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"I strive to change the way of the current film industry and make it more inclusive for people of different backgrounds, starting with my own work."

Jazmine Ramsey, M.F.A. in screenwriting and playwriting graduate student

Master and doctoral students studying a wide variety of disciplines — from business, communication, community engagement and education to engineering, environmental studies, health care, psychology and screenwriting — presented their research March 30 at the Second Annual Graduate Students Conference at Point Park University.

Graduate student research posters and presentations focused on various topics related to diversity issues.

The 2019 conference, led by Psy.D. graduate student Shacoya Bates and Assistant Director of International Student Services and Enrollment Amanda Avampato, was sponsored by Steve Tanzilli, J.D., dean of the Rowland School of BusinessJonas Prida, Ph.D., assistant provost and Steven Hallock, Ph.D., professor of journalism and director of the School of Communication graduate programs.

Graduate Students Conference 2019

“The topic of diversity and inclusion is something I felt I needed to study. Too often we find ourselves avoiding topics that make us uncomfortable, for example, films starring a person of color in leading role. Although things are starting to get better in the field I am studying, we still have a long way to go,” explained Jazmine Ramsey, a graduate student in the M.F.A. in screenwriting and playwriting program.

“Participating in this conference was my chance to help educate others in the matter. I strive to change the way of the current film industry and make it more inclusive for people of different backgrounds, starting with my own work,” Ramsey added. 

Alumna Maurita Bryant ’06 ’07, (pictured right), assistant superintendent of the Allegheny County Police Department and assistant chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, served as the keynote speaker of the conference.

“I really enjoyed Chief Bryant’s insightful presentation on leadership, race and gender, as well as listening to the other graduate student presenters,” said Yvonne Roebuck, College Now coordinator, doctoral graduate assistant, part-time faculty member and a student in the Ed.D. in leadership and administration program.

Department of Psychology Professor and Chair Brent Robbins, Ph.D., then presented the following graduate students with awards for best research presentations.

  • First Place: Autumn Turk, Ed.D. in leadership and administration student, “Using Authenticity and Relationships to Bridge Gaps within School Culture”
  • Second Place: Kamryn York, Ed.D in leadership and administration student, “An International Teaching Experience: A pilot study to analyze diversity engagement and the development of cross-cultural competence of preservice teachers”
  • Third Place: Meggan Lloyd, Ph.D. in community engagement student, "When You Are Surviving You Cannot Dream: Foster Care Alumni in Higher Education"
  • Fourth Place: Patrick Maher, Ph.D. in community engagement student, “Diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Labor Market"
  • Fifth Place: Kimberly Crawford-Champion, Psy.D. in clinical-community psychology student, “Socioeconomic Status and Suicidally in the African-American Woman: A Culturally Responsible Exploration of Moderating Factors” 

“My presentation assessing if oral storytelling as oral history increases a sense of community was an ongoing research study I began in the fall 2018 semester for my community practicum course work. I grew very invested in this project because it is based in my community. I have enjoyed the experience I’ve had with the community members,” said Wendy StMyers, a Psy.D. in clinical-community psychology student. 

Master of Science in environmental studies graduate student Keri Rouse presented the research on her work with the expansion of a citizen science program called Project Bee Watch.

“Pollinators are facing challenges worldwide, but there is no baseline data on the status of pollinators to track population changes or guide conservation efforts in Allegheny County. Citizen scientists involved with Project Bee Watch help to close this data gap. I decided to present on this topic to highlight the valuable way volunteers can contribute to research through citizen science and to raise interest in the upcoming volunteer season and training events,” Rouse explained. 

Rouse added: “The Graduate Students Conference allowed me to practice presenting ideas in a way that is engaging, informative and inspires concern around important topics such as pollinator conservation. I plan to present on this topic at professional conferences in the region, so this was great practice.”

More About: health care administration and management, M.S. in environmental studies, M.S. in engineering management, Psy.D. in clinical-community psychology, M.F.A. in Screenwriting and Playwriting, M.A./M.B.A., community engagement, M.A. in media communication/pr and advertising, graduate programs, doctoral programs, graduate education, Ed.D. in leadership and administration, M.B.A., research