Three students attending the conference smiling
All three students say they are grateful for their mentors who encouraged them to advance their research while helping them every step of the way.

Sophomore psychology major Madeline Moravcik, junior sociology major Harper Kellogg, and senior psychology major Luke Christensen are attending the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in April!  

This will be the first time students from UTPB will attend the national conference in Long Beach, California. They will be presenting their research titled "Psychological Factors, Social Factors, and Potential Barriers Related to the Non-Use of University Writing Services." 

The students are involved in the Undergraduate Research program at UTPB. They applied to the conference in December and through the help of the Success Center and a few local businesses, they received enough funds to attend!  

“The UTPB undergraduate research program has been indispensable in supporting us, including awarding us with $1000 to conduct our research,” said Christensen. “We are proud to be a part of this community and deeply grateful to everyone who has supported.”  

Psychology studentsTheir mentors are Dr. Justin Vollet and Dr. Rebecca Babcock. All three of the students were writing tutors in the Success Center. The project stems from seeing firsthand the reluctance students have towards tutoring.  

“It means a lot to have the opportunity to present the research that we have been working on over the last six months,” said Kellogg. “This experience will also allow me to gain a lot of knowledge about this side of academic research.”  

The students research analyzes the psychological factors, social factors, and potential barriers involved in the use of writing center services on campus. They are collecting undergraduate survey data about writing behavior and the use of writing tutoring services, or lack thereof. 

The students are also hosting focus groups to better understand students’ experience in hopes of understanding why students don’t attend tutoring sessions. The project began in May of 2023. It was officially accepted into the Undergraduate Research Department in September, after the group furthered their research plan at the Naylor Workshop in York, Pennsylvania.  

This opportunity will help further my career as a counselor and psychologist,” said Moravcik. “As I am only a sophomore, I never dreamed I would be attending a conference during my second year of college.” 

All three students say they are grateful for their mentors who encouraged them to advance their research while helping them every step of the way.  

“They have helped me realize that research will be a part of my story for much longer than my time as an undergraduate,” said Christensen. “They have taught me to be curious and seek answers, even when those answers are not easy to find.”  

The students have worked hard on the project and say they are excited to represent the University on a much larger scale. Christensen says the conference will be a celebration of the work it took to get there.