April 16, 2014
Three Flagler students took home the Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University 2014 Human Factors and Applied Psychology Student Conference on April 11, the second year in a row the honor has been given to Flagler students.
Kayla Hoelzel, Jessey Mitchell and Brittany Kassis, under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Psychology Jeremy Krause and adjunct professor Tracy Litzinger, presented their research on the eating habits of young adults at the conference.
“We were interested in how peers influenced an individual's decision in relation to food,” said Hoelzel, a junior at Flagler. “We wanted to see if people would deviate from their usual standards on food to conform to what their group was doing.”
While the study's hypothesis was that participants would be more likely to base meal choices on what their friends were eating, their research showed that participants were not swayed by peer pressure and chose meals based on their normal eating habits.
For Mitchell, the conference was a great step in her young academic career.
“Being only a sophomore, I was just proud to be able to present our own research and have others appreciate what we've done,” she said.
And while Mitchell’s schooling is just beginning, for senior Kassis, the project will help cap her time at Flagler and be a helpful stepping stone on her path to graduate school.
“I am proud of us for presenting at our first conference and for winning an award,” said Kassis. “This whole experience has been extremely gratifying and has given me immeasurable experience in the field of research.”
From left: Kayla Hoelzel, Brittany Kassis, Jessey Mitchell