EDITORIAL: ELEVATING UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
By Daniele Artistico, PhD & Carolina Montes, BA
Published January 1st, 2017
Unquestionably, young scholars receive excellent training in graduate psychology programs. At the undergraduate level however, what seems to be missing is an early education past introductory research methods and into the realm of research publication; hence the goal of our efforts. UP Scholars is a journal specifically dedicated to undergraduate research in psychology, not just as an outlet but also as a vessel to the high impact practices. In fact, even the most sophisticated psychological research contributes little to the discipline if the findings and implications are not disseminated to the scientific community. Our mission is then, twofold. On one hand, we would like to make good quality undergraduate research visible, while on the other hand we would train our undergraduate students to become the scholars of tomorrow (if not today).
We are an eclectic mix of student-centered educators. We dedicate efforts to foster scholarship among our students. In the classroom, we encourage students to connect course material to their life experiences and research interests. Outside the classroom, we especially enjoy mentoring students’ research. We also recognize that our students are diverse, with varied needs, which we strive to address on a one-on-one basis.
We have a selected and wide-ranging team of professionals whose passions lie in a multidimensional approach to psychological science. Among our most prominent associate editors we have recruited Drs. Mangels, Johnson, Sibrava, and Young. Dr. Mangels’s research focuses on how social context, to-be- learned material, and motivation work together to promote or hinder an individual’s learning process. Dr. Johnson is a counseling psychologist whose main focus pertains to advancing culturally informed psychological practices in the clinical field. Dr. Sibrava’s research focuses as a whole on the various factors that contribute to the cause, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety and related disorders. Dr. Young investigates how contextual and situational factors influence face memory and inform the decoding of emotional expressions. Our faculty’s wide range of research interests will be vital as we continue to widen our students’ horizons through UP Scholars.
Despite the multilayered level of expertise of our team, we have an overarching goal, which is to prepare students for advanced graduate training in psychology and ultimately for careers in applied settings. Our common strategy in this context will be executed through a joint and rigorous editing process, which will serve as a model to young professionals in the field. One example of mentored undergraduate research published in a mainstream journal (Dowd & Artistico, 2016) is about self-efficacy and self-construal and how the two constructs interplay among a diverse group of students. This paper can also illuminate the dynamic we are trying to foster at UP Scholars.
We thought that vicarious experience affects an individual’s self-efficacy as a result of observing successful models. The ability of that vicarious experience to ultimately influence behavior may also be dependent on the observer’s perception of parallels between himself and the model and consequentially, the empathy the observer feels towards the model. We proposed that self-construal facilitates the potential effect of a model on an observer’s self-efficacy. We found that when students were informed of another fictitious student in the same school having performed well or not in the test, that information interacted with the person’s self-construal and affected their self-efficacy. By extension this could mean that a team of highly trained undergraduate scholars can instill self-efficacy in their peers when publishing their work with us.
Another crucial element of this nascent publication is the unique setting in which UP Scholars is located, Baruch College. Baruch College attracts students from all over the world, whereby over 168 countries are represented. Baruch’s student body and most undergraduates are immigrants or children of immigrants. As of Fall of 2014, approximately 32.3% of the students at Baruch were from European Caucasian backgrounds (including Eastern European backgrounds), 10.1% were Black, 13.2% were Hispanic, 30.6% were Asian or Pacific Islander, less than 1% were American Indian or Native Alaskan and 12.3% were international students. While truly creating a global environment to all students, the U.S. News Best Schools has ranked Baruch College in the top 5 of the most ethnically and racially diverse colleges for the past nine years.
With our diverse faculty and student body, we benefit from the many sources of inquiry that only arise once individuals from all walks of life find a place that fosters collaboration and the advancement of high quality practices. UP Scholars is honored to serve as yet another outlet for the enrichment of the undergraduate experience.
Last but not least, we would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Behar, a visiting professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and our own Dr. Sibrava for mentoring and training the junior editorial staff at UP Scholars. With their strong ethical awareness and keen eye for the proper execution of the scientific process, they instilled the highest standards in our junior staff, all of whom found their workshops an invaluable
Dowd S. & Artistico, D. (2016). Type and strength of self-construal interact with the influence of anchoring heuristics in appraisals of self-efficacy. Learning and Individual Differences, 49, 400-405.