Armstrong Psychology Grads Take Impressive Next Steps

A growing number of seniors earning a B.S. or a B.A. in psychology from Armstrong Atlantic State University are continuing their education at prestigious graduate programs across the country.

According to the most recent data collected by the Department of Psychology, about one quarter of students earning undergraduate degrees in psychology are now enrolled in competitive graduate programs across the country, from Florida to Indiana. Professor Jane Wong, Ph.D., head of psychology, attributes the success of alumni to the wide variety of hands-on research and internship experiences available to them while at Armstrong.

“We give the students the coursework and the research background to enable them to go on to rigorous graduate programs,” says Dr. Wong. “We work students hard, but we help them see what's possible to do with their degree after they graduate.”

For Davor Zink, who graduated from Armstrong with a B.S. in Psychology in 2008, the program provided him with the opportunity to do independent research focusing upon anger memories and to complete an internship in the psychiatric unit at Memorial Health. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in psychology at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and is applying for Ph.D. programs.

“Armstrong definitely gave me a solid education with plenty of research opportunities beyond the classroom,” he said. “It made going to graduate school an easy transition.”

Students at Armstrong have the opportunity to research a variety of topics including animal cognition in rats, the nature of spatial memory and the connection between Internet use and alcohol abuse. With their professors, they have co-authored articles appearing in publications ranging from Behavioural Processes to the North American Journal of Psychology. Armstrong undergraduates have successfully completed internships at Goodwill Industries, the Chatham County Rape Crisis Center, Effingham County Public Schools, Recovery Place and the Matthew Reardon Center for autistic children.

A number of students have had the opportunity to present research findings alongside their professors at major psychology conferences. Eight undergraduates recently joined Armstrong psychology professors Wendy Wolfe and Vann B. Scott, Jr. to present their study of the effects of video game imagery on female body image at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association in Jacksonville, Fla. The students impressed attendees with their detailed knowledge of the negative impact the objectification of female subjects in video games has on both men and women.

Earlier this year, Professor Bradley R. Sturz accompanied psychology students Caroline Eastman and Stephen Cooke to the Comparative Cognition Conference in Melbourne Beach, Fla. to present a paper titled "Solving for Two Unknowns: An Extension of Vector-Based Models of Landmark-Based Navigation.” Senior Caroline Eastman, the recipient of Armstrong's Dr. Stu Worthington Award for outstanding achievement by a senior psychology student, went on to earn a prestigious fellowship to complete a master's degree and Ph.D. in psychology at Tufts University in Boston beginning in fall 2011.

“We encourage our students to collect data and do research that offers vital hands-on learning experiences,” says Dr. Wong. “We have a commitment to quality, which shows in the success of our students.”

Martha Forloines, who earned a B.S. in psychology from Armstrong in 2010, is currently completing a master's degree in experimental psychology at Georgia Southern University. She credits her varied experiences at Armstrong – including research experience focusing upon navigational learning -- with her current success in grad school.

“Armstrong prepared me wonderfully,” she said. “I was able to get involved in research in the lab at Armstrong, to take a wide range of classes and to attend professional conferences. In many ways, I was more prepared than other students in my graduate program.”