Grace Adofoli

Grace Adofoli Major: Psychology

 Minor: Biology

 Anticipated Graduation Date: December, 2012

 Research Supervisor: Dr. Sarah Ullman, Criminology, Law & Justice, University of Illinois - Chicago

 Faculty Mentor: Dr. Cyndi Kernahan, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

 Research Location: University of Illinois - Chicago, Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), Summer 2012

 Research Topic: An Exploratory Study of African American Sexual Assault Survivors: Religious Beliefs, Religious Coping, Interpersonal Trauma, Contextual Trauma, and Life Satisfaction in Relation to Alcohol Use

Abstract: Spirituality and religiosity are important aspects of the African American personality (Taylor et al, 2004). African American sexual assault survivors often turn to their faith for comfort and answers in times of stress (Short et al., 2004). The current exploratory study examines the relationships between religious coping, religious beliefs, interpersonal trauma, contextual trauma, and life satisfaction in relation to alcohol outcomes. A mail survey was administered to 836 African American sexual assault survivors in the Chicago metropolitan area. We use linear regression models to analyze the data. Based on past research, we expect that African American women sexual assault survivors who are high on spirituality/religiosity as coping mechanisms will report less heavy drinking and less use of alcohol as a coping mechanism. We expect interpersonal trauma and contextual trauma to each be negatively related to both alcohol outcomes. Finally, we expect religious core beliefs to be related to positively related to alcohol outcomes and current life satisfaction to positively relate to alcohol outcomes.

Research Supervisor & Faculty Mentor: Dr. Cyndi Kernahan, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Research Location: University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Research Topic: Race on Campus: How do Students Feel About It?

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine how students from different backgrounds and ethnic groups experience UW-River Falls. Previous studies, including the Campus Climate Survey (surveying all faculty, staff, and students in 2009), have shown that white students may experience fewer incidents of discrimination or bias as compared to students of color. While the Campus Climate survey gave us a broad understanding of differential experiences on campus, we felt it was important to dig deeper into students' beliefs and experiences. In addition to asking about experiences of discrimination on campus more generally and with professors, we also asked about a variety of other issues: GPA and time spent studying, perceptions of their own intelligence, levels of self-esteem and ethnic identification, and background experiences (among many other questions). Our survey was based on a much larger survey of UCLA students (Sidanius, Levin, van Laar, & Sears, 2008) that was modified to fit UW-River Falls. The survey was administered to over 293 students from across campus in classes, student organization meetings, and special sessions set up to collect data (General Psychology Participant Pool). Our results indicated that students of color had lower GPA's and felt less smart than white students but they also reported studying more on average. Students of color reported lower Self Esteem but higher ethnic identification than whites and they perceived UW-River Falls as less diverse than whites. Students of color reported more experiences of discrimination on campus as well as more biased professors. Finally, among students of color it seems that ethnic identification may have a somewhat protective effect. Higher levels of ethnic identification were correlated with higher self-esteem, but also with greater perceptions of campus and professor bias.

Research Supervisor: Dr. N'dri T. Assie-Lumumba , African and Diaspora Education, Cornell University

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Cyndi Kernahan, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Research Location: Cornell University, Africana Studies and Research Center, Summer 2011

Research Topic: Distance learning, Gender, and Equity in African Higher Education: A comparative Study of Selected West African Countries of Cote d' Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal

Abstract: Definition by Wikipedia states, Distance learning/ and or Education, is a "field of education that focuses on teaching methods and technology with the aim of delivering teaching, often on an individual basis, to students who are not physically present in a traditional educational setting such as a classroom. It has been described as "a process to create and provide access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both, Distance education courses that require a physical on-site presence for any reason (including taking examinations) have been referred to as hybrid or blended courses of study". Distance learning/ education has been a catalyst to disseminate global knowledge in developing countries. Distance learning has been reaching the outskirts of remote places, allowing different agents-individual/groups to access the education. Information Communication Technologies (ICT) has greatly contributed to the growing demand of Higher education, in-collaboration with Distance learning. This study is constructed to examine the "effectiveness of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), through distance learning, as means for achieving the national goals of gender parity in higher education in Africa" (Assié- L>umumba). The results of this research aim to analyze the similarities and the differences between non- traditional (distance learning/ICT) and traditional clusters of women in specifics fields /occupation. Through these results, we will analyze the progression and the contribution of distance learning/ICT to eliminate gender parity. The Research project will focus on three countries in the sub-Saharan of Africa. The countries of focus are Ghana, Côte d'n>Ivoire and Senegal.

 Faculty Mentor & Research Supervisor: Dr. Timothy Lyden, Biology

 Research Location: University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Fall 2010

 Research Topic: Fostering the Development of a Research Culture through the Student Organized and Administered Group, SURSCA

 Abstract: The research culture on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus has been growing over the past few years. Since its grassroots inception in 2002, The Society for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities (SURSCA) has been fostering student development in these activities. This student organization is dedicated to promoting opportunities for students at UWRF to conduct and present their research, scholarly, or creative activities (RSCA) at local, regional and national conferences. Conferences such as the campus' annual GALA event enables active students to connect with other students to further foster the development of RSCA culture on campus. This event also provides an ever increasing awareness of the numerous undergraduate research opportunities available at UWRF across all disciplines. Student members of SURSCA believe in the great benefit of peer to peer interactions in fostering an undergraduate research culture at a small, comprehensive university. By supporting and encouraging fellow peers in undergraduate RSCA, SURSCA creates new colleagues in a highly inclusive and competitive educational environment. Opportunities that enable students to showcase their works can increase their competitiveness for graduate schools and/or employment as they look toward the future. The student members of SURSCA not only work to increase involvement of undergraduate research but also have been working to encourage other campuses to develop similar programs. One way SURSCA has been providing students an opportunity to present their research at conferences is through securing a major source of funding for research-related travel. Every year $75,000 of student differential tuition fees are contributed toward a program called "Falcon Grants". Students wishing to participate in RSCA are able to apply for a Falcon Grant to fund their scholarly work. The grant applications are reviewed by students on the Grants Committee of SURSCA and are dispersed on a competitive basis twice annually.