One of the great things about attending a small four-year school is that you get a lot of opportunities that students at big campuses will never have. For example, as a sophomore, I'm lucky enough to be a part of a research team at Luther. When applying for graduate school (if I ever decide on a career path), I'll have something to talk about that most other applicants won't; being able to say that I've been part of a research team for three years will (hopefully) make me stand out. And this isn't because I'll be a better applicant than other people -- it's because I go to Luther.
Earlier this year I spoke with Dr. Loren Toussaint of the Psychology Department about his research - and he churns out a ton of it! He enthusiastically leads the Laboratory for the Investigation of Mind, Body, and Spirit (if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you'll know that's right up my alley). Right now, I'm helping with two studies: one that is looking at the role forgiveness, and another looking at the effectiveness of WHEE.
While I can't share the details on this research yet (partly because I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to, but mostly because we haven't run the statistical analyses yet), I can share that I'm really enthusiastic at what this research is looking into. In my Health Psych class (also taught by Dr. Toussaint), we've been discussing how a lot of things are advertised as being beneficial to health (for example, asana practice in yoga, or acupuncture, or deep breathing exercises, or chiropractics), but a lot of the world wants scientific evidence for these practices in order for them to become more "main stream". As someone who believes in better sleep, stress reduction, and exercise before ibuprofen, I think this is really neat research. And I'm lucky that the faculty at Luther thinks so, too.