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CSU student work featured at conference

By Curt Yeomans

Shalani Ayers and her research partner, Jessalyn Coddington, are constantly reworking their research on the impact that regional differences have on the amount of time men and women spend doing housework.

Ayers and Coddington are both seniors. Both are majoring in psychology at Clayton State University, both are from Locust Grove, and both have been working on their research since last fall. When they began looking into the topic, it was as a class project for their research methods class, Ayers said.

Since then, Ayers said, they've narrowed down their study and they've included findings from additional data they have come across. She said they are meeting today, to look at even more data on the topic.

"We're always tweaking and changing things to make it better," Ayers said. She later added, "We're trying to go for publication eventually."

Ayers and Coddington are two of the 36 Clayton State students scheduled to present their scholarly research at the Clayton State University College of Arts and Sciences' first-ever "Academic Conference," which will be held at the school from 9 a.m., to 4 p.m., on Friday.

The event will be held in room 200 of the Clayton State University Library, which is located on the school's campus in Morrow, according to Deborah Deckner, an assistant professor of psychology and co-chairperson of the conference. She said there are 27 research projects, some of which were done by more than one student, scheduled to be presented during the conference.

There will be oral presentations, followed by presentations of posters that illustrate the students' research, she said.

"Some of the academic disciplines represented in the research include psychology, philosophy, sociology, history, English, teaching, biology, and chemistry," Deckner said. "We have works that cover a wide range of disciplines that are offered in the College of Arts and Sciences."

Deckner said the purpose of the conference is to give Clayton State's undergraduate and graduate students a place to show off their academic work. At the same time, it is designed to give local residents an idea about the type of scholarly research that goes on at the university, she added. The public is invited to attend the free event, she said.

"I do kind of think people [in the community] don't understand what goes on here," Deckner said. "They aren't aware of the scholarship that takes place here at the university, so I think this is a wonderful opportunity to illustrate and showcase a lot of the work that people are doing at Clayton State every day."

Ayers said she is "over the moon" about the opportunity to present the work she said she and Coddington are "very, very proud of," to the community.

"I think it's great," she said. "The community gets to see these kids are not just here to go to class, and earn a degree. Some students are out there, trying to earn a good name for themselves."

Deckner said her hope is that the conference becomes an annual event, and grows in size each year it is held. "My expectation is we'll have bigger, and more vibrant, conferences in the years to come as there is increased excitement about it among the students," she said.