Two teams of Hope College students are receiving regional awards for excellence in research from the Midwestern chapter of Psi Chi - The International Honor Society in Psychology.

Hope students have the strongest track record in the region, winning the highly competitive awards in 14 of the past 17 years, with multiple teams winning awards during eight of the years.  There were nearly 600 submissions this year, of which 24 were offered awards.

The awards will be presented during the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago, Illinois, on Thursday-Saturday, May 5-7.  Both of the Hope projects have been on-going, and the students will also be presenting the results of their research during the meeting.

The team of senior Alexa Rencis of Caledonia and junior Rachel Hibbard of Traverse City is being honored for the project “Flourishing in the Wake of a Disaster: Investigating the Effects of Disaster-Related Stimuli on Meaning, Well-Being and Religion.”  The students, both of whom are majoring in psychology and minoring in exercise science, conducted their research mentored by Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren, assistant professor of psychology.

A team of 15 students is being honored for the project “The Physiology of Positivity: Implications of Mindfulness, Hope and Gratitude in Alleviating Worry.”  The students designed and executed the study as part of the capstone course sequence in the college’s neuroscience program, and were mentored by Dr. Lindsey Root Luna, assistant professor of psychology.  The students on the team are senior Allison Kleppinger of Lake Zurich, Illinois; senior Hailey Fairchild of Hamilton; junior Amy Hoag of Hartville, Ohio; senior Maxwell Schuiteman of Fremont; senior Alexander Swain of Brighton; senior Fallon Richie of Auburn Hills; junior Mara Bottomley of Dexter; junior Ethan Goodman of Big Rapids; junior Morgan Herzog of Grand Blanc; junior Madison Mertz of Frankenmuth; former student Manna Shintani of Tokyo, Japan; senior Hillary Smith of Grand Rapids; junior Lucas Wiles of Cedar Springs; senior Austin Elluru of Portage; and junior Christian Otteman of Zeeland.

Psi Chi – the International Honor Society was founded in 1929 to encourage, stimulate and maintain excellence in scholarship, and advance the science of psychology. Psi Chi has chapters at about 1,100 senior colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Ireland and New Zealand. Since its founding, the honor society has registered more than 700,000 lifetime members.

The honor society’s chapters are grouped within six regions: Eastern, Midwestern, Rocky Mountain, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. The Midwestern Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.

Hope’s chapter was chartered in 1965.