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Social Psychology students use capstone course to explore a variety of topics

Recently, the Social Psychology Research Project capstone course (4ZZ6) came to a close and students had the opportunity to showcase their work through a virtual poster session.

Mar 26, 2020

Supervised by Sarah Clancy, SOCPSY 4ZZ6 gives fourth-year social psychology students the opportunity to apply the theories, methods and skills they have learned in their degree to conduct research based on their interests. This session included 13 collaborative group projects covering topics including, climate change, the sociocultural experience of children of immigrants, and how students in various Faculties engage in self-validation.

The capstone projects allow students to build both soft and hard skills they will use in their future careers, such as: problem solving skills, time management skills, critical thinking skills, qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills, and refined oral and written skills.  While every student may not come out of the project wanting to be a researcher, the students become more aware of their interests, passion, as well as strengths.

One of the most popular topics to study this year was student support systems.

Four different research projects addressed this topic with the hopes of improving these support systems on campus and making them more accessible to undergraduate students. 

Three groups studied how students access social supports on McMaster’s campus. Their findings showed that the majority of student surveyed were unaware of the support services available to them. They also found that when students were aware of them, did not know how to access these social supports. They suggest that communication about these resources to students needs to be changed in order to make sure students make use of these services.

Another group investigated how providing peer support has affected students socially, academically and personally. This group found that students who engage in peer support saw an increase in their confidence as well as their leadership skills. Most notably, they concluded that providing peer support does not lead to increased stress levels for students as found in previous studies.

Having taught this course since the 2014/2015 school year, Sarah Clancy has supervised over 70 research projects and over 350 students in that time frame. “I am continually amazed at the outstanding research the students produce each year,” says Sarah Clancy. “This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we moved to an online virtual showcase. Despite this changing environment, the achievements and efforts of the members of the capstone class were outstanding.  It has been a pleasure supervising the students and seeing their projects develop over time into the insightful, rich, and interesting social psychological studies.  All of the students should be extremely proud of their hard work and accomplishments.”

Here is a full list of the projects completed this year:

  • Exploring the Impact of Social Media Platforms on Impression Management Strategies Amongst Undergraduate Students at McMaster University by Katrina Abela, Mirella Avignone, Harleigh Graham, Emma Hillman, Taliesin Ho-Devine, and Zachary Vieira 
  • McMaster Varsity Student-Athletes Perceptions on Accessing Social Support Services by Rose Adusei, Shanya Aguilar-Andrade, Karmen Chazi, Tiah Di Benedetto & Elias Srouji
  • A First Year to Write Home About: A Quantitative Study of First Year Housing Environment and First Year University Experience by Julia Bilanzola, Josina Bouwman, Erika Keys, Emma Owen, Makayla Roth, Aisha Syed
  • Exploring the Impact of Parental Relationships on Children’s Perceptions of Their Own Relationships by Matt Cebo, Ayesha Kaleem, Georgia Manolaki, Daisey Morningstar, Neal Skinner, Samira Yusuf
  • “A Gram of Impression Management”: An Investigation of The Influence That Impression Management on Instagram Has on McMaster Undergraduate Students by Maddi Cohoon, Melissa Gadea, Michelle Hopper, Claire Schnalzer, and Ryan Waterhouse
  • Perceptions of barriers to accessing student social support on campus among McMaster University undergraduate students by Christian Crossley, Briana English, Jaleel Esdelle, Patricia Gayongorsa, Dion Nguyen, Sarah Umpleby and Robyn Vardy
  • The Experiences and Perceptions of Providing Peer Support as an Undergraduate Student by Bethany Crozier, Jaime Delaney, Annette Fong, Lok Yee Lam, Tabatha May, Maha Salem
  • An Analysis of the Sociocultural Experience of Children of Immigrants by Charlotte Currie, Safia Khaled, Mackenzie Machry, Monica Nguyen, Rojean Tasbihdoust
  • A Qualitative Study of Self-Validation among First-Year Undergraduate Students in STEM and ARTS Programs by Ranuli DeSilva, Tessa Hinkel, Emily Pooran, Taylor Smiley, Alysha McDonald, and Namya Tandon
  • The Impact of Social Structures on the Perceptions Surrounding Change: Does the Media Influence McMaster Undergraduate Students to Make a Difference? By Madisynne Gallen, Eliza Buckingham, Jessica Greco, Claudia Choi, Yasemin Arikan, & Andrew Leuzzi
  • DIY Identities: Managing Identities in Undergraduate Settings by Sakhshi Khanduja, Maja Terzic, Kiara Daw, Kimberly Fernandes, Nirushaa Pathmanathan
  • “We Can Do It”: Exploring Self-Efficacy in Self-Identifying Women Across Faculties by Katie Rayner, Stephanie Hayes, Adele Cuicani, Taeja McKoy, Ariana Torabipour, Aidan Kober
  • Ready, Set Locate: Social Support Services on Campus: A multi-method approach to understanding perceptions of social support services on campus by Sara Roberts, Katie Barwinski, Sarah Salerno, Samantha Kelln, Brianna Delibato

Some of the posters presented are available online. View the posters to learn more about the group’s methodologies and findings.  

Congratulations to all of the students in this year’s Social Psychology 4ZZ6 capstone class.