April 26, 2023

Psychology Graduate Students Receive Award at 2023 RMPA Conference

Students Jennifer Yazzie and Erica Ficklin, recipients of the Nacy Karlin Research Award
Recipients of the Nacy Karlin Research Award
Jennifer Yazzie & Erica Ficklin (not pictured - Racheal Killgore)

This month, faculty members and students from the Psychology department attended the 2023 Rocky Mountain Psychological Association (RMPA) conference. Several Psychology students received awards and recognition for their work in the field of psychology.

RMPA was founded in 1930 for the purpose of advancing psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare in the States of Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The RMPA convention is held each April and features scientific papers, posters, and symposia are presented. RMPA supports all phases of professional development by the dissemination of scientific and professional ideas with several research awards available to convention participants.

Racheal Killgore, Erica Ficklin, and Jennifer Yazzie, graduate students in the Combined Clinical Counseling program received the Nancy Karlin Graduate Research Award for their work titled, “Indigenous Perspective of Mental Health.” Their research focused on perceptions of disabilities within Native communities in Utah. “The themes from the data were pervasiveness of mental health concerns, hidden challenges of mental health, and walking in two worlds” said Ficklin. “This topic is important to our lab because it focuses on the voices of Native communities about mental health concerns. Our lab is dedicated to serving Native communities and reducing mental health disparities.” Out of the 18 presentations submitted this year, only two received the Nancy Karlin Graduate Research Award. When the group was not presenting, they had the opportunity to meet and network with other psychology students and professionals in the field. “People are doing amazing work! I learned a lot” said Ficklin. “Overall, I feel like I was able to grow in my identity as a future psychologist.”

Several members of the USU Psi Chi chapter also attended this year’s convention and presented on the chapter’s activities for the year. Psi Chi president Reagan Jensen said, “Our chapter this year has been working on building community and connection back up after the pandemic in 2020. We had the opportunity to share with other Psi Chi chapters some of our activities and goals to help give ideas on ideas or practices to take back to their own chapters.”

At RMPA, students in Psi Chi also got the opportunity to participate in educational sessions and a service project for the community the conference was held in. “My favorite part personally was getting the opportunity to engage in conversation with researchers in the field,” said Jensen. “I also really liked being able to make connections with students from across the region. It was a great opportunity to build a community with similar goals and interests!”