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Counseling Psychology Students Show Research Making an Impact

photo of students attending a FRED talk
FRED talks

Two counseling psychology students at the University of Kentucky College of Education gained experience sharing their research during the UK GradResearch Live! competition. The program challenges students to find ways to share their research succinctly and engagingly with a non-specialist audience.

Rayven Peterson took second place in the pre- Three-Minute Thesis competition with “Examining Mistrust: A Content Analysis of Cultural Mistrust Among Black Americans in Therapy Settings.” This portion of the competition is designed for master’s and doctoral students in the proposal stage or with preliminary research findings.

“It is important to convey research to a general audience outside of academia because the research we are doing concerns the general public,” Peterson said. “If we are attempting to disseminate information that has the ultimate goal of creating change, making an impact, we have to be intentional in our way of communicating the information. Not only is it our duty to make it accessible, we have to make sure that it is heard, comprehended and understood.”

Peterson is a first-year counseling psychology Ph.D. student from Dayton, Ohio. She is advised by Dr. Candice Hargons. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Spelman College in spring 2021 with a B.A. in psychology.Her research interest

Portrait of Rayven Peterson
Rayven Peterson

broadly includes social justice issues, mental health disparities, and the barriers and facilitators to mental health help-seeking within the Black community. She is a recent recipient of UK’s Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship.

Grace Haring, in her second year of the counseling psychology master’s program, presented “’It’s Not a Big Deal’: Combating Sexual Harassment and its Lasting Impact on Adolescent Girls.”

“Through this experience I learned how to strike a balance between conveying facts and explaining their importance when talking about research,” Haring said. “It’s easy when you’re in the world of academia to get wrapped up in jargon and language that’s meant for a strictly academic audience. Particularly with research that is designed to make a difference for marginalized groups, it’s so important that the groups in question are able to access and understand what you’re doing. The best social justice-oriented work is done with those that it’s trying to help, not strictly for them.”

portrait of Grace Haring
Grace Haring

Haring graduated Cum Laude from Miami University in 2020 with a B.A. in psychology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. As a graduate student at UK, she is the graduate assistant for Alumni Career Services and a member of the HAMMER Lab. Her research interests revolve around sexual assault prevention, resilience, interpersonal violence, and feminist psychology. She volunteers as a crisis text counselor and her career goal is to become a licensed psychologist with a special interest in interpersonal violence prevention and advocacy work.

“Students from the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology have consistently performed well in this competition. Each year, our department hosts talks named after educational psychology professor emeritus Fred Danner. Called ‘Fostering Research through Engagement and Dialogue,’ or ‘FREDS,’ the talks help students develop and discuss their research ideas in their first semester in front of our departmental audience who provide feedback and support in a low-stakes, high interaction, high reward academic setting. By getting early practice presenting research, our students become well-prepared to take their work to the next level. We are proud of their accomplishments,” said department chair Dr. Kenneth Tyler.