center. "Forty students have completed the program, and the majority are in graduate school. Others have been just as successful with undergraduate research much like O'Neal Hampton and Maureen Casey. This is a very unique experience for an undergraduate student."

 

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