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Psychology Department Presents: Psychology Speaks


By Tara Woods

The Psychology Department at Grand Rapids Community College is holding its annual Psychology Speaks series.

Each year four new researchers or practitioners come and speak at the college.

“The reason we do this event each year is to bring both researchers and practitioners to GRCC to present topics related to Psychology, Social Work, or Gerontology,” said Frank Conner, head of the psychology department. “Doing so allows students to get a sense of what people are actually doing within our fields and introduces community college students to the type of experiences they will have at a four year university.”

Each event is held at different time throughout the year. The first event will be held on Wed., Oct. 25, and will be about coping with grief and loss, with Shelia Schnidler. Schnidler is a licensed master social worker who specialized in end of life treatment. She currently works at the Pediatric Team for Hospice of Michigan.

The second event will be on Thurs., Nov. 30, and will cover the topic of child development in the technology age with Sarah Domoff. Domoff is an assistant Professor in clinical psychology at Central Michigan University. She will be presenting two of her latest studies, having to do with children and technology.

The third event will be on Wed., Feb. 14, and will be about understanding unconscious cognition presented by Jeff Nevid. Nevid is Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Psychology at St. John’s University in New York. He will cover a wide range of research, such as if we actually are happier on sunny days to how the media portrays skin tones and might create a bias.

The final event in the psychology speaks series will be held on Thurs., March. 22, and will cover the topic of how media affects your brain. Bryan Gibson, professor and Director of Experiential Programs at Central Michigan University, will be speaking on the effects that media has on the brain.

All of the psychology speaker events will be held in room 168 of the Applied Technology Center, and will be at the same time from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The department works together each year to figure out who they want to speak at this event.

“I ask all faculty to recommend speakers,” Conner said. “I also reach out to area universities. Throughout the year I make a list of possible speakers. I then try and find a mix of researchers and practitioners. I also look for topics that would be of interest to students and the larger Grand Rapids Community. The final four presenters are always approved by the department.”

Beforehand, student members of Psi Beta join the speaker for lunch at GRCC’s Heritage Restaurant.

“It’s a great time for them to see and experience how professionals in psychology interact and they get to ask more direct questions and get to know the speaker before the presentation,” Conner said.

If you are unable to attend any of the events, you can find a video of each presentation here, after the event is over.