Psychology students take honors at regional event

Western Carolina University psychology students Dorothy Keane of Sylva and Nick Mescia of Dillon, S.C., won awards for their presentations at the Southeastern Psychological Association meeting in Atlanta earlier this spring.

Keane, a senior psychology major, and Mescia, a graduate student studying clinical psychology, were among 12 WCU undergraduate students and seven graduate students taking part in the SPA conference, marking the largest number of undergraduate students from Western ever to participate in the event, said David McCord, head of the psychology department.

Keane, a 2002 graduate of Smoky Mountain High School and the daughter of Dennis and Mary Ann Keane, received the Psi Chi Regional Research Award for her poster “Influence of Navigational Experience on Cognitive Mapping Skills.”

Mescia, a 1989 graduate of North Brunswick Township High School and son of Nick and Cecelia Mescia, took runner-up honors in the graduate student awards competition for the poster “Does Cognitive Dissonance Mediate Growth in Challenge Activities?,” a collaborative project with faculty member Windy Gordon. Mescia has been accepted into the doctoral program in counseling psychology at the University of Miami in Florida beginning in the fall.

Ten faculty members from the department of psychology and one from the department of human services also participated in the SPA conference, presenting at paper and poster sessions and taking part in symposia. They include Scott Minor, professor of psychology, whose paper “Traumatic Experiences in a Sample of Jamaican Students” was nominated for the Outstanding Professional Paper Award.