Undergraduate Highlights: Research Presentations at the Iowa Sociological Association Annual Meeting

This year’s Iowa Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting was held at Cornell College. According to Professor Mary Noonan, the quality of all the research presented was extremely high and the presentations were not only informative but also very fun. It is exciting to see the beginnings of bright careers!

Three of our undergraduates presented their research. Kaelynn Heidberg (Advisor: Dr. Sarah Bruch) gave a poster presentation on her work entitled “Mitigating the Effects of Implicit Bias among Teachers: An Assessment of Variation in the Effectiveness of a Professional Development Program.” Her work investigates the outcomes of a new program aimed at educating teachers in the Iowa City Community School District about implicit bias and its role in teaching and student outcomes. Kaelynn's work suggests new avenues for applying the theoretical knowledge gained from implicit bias training to teaching pedagogy to improve students' education.

Undergraduate Presenters at ISA
Carolyn Hoemann, Kaelynn Heiberg, and Nick Locke presenting at ISA

Nick Locke (Advisor: Dr. Jenn Haylett), presented his work “Living without Health Insurance: A Qualitative Exploration of Living in Rural Iowa without Health Care Access.” Nick is working with Dr. Haylett to better understand the experiences of rural Iowans with chronic illnesses who have difficulty accessing healthcare. This work is also in partnership with with Dr. Storrs (University of North Dakota, Dean and Senior Vice Provost) as it provides a comparative case of his work interviewing rural people located in the northwest who experience similar constraints.

Carolyn Hoemann (Advisor: Dr. Sarah Harkness) also presented work on the healthcare industry: “Persons Who Use Drugs and Their Healthcare Providers: A Qualitative Exploration of the Construction of Medical Knowledge, Power, and Stigma in Medical Settings.” For her honors thesis, Carolyn interviewed individuals in England about their healthcare experiences and how they navigate stigma within the medical field. Her work also highlights the tensions faced by many of her interviewees between their experiential knowledge of addiction and traditional medical knowledge and treatment strategies. 

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