April 27, 2012
Graduate thrives on research opportunities, guidance from professors
Jennifer Evans dominates her academic advisor in a weekly chess match, and she’s not afraid to say that. But that’s the kind of positive student-professor relationship she has with Dr. Carla Edwards, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Counseling at Northwest Missouri State University.
This spring Evans, a Stanberry native, completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Northwest. In the fall, she will attend law school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and hopes to have a career in federal law enforcement.
“Jennifer is a brilliant and compassionate woman whose strength of character will shine in the courtrooms she graces in the future,” Edwards said. “She will be a lawyer who will change the world in positive ways, and we will be proud to say she is a Bearcat.”
Evans came to Northwest as an undecided major, but her interest in psychology took flight when she took Edwards’ abnormal psychology course.
Evans completed multiple research projects with Edwards, two of which Evans presented at the annual Great Plains Students’ Psychology Convention. At last year’s convention, Evans gave an oral presentation based on a research paper she’d written, titled "Honor killing: Seeking an explanation for the unexplainable."
This spring, Northwest hosted the convention and Evans earned a second-place award for her research presentation, “Correlating Diversity with Team Success using the 2010-2011 NBA Season.” The study examined multiple aspects of diversity, including age, birthplace and experience and the role those pieces have in a team’s winning percentage. Evans determined a team’s diversity can be a predictor of a success.
Coming from a small town, Evans said she appreciates the way Northwest exposed her to a variety of viewpoints and experiences.
“I’m so much more open to things,” she said. “I’m more open to learning, and I’ve matured as a person.”
Evans said one of the most important things she’ll take from Northwest is the personal relationships she built with professors like Edwards. After they discovered their shared interest in chess several months ago, Evans and Edwards met for one hour each Wednesday to play.
“I think Northwest is a great learning environment,” Evans said. “I think about that a lot now that I’m graduating. Would I still go back and choose Northwest again? The answer is yes. There’s a lot of great people here.”
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