SPC Honor Students Present Research Findings

St. Petersburg College‘s Seminole Campus chapter of Psi Beta, the National Honor Society for Psychology Students, has had many successes, most recently when SPC Psi Beta members Mackenzie Moreno and Sabrina Mitchell worked closely with their chapter advisor and Psychology professor Sharon Olsen to conduct research at SPC. Moreno and Mitchell recently presented the research findings in a poster session at the 2018 American Psychological Association convention in San Francisco.

Olsen said the study was not only a learning experience for the students involved, but for all her students.

“The out of class learning experience was tremendously impactful for my Psychology students,” Olsen said. “I have been able to take this student research experience into my Psychology classrooms and give my students a very close to home and real world example of research in the field of Psychology.”

About the Study

The students assisted Professor Olsen in collecting and analyzing the data for their study, titled “The Relationship between Narcissism and Grit in College Aged Students.”  Data for the study was collected from 35 SPC students and 1,839 students from over 40 two-year colleges that participated in the nationwide research project. The hypothesis they were working off of was that students with higher scores on the narcissism scale would have lower levels of grit than those with lower scores on the narcissism scale.

What They Found

The team found that the results for both samples did, in fact, show significant negative correlations between the two variables. In their summary, they wrote:

“The results of the present study are compelling in light of the attention that higher education is placing on civic engagement, service learning, and volunteerism. Recent research has suggested that service opportunities such as these might, in fact, increase self-efficacy, improve engagement, and perhaps even lessen the influence of negative traits such as self-entitlement and narcissism. Developing and strengthening opportunities for civic engagement, service learning, and volunteerism in colleges could prove to be invaluable in reducing self entitlement and narcissism, thereby opening a pathway for development of grit.”

If you would like more information about civic engagement, service learning, and volunteer opportunities at SPC, please visit SPC’s Center for Civic Learning and Engagement blog at http://blog.spcollege.edu/civic-engagement/.

Student Researchers

Moreno graduated from the Early College program at SPC in the spring of 2018, and transferred to USF this fall to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with an emphasis on Industrial Organizational Psychology.

Mitchell finished her coursework for an AA degree at SPC, and is applying to transfer to university.

Olsen said she was very proud of both students who worked with her on the study.

“The project took over a year to complete, and it was all completely voluntary. Mackenzie and Sabrina even funded their own trips to present the study, and were thrilled to professionally connect with others in the field of Psychology. They even met a few well-known Psychologists that the learned about in the classroom!”

Interested in Joining Psi Beta?

First chartered in the summer of 2016, this Psi Beta chapter holds inductions every fall and spring semester. Seminole campus students are eligible for induction if they have earned at least 12 college level credit hours, a B or higher in any psychology course, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25. In addition to participating in campus events, Psi Beta also hosts events related to the field of Psychology.


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