Student Opportunities

Psychology student Claire Graves presents her research at the 2006 Tri-state Undergraduate Research Conference.

Psychology student Claire Graves presents her research at the 2006 Tri-state Undergraduate Research Conference.

Research Opportunities

Research opportunities also provide students with valuable practical experience. Whether the research is conducted as your own independent project or working as a research assistant in one of our faculty's research programs, you will learn skills that will help you to be successful in life. Research experience is extremely valuable for those students who intend to pursue advanced study after graduating from Coe, but it is also valuable to those who wish to begin a career immediately upon graduation. You will sharpen your critical thinking skills by learning to formulate a problem, define variables, collect, analyze, and interpret data, and to communicate your findings to others. Communication skills are important in today's world and student's receive numerous opportunities to present their research findings in several venues. On-campus opportunities include the Coe College Student Research Symposium and the Psychology Research Symposium sponsored by the Coe Psychology Club. Additionally, Coe students present at regional undergraduate conferences (e.g., ILLOWA, Tri-State) and professional conferences (e.g., Midwestern Psychological Association).

Some Recent Research Projects

  • Katie Nelson '11 and Sara Ridder '12 investigated the effect of gender on expectations and attributions for classmates' classroom citizenship behavior.
  • Brandon Palmer '10 constructed a moral development scale for investigating cognitive development in emerging adulthood.
  • Emily Ingalls '10 investigated formal and post-formal thought in emerging adults.
  • Chris Orr '10 and Jessica Schade '11 studied the effect of over expectation in causal decision making processes.
  • Aminah Othman '10 studied the relationship between perceptual ambiguity tolerance and need for closure.
  • Alyssa DeNeve '10 and Chelsea Eikert '10 researched the effect of self-awareness on evaluation of information relevant to nonconscious goals.
  • Paige Harnish '11, Cedric Owens '10, Michelle Moorehead '10, & ShaNell Young '10 investigated The role of dopamine in negative reinforcement for an escape response in domestic fowl chicks.
  • Mark Carey '10 and Jeremiah Herman '10 studied overexpectation in causal judgment.
  • Danielle Fischbach '10 completed an honors project examining the effects of a writing intervention on writing self-efficacy and locus of control.
  • Jacqueline Moore '10 and Jeff Bostwick '10 investigated influences on the processing of self-relevant cues.
  • Nazli Tarhan Bolak '10 and Matt Suttle '11 conducted a nation-wide survey of psychology professors asking them to comment on the relative importance of teaching various topics in their Introductory Psychology courses. Nazli then translated the survey into Turkish and expanded the data collection to include comments from professors teaching Introductory Psychology in Turkish universities.
  • Willie Waisath '09 investigated the link between global self-esteem and social interaction proposed by Leary's (1995) Sociometer Hypothesis.
  • Emily Ingalls '10 and Ben Roush '09 investigated how the motivation underlying an employee's organizational citizenship behaviors impact on co-workers' perceptions of organizational fairness.
  • Elizabeth Grossman '09 & Kayla James '10 investigated the influence of self-consciousness and implicit primes on behavior.
  • Kate Olson '09 investigated the preferences of Cedar Rapids Symphony customers pertaining to advertising methods and preferred genre of performances.
  • Megan Mozley '10 investigated the effect of self-esteem on processing of self-relevant information, and whether that effect is modified by self-consciousness.
  • Suzanne Webster '09 investigated whether the phenomenon called blocking is responsible for human causal judgment.
  • Molly Ehm '09 investigated whether positive or negative images increase a person's likelihood to donate and/or volunteer for environmental conservation causes.
  • Steven Beckwith '10, Sarah Belaire '09, Brett Biermann '09, Audrey Decker '10, Marie Hunt '09, & Crystal Robinson '10 studied the effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure (E10-E12) on spatial learning in domestic chicks using the detour learning task.
  • Katie Mraz '09 & Nicole Wood '09 used Kirkpatrick's model of training criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of a poverty simulation exercise.
  • Nazli Bolak Tarhan '10 & Sora Beck '09 investigated the relationship of Kruglanski & Webster's Need for Closure Scale to creative thinking, perceptual ambiguity tolerance, and voting behavior.
Colby Beer and Ashley Buol present their research at the 2006 Tri-state Undergraduate Research Converence.

Colby Beer and Ashley Buol present their research at the 2006 Tri-state Undergraduate Research Converence.

Internship Opportunities

Most Psychology majors at Coe complete their Practicum experience by completing a career-related internship or a research project. An internship can significantly strengthen a student's candidacy for graduate schools and for jobs. The Psychology Department works with the college internship coordinator. In recent years, psychology students have held internships at Tanager Place, Four Oaks, Department of Corrections, Cedar Rapids Police Dept, and Polk Elementary School. Examples of work that current students and recent graduates have completed include:

Some Recent Internships:

  • James Locke '11 completed an internship at Tanager Place.
  • Katie Nelson '11 worked at Van Meter Industrial in the Organizational Effectiveness Department as a Learning and Development Intern.
  • Molly Rawson '11 completed internships at the Oldorf Hospice House and in the Human Resources department at Mercy Hospital.
  • Thea Curtin '10 completed an internship at Kids, Inc. in Marion, IA.
  • Megan Esch '10 interned at Sedlacek Substance Abuse Treatment Center.
  • Scott Bolles '09 interned as a financial representative at Northwest Mutual.
  • Colleen Fowler '09 was an OT intern at St. Luke's Hospital.
  • Anya Gersib '09 worked as a fundraiser for St. Luke's Foundation.
  • Kelly Weston '09 interned at Tanager Place as a youth services worker.
  • Tyler Jentz '08 interned in human resources at Ruffalo Cody.
  • Erin Blythe '07 completed a social work internship at the Linn County Department of Human Services.
  • Valerie Curre '06 coordinated summer conferences at Coe College during the summer of 2005.
  • Tiffany Miller '06 worked at Waypoint Services as an advocate for victims of sexual assault.
Jacob Harder presents his research at the 2006 Tri-state Undergraduate Research Converence.

Jacob Harder presents his research at the 2006 Tri-state Undergraduate Research Converence.

Beyond the Classroom

Student organizations and activities allow students to explore their interests in psychology outside the classroom. Psychology majors at Coe have numerous opportunities to learn about psychology.

  • The Psychology Club promotes interest in the field of scientific psychology. It provides opportunities to learn about current research, preparation for advanced study, and careers in psychology through social and academic interactions events. The Psychology Club sponsors talks by individuals working in psychology-related careers, trips to undergraduate research conferences, and the annual Coe Psychology Symposium.
  • Psi Chi is the national honor society for psychology. Coe College has a chapter charter in this prestigious organization and has inducted several members. If you are interested in applying for membership, please contact Mike Baker at
  • The Annual Psychology Research Symposium is sponsored by the Psychology Club and gives Coe psychology majors an opportunity to present their research to the Coe Community. Students who have who have completed an honors thesis, an independent research project, or have worked with faculty on research sharpen their communication skills during oral presentations describing their work.