Sociology posters reflect students’ research interests

Joy Chand alongside her 'Too Cool for School?' poster
January 15, 2013

Sociology majors recently presented the results of two semesters of intensive work that examined such topics as the relationship between grades and athletics, music preference, parental contact, sleep levels and illegal drug use.

Kelly Witowsky’s project “Facebook Me!” showed a correlation between number of Facebook friends and self esteem.  Tasha Cramer looked at parental influence in politics in “Mamas Don’t Let Their Babies Grow Up to Be Politicians…or do they?”

Sociology posters reflect students’ research interests Sociology posters reflect students’ research interests Sociology posters reflect students’ research interests Sociology posters reflect students’ research interests Sociology posters reflect students’ research interests Sociology posters reflect students’ research interests Sociology posters reflect students’ research interests

Ryan Gillen, a lacrosse player from Merrick, N.Y., posed the question: “The Athlete’s Mind: Bigger, Faster, Stronger & Now Smarter?”

“I learned that student athletes and regular students have very similar GPAs and that there was no statistically significant relationship between these variables,” Gillen says. “I also learned that the female student athletes have a higher GPA than the male student athletes at McDaniel.”

“Both findings prove that student athletes can either perform just as well or better than their fellow peers who do not play a sport.”

While researching his topic, Gillen discovered an interesting fact on the NCAA’s website: Division III athletes have a higher graduation rate (89 percent) than their peers at Division II and III schools – and it is also higher than students who go to a Division III school and do not play on an intercollegiate sports team.

The students begin their projects by selecting a topic they are interested in for the Research Methods class, which is part of the Writing in the Discipline (WID) requirement of the McDaniel Plan. Topics range from attitudes toward a range of social and national issues, self esteem, satisfaction with campus services and others, and the students write two testable hypotheses and create questions for a survey to test those hypotheses, according to Debra Lemke, professor of Sociology and department chair.

After conducting a random sample of residence halls – which typically brings a 70-percent response rate – students analyze the data and write a paper, practicing their quantitative reasoning skills, survey research and scientific thinking. This is the paper they convert to a poster presentation in their capstone course.

Together the capstone and methods courses make up the WID for Sociology and result in each student’s poster presentation. About 14 seniors presented in December and the remaining 17 Sociology seniors will present in the spring.

“The presentations are the result of two semesters worth of very hard work and extensive intellectual reflection,” Lemke says, explaining that the posters require the students to distill and communicate scientific research to a lay audience. “What I am proudest of is the fact that all of our students present.”

Senior Sociology majors presenting in December:

Joy Chand of Frederick, Md.: “Too Cool for School?”
Tasha Cramer of Manchester, Md.: “Mamas Don't Let Their Babies Grow Up To Be Politicians... Or Do They?”
Kelly Crawford of Galloway, N.J.: “Don't Hate... Motivate”
Shelby Dolby of Frandford, Del.: “Managing Time for the College Climb”
Cody Fields of New York, N.Y.: “Dating or Drinking? Why Not Both?”
Anna Fine of Ridgewood, N.J.: “Gettin' High.... Grades”
Ryan Gillen of Merrick, N.Y.: “Bigger, Faster, Stronger & Now Smarter?”
Kristina Karim-Makle of Baltimore, Md.: “Call Me, Maybe?!”
Sydney Kirchhoff of Columbia, Md.: “Don't Ask, Don't Tell?”
Devon McAndrew of Westminster, Md.: “Men, Women & Abortion: Who Decides?”
Andrew Rosenblatt of North Potomac, Md.: “No Parents? Party Time!”
Katelyn Slade of Westminster, Md.: “Do & Die... or Just a Slap on the Wrist?”
Billy Wessells of Middletown, Del.: “Catching ZZZ's and Getting B's”
Kelly Witowsky of Potomac, Md.: “Facebook Me!”