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Student Reflection: MPA Conference

MSP is committed to providing opportunities for our students to share their research with the wider academic and professional community through academic support and financial awards.  Interested students are encouraged to connect with faculty or staff to find out more.

Photo from MPA conference in front of a research poster
Jared Smendik (PsyD 1), Kristen Suing (PsyD 3), Dr. Shepler (Core Faculty) at the MPA Conference.

Attending the Midwestern Psychological Association’s (MPA) 2017 Conference was an illuminating experience for me as a first-year doctoral student. During the regional conference, I was exposed to a myriad of new ideas, methodologies, and psychological research projects. MPA provided me with a fun, professional atmosphere to totally geek out about psychology with like-minded people. I would encourage students to find a conference that is reflective of their professional interest and attend at least once. Exposing yourself to contemporary research and professionals can help you better define your own interests and understanding of the topic.

The 2017 Conference was held at the Palmer House in downtown Chicago; countless speakers and workshops were hosted in this ornate and historic building. Attending these events exposed me to new research methodologies and fields of study. Insightful panel discussions also proved to be fun way to interact with presenters, the dialog that was produced was invaluable to me as a student. Many of these discussions were hosted by invited guest speakers who are leaders in their field of research. Although professionals research took center stage, the conference provided students with the opportunity to show off their exploits as well. This was primarily done through the student research poster sessions where students could present their research projects and findings.

I, however, was far from the only MSP student to attend this conference; Andrea Rawat (PsyD 2), Alicia Width (PsyD 2), and Kristen Suing (PsyD 3) also attended and presented their research findings. During the Saturday “Self, Relationship, & Culture” poster session, I presented a research poster that Dr. Dustin Shepler (Core Faculty) developed alongside Kristen Suing titled “Exploration of Sexual Anxiety, Dysfunction, and Satisfaction for LGB People.”

Not only was this an invaluable addition to my CV, it provided me with an experience to presenting my research findings in a professional setting. This entire process helped develop my academic skill set, giving me a better idea of how to conduct research in an effective way. Over the course is this three-day conference I was also able to view work of other students. I appreciated being able to ask them questions regarding their doctorate school responsibility and research interests.

This experience proved to be invaluable to me and I highly recommend attending such a conference to any doctoral level student. It not only gave insight into contemporary research but allowed me to network and socialize with my peers. I personally want to thank the MSP faculty and staff for the support and encouragement. Without their support, I probably never would have been exposed to such an amazing experience.

Jared Smendik (PsyD 1)

Jared Smendik, MA is currently in his first year of the doctoral program.  He is currently working as a Graduate Assistant and encourages other students to reach out to him with any questions about research opportunities.