Breanna Gassner is a 2012 graduate of Penn State Shenango’s Human Development and Family Studies program. Her chosen focus of studies while on campus was Sociology and Research Methods. Breanna conducted survey research examining racial bias/prejudice in college students, and presented her findings at both the 9th Biennial Conference of the Society for Research in Human Development in New Orleans, LA, and also at the 11th Biennial Conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues in Charlotte, NC.
Breanna also co-authored a book chapter, entitled “Home Visitation Programs: Preventing Violence and Promoting Healthy Early Child Development,” with her professor Dr. William McGuigan which will be published internationally and in both Spanish and Portuguese. She also presented research entitled “The Dark Side of Intimate Relationships: Conflict and Commitment” at various Penn State campuses including Shenango, University Park and Behrend.
Besides all of her outstanding research and academic achievements, Breanna was also very involved outside of the classroom on Shenango campus, giving her a well-rounded education while attending. She was a research assistant, a Learning Center tutor, a member of the Honors club, Historian of the HDFS club, and President of the International Cultures club.
Breanna’s future plans include attending graduate school in order to obtain a Ph.D. in Sociology and to become a professor at a university.
Sarah Stephenson graduated from Penn State Shenango in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Her main area of focus in her studies at Shenango was children and adolescents. During the spring of 2010, she was approached by one of her professors about participating in a research internship opportunity. By taking advantage of this offer, she has presented at two national conventions. Her research has been featured at the 19th Annual Colloquium of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children in Philadelphia, PA, and also at the 73rd Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations in Orlando, FL. Sarah has also co-authored a chapter with Dr. William McGuigan entitled “What works in primary prevention of child maltreatment” in What Works in Child Welfare.
While not working on research and presenting research presentations, Sarah had time to excel in academics, receiving recognition for her high grade-point average. She was involved in Penn State Shenango’s Honors program, and received the college honors certificate for excellence in the honors program. She was also the public relations person for the International Cultures club on campus.
Sarah plans to work for a while after graduation, but is planning to pursue a Master’s degree in the near future. For now, she wants to either work with animals while helping people or work hands-on with prisoners in a restorative justice perspective. Sarah says that after graduation “I will have completed my capstone thesis, I’m already the author of a chapter in a book, and I have presented at two professional conferences. When I apply to graduate school, this will look awesome on a resume, and all of my research opportunities will better prepare me for furthering my education!”