Can foster children grow up to succeed in the working world? What treatments are being used to help children with autism? These questions were answered for the staff and students from different majors who gathered in the Mahoney Library on October 22, 2013 to view the presentations of the senior Sociology majors.
This year's topics were Common Treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders by Amy Cooper; Child Abuse: Risk Factors & Effects by Safran Ishmael; Influence of the Father: Eating Disorders in Young Women by Wendy Lertola; Children with Siblings Versus Singletons by Kelly Nunn; Elder Abuse by Lyndsey Piekarz; The Transition from Foster Care to Adulthood by Brieana Simmons; and The Effects of Music on Mood by Subhana Wrights. The posters will be exhibited in the Mahoney Library until Thanksgiving.
Many of these students picked their topics due to personal experiences or a great curiosity. For example, Amy Cooper, who is also majoring in Early Childhood Education, has always had an interest in autism. She says that after graduation, she would like to teach in a school that specializes in autism, like Park Lake in Rockaway, New Jersey. "A lot of times, students with autism are pushed down to the bottom and not given the attention that they necessarily need because people think that they will never function in life. And that's not the case," Cooper explained.
Brieana Simmons, who will be pursuing her Master's from the College, interviewed people she knew who were in foster care to see how they found jobs for the first time. "My research says that there is a lower chance of them succeeding. This project will benefit society by offering deeper research into the topic and help foster kids as they are adults."
The process of creating the poster presentations began during the fall semester of the students' junior years. The students took the class Research Methods to choose the topic they were most interested in. During the spring semester of their junior year, the students took a Data Analysis class where they would distinguish the main points of their research and learned how to place that information on their poster's format. Both classes were taught by Dr. Anne Langan, an associate Sociology professor.
In the past years, the sociology students would attend a conference to exhibit their presentations to a wider audience. However, due to Hurricane Sandy, last year's group was not able to attend the conference held in Rhode Island's Bryant University. A conference will occur this spring but the location has not been determined yet.
"I couldn't be more proud of these presenters. This is some of the best work that our students have done," said Dr. Mary Chayko, professor and Sociology department chair. The mission of the College's Sociology Department is to teach its students about the social world, critique conditions that affect social life, and discover how changes operate within society. Now they will be ready to change the world with all the knowledge that they retained from their year-long research projects.