2018 Spring LC Magazine

During the summer of 2016, Melanie Gehringer ’18, a business and psychology major from Cochranville, Pa., was able to secure a Student Research Grant (SRG) to work with Coyle. With support from trustee chair emeritus, Art Haberberger ’59 ’11H, and his spouse, Joanne, SRGs enable students to dedicate their time to collaborative research projects with faculty in lieu of holding down a summer job. With the help of the grant, Gehringer worked with Coyle to examine the link between motivational orientation and emotions in the workplace. Their study examined sub-groups of individuals with different motivational orientation, which refers to a person’s interests, attitudes and willingness to master a task. “Our findings point to a clear within-person relationship between motivation and the emotions people feel, which affect an individual’s performance and productivity,” said Gehringer. “The results can help managers learn better ways to encourage their employees.” “Melanie was heavily involved with all phases of the research, from developing the conceptual arguments, to organizing relevant literature on the topic and writing up results for industry peers,” said Coyle. Gehringer went on to successfully present “Relating Approach-Avoidance to Affect Using a Pattern-Oriented Approach” during the 2017 annual meeting of the Society for Industrial and Occupational Psychology (SIOP) in Orlando, Fla., a competitive conference that typically accepts only 20-30 percent of submissions for presentation. The work in Coyle’s lab influenced Gehringer’s career plans, and she recommends that students considering graduate school pursue research as an undergraduate. “Without this opportunity, I would not have a sense for what is involved in graduate-level work. Experiencing it first-hand boosted my confidence, allowed me to network and helped to cement my plans for the future,” she said. Amy Plocinik ’18, a business major with minors in accounting and psychology from Macungie, Pa., also received an SRG. During the summer of 2017, Plocinik worked with Coyle on several research papers, though the pair primarily looked at the relationship between perceptions of leaders and followers, and relationship quality between supervisors and subordinates. Their unique view of leader and follower roles earned them several spots at the 2018 SIOP annual meeting — in fact, a total of three of Coyle’s and Plocinik’s poster submissions were accepted at the competitive conference: “Examining Patterns of Implicit Theory Congruence between Leaders and Followers”; “Investigating Patterns of Alignment on Implicit Theories and Self- views”; and “Comparing Profiles of Followers in Students and Working Adults.” Additionally, a paper presentation entitled “Gender and Emergent Leadership: When Prosocial Motivation and Communication Matter” was accepted for presentation at the symposium “Gender and Leadership in STEM and Team Contexts: Addressing the Gender Bias.” “Participating in Dr. Coyle’s research made me realize that my passions have changed. I now plan to apply for Ph.D. programs in the hopes of becoming a professor in higher education, after gaining some corporate experience,” said Plocinik. “My advice for other students is to take advantage of any experience available. It taught me critical thinking skills, analytical and statistical skills, and increased my ability to read academic literature — all of which will positively affect my future.” “Amy is now learning and critically thinking at a post-graduate level, and her experience at the SIOP conference will help to make her more competitive for opportunities after she graduates, whether that’s a professional appointment or graduate school,” said Coyle. Plocinik and Coyle will travel to Chicago to present leadership research at the 2018 SIOP annual meeting. Through all of it, Coyle wanted to show these promising researchers what graduate- level collaborations are like. As a professor and mentor, he relishes the opportunity to introduce eager and talented students to the tangible effects of research, and to build the confidence that will help them successfully pursue careers or admittance to graduate school. “Without this opportunity, I would not have a sense for what is involved in graduate-level work.” - Melanie Gehringer 29 www.lycoming.edu