Wheeling University Student Recipient of WV Space Grant Scholarship
Wheeling, WV, February 2, 2021 — Wheeling University psychology major Emily Thomas is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from WV Space Grant Consortium.
To be eligible for the scholarship, the student must be a full-time Wheeling undergraduate, with a 3.0 GPA or higher, and conduct research on a specific topic with a University professor. The professor then serves as the student’s mentor during the ongoing research project.
Thomas, a junior from Martins Ferry, Ohio, will conduct research under the guidance of Dr. Kristin McCombs, assistant professor of Psychology, to explore “The Effects of Work Environment on Perceptions of Performance and STEM attitudes.”
“My research will explore various workplace scenarios, such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), humanities, and non-academic pursuits, to determine what differences exist in perception of workload and attitudes toward STEM,” Thomas said.
To explore this, Thomas will ask a number of questions to Wheeling University undergraduate students during the Spring semester. The research may be instructive for determining how to further engage undergraduate students in STEM areas.
“The WV Space Grant Scholarship provides an opportunity for our students to pursue academic exploration through a funded research experience. As a recipient of this scholarship, Emily has an opportunity to conduct important research as an undergraduate that could provide valuable insights into how institutions can encourage students to pursue STEM careers,” said Ginny R. Favede, president of Wheeling University.
Dr. McCombs, Thomas’ faculty mentor for the research, added, “I consider Emily to be one the strongest junior psychology majors at Wheeling University. She has graduate school aspirations and is ready to explore independent research projects. As a Space Grant Scholar, Emily will be able to develop her skills as a student researcher, which will afford her an opportunity to build her skills in statistics, research methods and professional communications. Additionally, she is vice president of the Psychology Club and Psi Chi – the Psychology Honor Society – and is actively involved with service projects for these groups.”
Thomas said upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she would like to attend graduate school and obtain a doctorate in clinical psychology, with aspirations of entering the field of clinical psychology.
Since 2000, more than 200 Wheeling University students have received Consortium funding to carry out STEM research.
The West Virginia Space Grant Consortium is a NASA-sponsored organization consisting of 12 West Virginia academic institutions and eight corporate and scientific partners. It is dedicated to building research infrastructure and promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in West Virginia. The consortium’s programs focus on research, collaborations with high-tech industries, student fellowships, K-12 education and public outreach. This is consistent with the strategic vision for the state’s participation in the nation’s future endeavors in science and technology.