Centre College students in the Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychology Senior Seminar course shared their knowledge of science to members of the Danville and Centre communities at the Psychology and Neuroscience for the Greater Good Symposium at the Danville Community Arts Center on April 30.
A total of eight seniors presented a series of talks and discussions on a variety of topics and how they can be applied in settings like classrooms and medical offices, as well as in community-based conversations.
Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychology Aaron Godlaski explained how the students spent their semester working with community partners involved in public outreach, healthcare, education and community building.
Attendees heard five presentations that highlighted students working with community partners like the United Way 2-1-1 call center, Heritage Hospice, Danville Montessori School, Citizens Concerned for Human Relations and a nursing manager at a local facility.
Working with these partners was an effort for the students to apply directly the knowledge they gathered from research on stress management, compassion, gratitude, mindfulness and kindness on the problems people working in these places face every day.
“I thought the symposium was more than just a presentation for class; it was an opportunity for us to use the information we studied and offer it to others to help improve their lives, which was a meaningful way to spend our semester,” senior Sarah Hutchinson said.
Godlaski shared how he informed the students at the beginning of the semester that they were going to increase the connection between science and the community.
“It was a really valuable opportunity for the students,” he said.
There is a great deal of information in neuroscience and psychology that can be put into practice by others, he added.
“This class has shown that psychology is applicable in any field into which you enter,” Hutchinson said. “We have studied research and scientific literature that presents evidence to improve work places, decrease stress and depression, and increase morale, team building and compassion, which are all traits that employers look for.”
She explained how psychology is often stereotyped as being abstract and “lab oriented,” and this experience shows how the benefits of psychology can be seen and implemented into any environment and can improve the well-being of others.
“I never thought that as a senior in college I would be going into a workplace and offering suggestions to people, hoping to improve their stress, increase their compassion and gratitude, and improve their livelihood in the workplace and in their personal lives,” Hutchinson said.
by Kerry Steinhofer
May 2, 2017