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K-State Today

December 14, 2017

Human ecology undergraduate students attend national conference

Submitted by College of Human Ecology

Students attend national conference in Orlando, Florida.

Four undergraduates from the College of Human Ecology — Kristen Krueger, Bo Steele, Meghan Dyster and Mollie Reves — participated in a research project regarding Down syndrome with Briana S. Nelson Goff, professor in the School of Family Studies and Human Services.

The undergraduates, along with doctoral student Jessica Cless, presented their poster "Advocacy Amongst Parents of Children with Down Syndrome" at the National Council on Family Relations, or NCFR, annual conference on Nov. 17 in Orlando, Florida.

Krueger, junior in human development and family sciences, received an Undergraduate Travel Award from the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry to fund her travel to the conference. She also received a Human Ecology Undergraduate Research Award Scholarship for the fall 2017 semester.

Steele, junior in nutritional science and pre-med, received a travel grant from the College of Human Ecology and the food, nutrition, dietetics and health department to fund his trip to Orlando.

Dyster, junior in human development and family sciences, and Reves, senior in communication sciences and disorders, received travel grants from the College of Human Ecology and the School of Family Studies and Human Services.

During their poster session, the students had the opportunity to present their research while networking and learning from others in similar fields.

"I enjoyed seeing and learning about all of the other research projects, as well, as communicating with other students and professionals," Dyster said. "Attending NCFR allowed me to understand the importance and impact research makes within our field."

Research provides a great contribution to the field, but it also provides opportunities and experiences for students. 

"I think research is important because it helps further and improve the knowledge we have," Reves said. "I chose to participate in research as an undergraduate because I learned the value and importance of it in some of my classes and thought it would be a good opportunity in helping prepare for graduate school. Research has helped me learn how to analyze data, be a better critical writer, and has developed my ability to work in a team. This research team also gave me the chance to travel and attend a national conference and has taught me skills in how to be a professional, as well. Overall, this research team has been very beneficial and enjoyable aspect of my undergraduate experience and I look forward to continuing this work."

Each undergraduate student became involved with Nelson Goff's research for a variety of reasons, such as personal experiences, to grow academically and professionally, to make valuable contributions, and to take advantage of the unique learning opportunities. According to Steele, he became involved with research due to a personal experience.

"The reason that I originally got involved with the research was because my sister has an intellectual disability, so I have a soft spot in my heart for research toward that population," Steele said. "Being able to help further knowledge in the field of intellectual disabilities was a very enlightening and rewarding experience."