Photo of Kiah Coflin and Dr. Powell
3.14.2019
By Roanoke College News

Student Awarded Project Funding from International Psychology Honors Society

Psychology major, Kiah Coflin ’19, and Dr. Darcey N. Powell have been awarded an Undergraduate Research Grant for their research project on romantic relationships from Psi Chi, the International Psychology Honors Society. These grants are usually limited to students, but her research advisor, Powell, was also awarded a faculty stipend because Coflin’s honors in the major project proposal scored within the top 11 of the applications received.

Coflin is a senior psychology major with a double minor in French and sociology from Boston, Massachusetts.

Inspired by topics discussed in Powell’s interpersonal relationships class, the two combed through published articles and books, and decided on a project on the romantic relationships and dating trends of emerging adults (age 18-25) via participant survey.

“We will be looking to see how the individuals chose to react and communicate in a series of vignettes that we have created in a set up similar to the ‘Choose your own Adventure’ books we read as children,” Coflin said. “With this, I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of the process and reasons behind why individuals choose to break up with their significant other.”

Coflin will continue working on “Factors Impacting Emerging Adults’ Bid Responses in Romantic Relationships,” the official title of their research. Data from her pilot study has been submitted for possible presentation at the 2019 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood conference. She will also be expanding the pool of participants beyond the college level to be more generalizable for public use. Analysis of data and results in relation to her hypotheses will serve as her project for honors in the major. Coflin hopes to publish findings to an academic journal upon completion of research.

“We will be looking to see how the individuals chose to react and communicate in a series of vignettes that we have created in a set up similar to the ‘Choose your own Adventure’ books we read as children. With this, I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of the process and reasons behind why individuals choose to break up with their significant other.”

Kiah Coflin '19

"I chose to pursue my research agenda at a liberal arts college, such as Roanoke, because of the opportunity to support the development of undergraduate students' research skills," said Powell. "I have been fortunate that students, like Kiah Coflin, have dedicated so much of their energy and enthusiasm to research-oriented tasks," Powell added. 

Psi Chi’s grant, which can be up to $1,500, will go toward buying computer software to analyze data and to pay participants. All of Psi Chi’s awards, grants, and scholarships are peer reviewed by volunteer doctoral-level faculty.

“The one-on-one relationships I’ve gained with professors at Roanoke College have been extremely valuable,” said Coflin. “They’ve allowed me to expand upon my interests outside of the classroom, join my professor’s research lab, and gain insight on the world of psychology with a mentor who has helped me every step of the way.”

After graduation in May, Coflin will attend graduate school for school counseling