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Trio of Students to Present Research at Spring Sociological Conference

Kristen Finkbeiner, Shelby A. Zornes and Melissa L. Amerman Invited to the North Central Sociological Association's Student Sociology Conference

February 21, 2012

Three Wilmington College students will present their research in such fields as sociology, psychology, gender studies, anthropology and criminology at the North Central Sociological Association's Student Sociology Conference.

Kristen Finkbeiner, Shelby A. Zornes and Melissa L. Amerman had their research evaluated by a committee of professionals in their respective fields and were selected to present at the Association's meeting in April in Pittsburgh.

Kristen's topic is "College Students: Poor Sleep and Academic Performance" while Melissa will present on "Declining Religious Behavior in College" and Shelby on the topic of "Do Women Desire Marriage and Family More Than Men?"

Kristen, the daughter of Bridget and Dave Finkbeiner of Fayetteville, Ohio, is a sophomore at WC, who is majoring in psychology with a minor in religion and philosophy. She plans to attend graduate school for studies in comparative psychology, wants to travel the world — like another Jane Goodall — relating and observing the behaviors of animals.

Her research indicates a direct connection between sleep quality and academic performance. She believes her research and the upcoming presentation are big steps toward realizing her future plans of studying in the field of comparative psychology.

“I will be gaining experience in public speaking, as well as knowledge in understanding the thoroughness of researching and why it’s essential in the growing field of psychology,” she said. “I am thrilled to have this chance — I will bring my own information to the table and just have fun with it!”

Kristen is a member of Student Leadership Executive Board, SAMS Coordinator in Activities Programming Board, College Choral, Gospel Choir, Psychology Club, Honors Program, International Club, Faith in Action, Chi Alpha. She traveled to Nicaragua with funding from the College's Isaac Harvey Fund and enjoys travel, photography, singing, making clothes and meeting new people.

Melissa, the daughter of Michele and John Amerman of Stow, Ohio, has a dual major in psychology and social work. She is a junior and expects to graduate spring of 2013. Career plans include being a social worker in either the foster care system or a nursing home setting.

Her research indicates that most students come to college with some degree of religious faith, but, once in college, their “extrinsic behavior,” such as church attendance and participation in religious activities, decreases significantly.

“Their intrinsic behavior, such as prayer, stays consistent,” she said. “Interest in religion among college students appears broad, but not necessarily deep — the more time and investment religion requires, the less likely students are to engage.”

Melissa is “honored” she was selected to share her research at the conference.

“This experience is a great chance to broaden my knowledge on a great variety of subject matter related to the social sciences, and quite possibly help me in determining my future career path,” she said.

Melissa is a member of Wilmington College's swim team and serves as president of the water polo team. She is a member of Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Shelby, the daughter of Todd and Sherri Zornes of Milan, Ind., is a junior majoring in psychology. After graduating in spring 2013, she plans to attend graduate school in preparation for a career in occupational therapy.

Her research indicates a vastly different level of concern between men and women regarding marriage and family.

“I found that women thought about their future on a very regular basis, between daily and weekly,” she said. “Men, on the other hand, thought about their future on more of a weekly to monthly schedule.”

She surmised this significant gender difference might likely be tied to the roles women play as being a mother, seeking a job and a societal expectation that they be married or connected to a man.

“Men probably are much more concerned about getting a job than the other factors that affect women,” she added.

Shelby said the prospect of presenting her research is both “very exciting and a little scary.” Indeed, the fact that Wilmington College makes research opportunities available to students makes WC compare favorably with larger schools.

“I know this experience will enhance my opportunity to get into graduate school in occupational therapy,” she said, noting this type of research can apply to a number of areas in graduate studies.

Shelby is a member of the swim team, Kappa Delta sorority, Activities Programming Board, SAAC. As a Kappa Delta member, she has engaged in community service with Girl Scout events and, also, raising money for Prevent Child Abuse America and local services that support women and children in need.