College of Health & Science presents Graduate Research Day

Apr 20, 2012
Brenau Staff

Dr. Krisi Probert (Occupational Therapy) in conversation with graduate students

Brenau University’s College of Health & Science will showcase work of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty Saturday, April 21, during its First Annual Research Symposium at the Brenau East campus at Featherbone Communiversity, 999 Chestnut St. SE, in Gainesville.

Free and open to the public, the program will feature presentations and demonstrations of research projects from the schools of nursing and occupational therapy, the psychology department and the Department of Mathematics & Science.

“The research process is of vital importance to both undergraduate and graduate education,” said Gale Starich, Ph.D., Dean of Health & Science. “In addition, it renews our faculty. In this inaugural research symposium we’ll be showcasing faculty and student research, and the presentations will highlight new findings as well as new methodologies.”

Among the dozens of topics covered in the presentations and exhibits are projects exploring healthy lifestyles for Latino children, equine therapy for female domestic violence survivors and Brenau’s centerpiece undergraduate research program to re-introduce endangered Georgia plant species to their native habitats. There is a topic for just about any interest and social setting.

“It starts at birth,” said Occupational Therapy graduate student Emily Adams, who will be co-presenting with fellow students Emily Bennett, Alison Sims, and Brenau professor Irma Alvarado, Ph.D. “We’re studying the relationships between babies and their parents in clinical settings where the child is – or was – in a post-neonatal intensive care unit.”

Facets of adult life are studied by the psychology group. “Take people in different walks of life, for example, where creativity is required – artists, designers, and so forth,” said Brenau professor Gary Bauman, Ph.D. “Our students assembled a lot of data and worked hard with the subjects of the study. What they found is that people with high social interest are less likely to be depressed. That’s what one might have guessed. But the striking result is that a great deal of perfectionism – we call it maladapted perfectionism in this case – leads to depression. The symptoms are that an individual is hard on oneself, has difficulty accepting feedback, and generally lacks flexibility. Ultimately, the condition affects their creative potential and prevents success. In the more severe cases, psychological care is required to treat depression and anxiety. Physical problems and suicide risk are at the extreme of the scale.” Bauman is co-author of the study, conducted by psychology graduate students Lola Omolola, Dori Garziano, and Ari Seifried, entitled “The Relationship Between Creativity, Social Interest, Perfectionism and Depression”.

Works of this type and caliber are the material that scientific publications are looking for, and similar in-depth research is being presented by groups in Nursing and Biology. “Actively engaging in research is an important component of the higher learning experience,” said Cathy Dyches, Ph.D., chair of the Graduate Studies Department in Brenau’s School of Nursing. “The students place themselves at the cutting edge of knowledge in the field. Plus, entering the career path with a publication record already established puts them ahead of the curve.”

The program starts at 3 p.m. Presentations follow a 3:15 p.m. keynote address by Dr. Jean Moore, who holds the George and Ann Richards endowed chair in nursing, there will be presentations and project awards from 4 to 6 p.m. in Whelan Auditorium. From 6 to 7 p.m. there will be a reception honoring program participants, accompanied by poster presentations.

Prior to coming to Brenau, Moore served as a professor at George Mason University’s School of Nursing in Fairfax, Va., where she was assistant dean for nursing research and coordinator for the second degree nursing program.

For additional information, contact Dean of Graduate Admissions Christina Cochran White at 770-718-5320 or .