Senior Scholars Day: How Personality Affects Minorities at SU as Told by a College Woman

Research is always important to share with the world because it is about your own unique idea of science. This is why I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the second inspiring woman (you can read about the first here) I met at Seniors Scholars Day, Shannon. She is a senior psychology major that plans to go to graduate school after SU. For her research she chose to look at race-based stress, cross-group friendship, and how personality correlates to it at a predominantly white university. 

When asked what her most significant finding was, she said neuroticism. This was surprising to her because it did not meet her predictions of the survey results. 

Shannon worked in a group to create a poster, and I had the opportunity to look at it and hear her talk about what they did. They used a survey to get the results and the incentive to fill it out was a raffle to win a gift card. The poster said that they had 728 participants which is about 31.7% of the school. 

This leads me to talk about the reflection of their experiment. When asked what they would have done differently, Shannon said that she would have loved to try this survey at a larger school that may not be predominantly white. Also, she said that a couple of the questions that were on the survey could have been worded a little differently. If they had changed some of the smaller things that they found to be problematic, it could have changed the results significantly. 

One of the things I found helpful with this poster and presentation is that they had tables on the poster of their results to show how the results correlated to the meanings of their findings. This gave all of them a chance to expand on the parts that they did and complement each other to make sure that all of the people that came to see the poster were able to understand what they might have been a part of. 

One of the tools that they talked about using was the big five personality traits. I found this interesting because from what Shannon told me it was very helpful in analyzing what types of people do and don't fit into the predictions they had. I personally found the presentation to draw my attention because I always liked the idea of learning more about psychology and how it could be applied in real life. Some of the things they talked about, I guessed the meaning of and was wrong, but it was nice that Shannon took the time to explain it to me so that I would understand what they were really trying to find out about our campus. 

Part of the goal of this research was to enable universities to develop a stronger support system for minority students at a predominantly white university. Since she plans to go to a graduate school that is a little larger than Susquehanna, I asked Shannon if she would consider doing the same experiment at the graduate school she is attending. Her response was that she had not really thought about it but that if she did it would probably yield the same results and prove the findings more. 

I was not surprised by this response. If you put so much work into something like that, it would be cool to try it at a number of places and see if the same results occur or if the results change based on the location and size of the school. 

Shannon was nervous to present but once she started talking to me about it, she felt a lot better. I can tell that she put a lot of hard work into it and that she really has a passion for psychology. I am so excited to hear about where graduate school will take her. 

Thank you, Shannon, for letting me take this opportunity to share your research and hear more about your passions in life. It is so amazing and you did great at Senior Scholars Day!