A group of Clarks Summit University Students recently attended the American Association for the Behavioral and Social Sciences conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. CSU partnered with Dr. Michael Firmin, conference coordinator and professor at Cedarville University, for this opportunity.
CSU faculty and students had the opportunity to present research at the national conference and moderate lecture sessions. Dr. Heather Hall, associate professor of counseling at CSU, and Master’s in Counseling students Kayla Vine, Benjamin Wilcox and Landon Morey presented lectures on the views that young adults hold regarding the competencies and effectiveness of mental health practitioners. Dr. Lynelle Buchanan, professor of counseling at CSU, presented two, three-hour continuing education sessions on counseling ethics. Students Ashley Dean, Brianna Masterson, Pete VanVolkingburgh, John Jordan and Bekah Jordan along with CSU professor Dr. Keith Marlett also served as room moderators and helped with set-up and tear-down.
At the conference, CSU students had the opportunity to process the work of other professionals and discern the variation in value. Dr. Buchanan clarifies, “Good science is good science regardless of the worldview of the researcher; this conference was full of good science as well as bad science. It was all educational, though. It is helpful to understand the mindset that secular professionals bring to the practice of psychology; in many ways, it just underscores the amazing benefit that our biblical worldview contributes to this field.” She adds, “I enjoyed the opportunity to be salt and light at this conference. I had a participant contact me after my continuing education session who said that she could see Christ through me.”
Students had many opportunities to share their worldview. After a session she moderated, Kayla Vine discussed religion in higher education and shared the gospel with an agnostic presenter. “I think my favorite part of attending the conference was my chance to interact with those who come from different backgrounds,” says Vine. “It was beneficial to hear some of the presenters discuss topics from a different viewpoint, but with fervor and concern for hurting people.”
This conference stretched the students professionally as it gave them the chance to network with hundreds of professionals and academics from around the country. It reinforced their understanding of professional self-presentation and the need to be well-informed of current scholarly trends. Vine notes, “I was encouraged by how many of the professionals and scholars were sensitive to empowering the students that attended. I was welcomed as a ready learner. The teachers and professionals at the conference were actively engaged in building into the next generation.”
-Jessica Eddy is a junior in Clarks Summit University’s Communications-Writing program. She is from Worthington, Pennsylvania.