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Student psychology paper to be published in textbook

Student psychology paper to be published in textbook

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A paper written by three Lycoming College psychology students in spring 2011 recently has been selected to be published in an upcoming Cengage Learning textbook titled Writing Our World

The study, “Sitting Comfort: The Impact of Different Chairs on Anxiety,” was written by Jenna Baker, Ashlynn Beacker and Courtney Young as an assignment in Dr. Kathy Ryan’s psychology class. It was published in the spring 2011 issue of Schemata, the College’s online journal of student writing.

According to Shanna Wheeler, assistant director of the Academic Resource Center and Schemata adviser, Cengage wants to republish the paper as an example of good student writing. The study examined the extent to which different chairs influence anxiety. Participants included five males and 15 females who were asked to fill out a self-evaluation questionnaire to measure anxiety in individuals.

Baker, a junior biology-ecology major from Newfield, N.Y., said a lot of her classmates at the time were doing studies on touch, so her group decided to take a different approach and focus on anxiety.

“We were really surprised by the results because we thought that more people were going to have less anxiety in the comfortable chair, but that wasn’t what we ended up finding,” Baker said, adding that she was excited to learn the study would be seen by a much larger audience.

“I’m so happy for the opportunities that I have gotten here at Lycoming,” she said. “I feel like I would not have gotten an opportunity to get a paper published if I had gone to a larger college. I have loved Lycoming since I came to my first open house here, and I’m going to be sad when I graduate next year. I’m so grateful for all of the professors who have challenged me and helped me grow academically. As sad as I am to graduate next year, I know that I will have the skills necessary to succeed both professionally and personally from what I have gained from Lycoming.”

Beacker, a junior biology-ecology major from Galeton, said it was the first time any of them had worked on a scientific research paper.

“The results of the study did not match our hypothesis but they did provide us with ideas on how to eliminate variables for future studies to get a more accurate result,” Beacker said. “We were a bit surprised but we had a small sample size and immediately thought of ways to improve our study.”

Beacker said she had great pride about the paper being published in Schemata. “We wrote the paper our first semester at Lycoming and it received an A,” she said.

When Ryan contacted Beacker about the interest from the textbook company, Beacker was honored.

“Saying I was surprised was an understatement … Now I’m just ecstatic!” Beacker said. “I’m thankful for the opportunities that my classes and professors have provided me with at Lyco. I’ve not only got a great support system at home but also here at Lyco, and I am so very grateful! My professors have challenged me since day one of freshman year and now at the end of my junior year I can say that this hasn’t changed one bit, but I have changed as a result: I’ve grown academically and professionally.”

Bob Yagelski, the author of Writing Our World, said he found the paper while doing an Internet search for sample student papers in different academic disciplines. The book is scheduled to be published this fall.

“My textbook is intended for first-year writing courses, and it includes many examples of writing to illustrate different aspects of effective writing,” said Yagelski, who also is associate professor of English education at the University of Albany, State University of New York. “In the case of [the Lycoming] students’ paper, I wanted simply to use their introduction as one example of an effective introduction in an academic paper from a social science discipline. The excerpt from their paper will appear in a section of the book that briefly examines different approaches to introductions. I think the students’ paper provides a good example of a conventional introduction that is straightforward, clear and focused.”

Wheeler said she is thrilled that Schemata has an audience both inside and outside of the College.

“When the paper appears in print as an example of good student writing and research, this will reflect very positively on not only the students but also the College overall,” Wheeler said. “I could not have predicted this scenario back in the development phase of Schemata. I was simply looking to provide writing models for our students, as well as editing and publishing opportunities. And now a whole new dimension to the project has opened up – the potential for future publication elsewhere.”

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Its rigorous academic program, vibrant residential community and supportive faculty foster successful student outcomes. Lycoming offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812 and located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit