First-Ever Group of IUPUC Students Selected to Participate in Annual IU Research Conference

November 27, 2013
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For the first time in its 43-year history, a group of four undergraduates and three faculty mentors from Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus participated in a much anticipated annual research conference sponsored by Indiana University.

The 19th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference, held November 22 in the Indiana University Memorial Union, was open to student scholars from any IU campus around the state. To be selected, students were required to submit abstracts for poster, oral, or paper presentations. The budding scholars also participated in roundtable sessions to discuss their research projects, procedures, and findings.

“This event showcased an array of original student research, scholarship, learning outcomes, and creative achievement in all fields of study,” said Dr. Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick, director of IUPUC’s Office of Student Research (OSR).

According to Goodspeed-Chadwick, the IUPUC research focused on education, liberal arts, and science. “The participating students are among the most exceptional not only in Columbus but within the entire IU system.” Both students and mentors devoted substantial time and energy above and beyond their regular class work to complete the work and promote their findings, she added.

  • STUDENT: Mike Fry, elementary education major (Greensburg, IN)
    Faculty mentor: Dr. Allison Howland, Division of Education

    Project title: “Exploring Gender Representation in Traditional and Non-Traditional Fairy Tales.” Stereotypes relating to gender have a large influence in the social and emotional development of children. Although female characters have central roles in many fairy tales, they often promote stereotypical behaviors of subservience, dependence, and weakness. Supporting characters like stepmothers and stepsisters may even portray stereotypical powerful females viewed as evil. Given the widely accepted stereotypical views portrayed in traditional fairy tales, this poster presentation examined the impact of traditional versus non-traditional fairy tales (i.e., those that provide a more empowered representation of the female character) on how children spontaneously represented gender.
  • STUDENT: JoAnn Mitchell, psychology major (Columbus, IN)
    Faculty mentor: Dr. Joan Poulsen, Division of Science

    Project title: “The Impact of Resilience Training upon Female Prisoners.” This paper presentation evaluated a new resilience training program administered to adult female prison inmates. The five-week study comprised of five lessons based on character strengths and positive psychology was conducted at Madison Correctional Facility, a minimum-security prison in southern Indiana. Pre- and post-test outcomes of control and intervention groups were assessed with The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, the General Self-Efficacy Survey, the Ostracism Experience Scale, and the Resilience Quotient. Post-test results demonstrated participants who had received the intervention had lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than the control group. Notably, control and intervention groups at pre-test showed no significant differences on stress, anxiety, or depression. Both groups began the study with approximately equal levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, both groups showed lowered levels of these three variables, but the intervention group showed markedly greater reduction in these. By lowering the amount of stress, anxiety, and depression experienced by the women in the intervention, it is posited that they will experience improved rehabilitative outcomes.
  • STUDENT: Bailey K. Moss, English major (Columbus, IN)
    Faculty mentor: Dr. Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick, Division of Liberal Arts

    Project title: “Reading Between the Lines of Racial Shame: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as a Symptom of Trauma.” This paper presentation explored the character Mrs. Breedlove in The Bluest Eye, an adult who displays symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as an indication of childhood traumatic abuse and neglect. The character was examined in relation to leading research in the field of trauma and statistical evidence from research on the connection between trauma and OCD. The project found a scarcity of case studies studying the correlation between trauma and OCD; additional evidence is needed to prove the relationship of childhood trauma to adult-onset OCD, but until such research is conducted, the theory cannot be dismissed.
  • STUDENT: Michaela Wischmeier, English major (Bloomington, IN)
    Faculty mentor: Dr. Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick, Division of Liberal Arts

    Project title: “Emily Dickinson’s Hidden Conflict within Her Poetry: An Interrogation of American Society’s Masculine and Feminine Binary Oppositions.” This paper presentation explores the notion that Dickinson defies the patriarchal society of her time by redefining her subject within “My Life had Stood—a Loaded Gun—.” The gun can be interpreted as both an object and a potential subject: an ineffective and useless item within the “corners” until the owner utilizes it for a specific purpose, resulting in a transformation. In this metamorphosis, Dickinson bestows masculine and feminine characteristics on the gun, thereby destroying socially defined binary oppositions of gender. Through her poetry, Dickinson earns a place among past and present feminists in the battle against marginalization of all minorities, including females: she imagines pathways to empowerment. Influential female poets such as Dickinson deserve a continual focus and analyses of their works by society to highlight the importance of equality and choice for all underrepresented people of the world. Without an awareness of feminist issues, such as gender inequality, represented by Dickinson and others, people will not be able to coexist and cooperate to further advance society as a whole.

Over the past four years, IUPUC has made a significant commitment to fostering student research, investing about $40,000 in funded grants for individual students working under the direction of faculty mentors.

The university established the OSR in 2010 and appointed Goodspeed-Chadwick to oversee the proposal, review, and selection process and to distribute funding. OSR also hosts an exhibition of funded student work in Columbus each April.

For more information about student research at IUPUC, visit and contact Dr. Goodspeed-Chadwick at or 812.348.7270.