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Research opens doors for psychology major

Jessica Daudier graduates this week with the research experience she’ll need to be a successful doctoral student.

Daudier, a psychology major from Floral Park on Long Island, worked last summer on a paper focused on recruiting and retaining African- American and Latino subjects for couples and family research.

“African-Americans and Latinos don’t trust researchers or institutions,” Daudier explained. Results of research projects often can’t be generalized to those communities because they weren’t included in the study group.

What’s needed, Daudier and her co-author, student Edward Mateo, concluded, is better communication. Researchers must build trust with these subjects and keep them well informed about a given study.

Daudier, who presented her findings at conferences in Buffalo and New Mexico, expects to go on to graduate school for a doctorate in family and marital psychology.

She participated in the McNair Program, which is designed to increase the numbers of low-income, first-generation and/or underrepresented minority students attending graduate school and receiving doctorates.

Daudier, 22, knew in high school that she’d study psychology in college. “I always thought about the way the mind works and why people do the things they do,” she said.

She also found time at Binghamton to join a multicultural sorority. Daudier, now president of Delta Gamma Pi, said she enjoyed the group’s focus on community service as well as its commitment to diversity. She has participated in projects at area nursing homes as well as the Boys and Girls Club with the group.

Daudier, one of five children, said her own close-knit family made her curious about other families and how they do and don’t work. “Studying families makes me happy,” she said simply.

Daudier worked on the paper with Matthew Johnson, associate professor of psychology and a specialist in marital distress and family dysfunction.

“She understood the challenge of the project and was excited to work on it,” Johnson said. “Her manuscript is one of the strongest undergraduate manuscripts I have read.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08