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Professor-student duo to present papers at psychology convention

March 17, 2015
By cnp
Posted in Psychology

The University of the Ozarks' psychology department will be well represented at the 2015 Southwest Psychology Association (SWPA) convention next month.

Senior psychology major Jessica Gibson and Dr. Joel Hagaman, assistant professor of psychology, will both present papers at the annual convention, being held April 10-12 in Wichita, Kan. Gibson’s paper is titled, "Effects of Total Sleep Deprivation on Mood," and Hagaman’s paper is titled, "Flipping the Statistics Classroom."

"It’s always great to work with students who are interested and motivated, and when you have an opportunity to go to a conference and watch that student present a paper, it’s quite a thrill," said Hagaman, who has taught at Ozarks since 2003. "The favorite part of my job is watching students succeed and Jessica has certainly succeeded."

Gibson, who will graduate in May, is presenting her paper on research she conducted at Ozarks in 2011 on sleep deprivation. She dropped out of college shortly after completing her research. When she returned to Ozarks in Fall of 2014 to complete the seven hours she needed for her degree, Hagaman encouraged her to submit her research to SWPA for consideration.

"I never even considered it until Dr. Hagaman suggested it," said Gibson, a resident of Perry, Ark. "Even after I submitted it, I didn’t expect for it to get selected because it’s a very competitive process. I was pretty excited when I got the news that my paper had been picked. I think it shows that a student at University of the Ozarks can match up with students anywhere."

Gibson’s research, which was aided by a grant from NASA, examined the effects of sleep deprivation on a person’s mood. Her findings suggested that 24 hours of sleep deprivation does negatively influence a person’s mood.

"As long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with sleep, and the effects of sleep, so this research really interested me," Gibson said. "There was a lot of research from people filling out surveys or questionnaires, but there was not a whole lot of data from actually doing a study where you test people, deprive them of sleep and then test them again. The result were pretty much like I had predicted."

Hagaman will present a paper that examines a different approach to teaching undergraduate statistics classes through the use of short video lectures that students can access outside the classroom. He credited Gibson for inspiring him to present his work at SWPA.

"I’ve never presented at a conference before, but when Jessica submitted her work that inspired me to submit a paper," Hagaman said. "I think it’s pretty neat to be able to present a paper at conference and then go hear one of your students present at the same conference."

Gibson hopes to pursues a Ph.D. in psychology and one day teach at a university. She believe that presenting a paper at a regional psychology conference is a good start on her career goals.

"When I came back to college, my goal was to finish my seven hours and to complete my degree," Gibson said. "Professor Hagaman and my other professors inspired and encouraged me to think bigger than that. Now I’m about to present a paper at a conference and I’m starting to look into graduate schools. I wouldn’t have been able to get where I am without the great support and encouragement from my professors at Ozarks."

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Senior psychology major Jessica Gibson and psychology professor Dr. Joel Hagaman will present papers at the 2015 Southwest Psychology Association convention in April in Wichita, Kan.