As of June 2, 2014, CSR is pleased and excited to welcome Laura Luchies, PhD to our team as our new Assistant Director. A 2002 Calvin College graduate in psychology, Dr. Luchies has worked in business, earned a PhD in social psychology from Northwestern University, and taught psychology for three years at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario and at Daemen College in Amherst, New York.
Dr. Luchies has an extensive record of presentations and publications focused on the study of romantic relationships. She is the lead author of the article, “Trust and biased memory of transgressions in romantic relationships” in a 2013 volume of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The project involved just the kind of precise, technically complex research design, data management and analysis that CSR seeks to bring to our clients.
Click “READ MORE…” to read a brief interview with Dr. Luchies!
CSR: What is a main take-away point from your research on romantic relationships?
LL: Much of my research has examined forgiveness between romantic partners. I have found that forgiving can lead to negative outcomes, such as eroded self-respect, for the forgiver. But, these negative outcomes only occur when the partner who committed the offense continues to act poorly by not acknowledging what he or she did and refusing to make up for it. Given that we more often take offense than intend to offend, my advice is that each of us should try to be aware of when our actions hurt others. When we realize that we have hurt another person, we can make amends. When we make amends, others can forgive us without experiencing less respect for themselves.
CSR: How does it feel to be back at your alma mater as a research leader?
LL: Itís so much fun to be back! Walking around campus brings back a lot of good memories from my days as a Calvin student. Iím looking forward to working with faculty members whose courses I took, but this time as a colleague and as someone who can both learn from them and help facilitate their learning.
CSR: Now that you’ve been at CSR for a couple weeks, what’s your impression of your new team?
LL: The CSR team knows how to work hard and how to play hard. Iím grateful to be a part of it.
CSR: What kinds of clients and projects are you most interested in working on?
LL: I love to learn and I love to teach. Iím excited to work on projects that allow me both to learn about new ideas and disciplines and to teach others about research methodology.
This summer, CSR had to say goodbye to many staff and student researchers as they move onto exciting and new adventures. We are so sad to see them go, but so excited for them and the new journeys theyíre embarking on. A big thanks to each and every one of you!
Kristen started at CSR as a student Research Assistant. After graduating from Calvin with a double major in Social Work and Spanish, Kristen worked at CSR as a Research Specialist for another two years. She recently accepted a job and is now working in Grand Rapids for Salvation Army Services as the Data and Evaluation Coordinator.
Beginning as a student research assistant, Traci came to CSR in June 2011. After graduating from Calvin, she worked as a Research Specialist for one year and a Research Associate for her last year. A degree in Mathematics and Geography in hand, Traci is now working in Walker, MI as a Consumer Insights Coordinator for Meijer.
Alexander (Sasha) graduated from Calvin with an International Relations major. He worked for one year as a Research Specialist and has moved onto studying the French language at a university in Paris.
Leah Hoogstra recently graduated from Calvin with a double major in Mathematics and International Development. She was a Research Assistant for two years at CSR, and she is now working at Basis Policy Research as a Research Associate in Grand Rapids.
After graduating Calvin this past May with a major in Environmental Studies and minor in Geography specializing in GIS, Natalie began working as a summer intern at a Property Management company in North Carolina where she was soon thereafter offered a full time job.
Lauren worked at CSR as a student Research Assistant for two years and graduated in May 2014 with a double major in Sociology and Spanish. She is now working in Ann Arbor as a Data Governance Specialist at TD Ameritrade.
Melissa first began CSR as the psychology intern and was hired after her tenure as intern as a student Research Assistant. She graduated spring 2014 in Psychology and Social Work. After graduation, she accepted an internship position in Ann Arbor, MI with a non-profit company called Avalon Housing.
After graduating Calvin with a double major in English and Psychology, Michael has gone on to pursue his Masterís in Educational Research, Methods, and Evaluation at Boston Collegeís Lynch School of Education. He also accepted a graduate assistantship at the School of Educationís Office of Practicum Experiences and Teacher Induction. He worked at CSR for two years.
After working at CSR for a year as a student Research Assistant, Stacia will start her Social Work practicum full time this fall. She will graduate Calvin with a degree in Social Work.
Together with partner scholars Dr. Janel Curry of Gordon College and Dr. Amy Reynolds of Wheaton College, Calvin College is conducting the Women in Leadership National Study through the Center for Social Research. Dr. Reynolds has previewed the results on the “Black, White and Gray” blog at Patheos.com, which triggered later coverage by Christianity Today.
As part of the study, CSR student research assistants have collected data on over 1,700 evangelical organizations selected from the membership of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and the Accord Network of antipoverty organizations (formerly AERDO). Data sources are public records such as IRS forms 990 and ECFA public profiles, along with research assistants’ best estimates of the gender and race of each employee and board member listed on each organization’s 2010 form 990.
The interactive Tableau visualizations below present the results as of spring 2014.
We are looking forward to a presentation by Dr. Nathan Medeiros-Ward on Monday, April 7, as the Psychology Department of Calvin College hosts his talk entitled: “An Investigation of Multitasking and Driver Distraction.”
It doesnít seem that long ago that Dr. Medeiros-Ward served as CSRís first Research Associate, setting a powerful precedent with his problem-solving skills and energetic, collegial management of students and projects. He was a great team leader for the Kent County Congregations Study (KCCS) project, coordinating a team of 13 student field interviewers and 8 student research assistants in the summer of 2007. Upon his graduation from Calvin College with a B.A. in Psychology and Classics, Nathan moved on to the University of Utah, earning his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology in 2013. While in graduate school, he worked closely with David Lee Strayer, one of the original researchers exploring the impact of cell phone use while driving.
Dr. Medeiros-Ward is now a Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois, where he is studying attention and multitasking. Nathan’s research interests focus on the component processes of multitasking using a multifaceted approach that involves traditional behavioral methods, driving simulation, neuroimaging, and training/transfer regimens. He is interested in knowing how shifting and dividing attention are similar and different in various laboratory and real-world contexts, as well as whether or not these abilities can be trained.
One important position that CSR offers is that of Research Associate. The Research Associate assists in the management of ongoing campus and community projects. As part of this project management, the Research Associate supervises, trains, and supports the student research team. The person in this position is responsible for assigning project work, making and meeting deadlines, preparing data, conducting data analysis, and working alongside the other CSR staff to meet project goals. One of our recent CSR Research Associates, Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden, offers the following comments about her experiences at the Center.
Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden
Research Associate from May 2009 - July 2011
Current Location: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Ph.D. program in Experimental Psychology with an Emphasis in Development
It has been a few years now since I worked as the Research Associate at Calvinís Center for Social Research (CSR), but nearly every day I am grateful for the investment that each member of the CSR made in me during my time there. I worked at the CSR for two years under Neil Carlsonís and Jim Penningís leadership and under the steadfast care of Kathy Bardolph. As a Research Associate, I had the opportunity to work with an evolving team of research assistants and technicians while learning about the Centerís many software tools and projects. While I learned countless things, ranging from current topics in Political Science to the language of the Bynars from Star Trekís Next Generation, I also learned key skills that have helped me as a graduate student today. Two key areas come to mind when I think about how the CSR has impacted my day-to-day thinking: the ability to work efficiently with data, and the desire to tell others about the findings and outcomes of my research.
The chief concern of the folks at the CSR is to make sure that the people doing the work were not simply cogs in the machine or mindless data crunchers. Instead, an emphasis is placed on fully understanding the thought process that goes into making decisions about how to store, process, analyze, and interpret data. By being part of the process of weighing the pros and cons of multiple solutions, I learned how to think about data and how to work with it most efficiently. Even now when I come to a problem that Iíve never seen before, such as coding in a program like MatLab, I am able to reverse-engineer (a CSR mantra) my way to a solution. Through my work with the CSR I also learned the importance of thinking outside the box, such as using software tools for collecting online survey data as a way to cleanly have research assistants perform data entry tasks free of typing errors. I do my best to teach other members of the lab at my university timesaving tricks and tips in Microsoft Excel or SPSS syntax with the same genuine enthusiasm for data processing that I learned from the CSR.
Of course, collecting mountains of data isnít the goal of the research process; the most important part of the research process is doing something with the results. Through community-based projects with the DeVos Foundation, I saw the real impact that collecting data and reporting outcomes can have on the community. At the CSR we created complex data visualizations for a summer school initiative that helped individual clients see which outcomes they were excelling at in their work, but also highlighted the areas that they could focus on for the next summer term. This past year I was able to present my masterís thesis data at a music and language development symposium in Montreal, Quebec. Much to my surprise, I won the prize for the best graduate student poster presentation. The knowledge and excitement that I was able to communicate for my own research was fostered and grown through countless opportunities to talk about results during meetings with Neil, our research assistants, and as mentioned above. One of the key avenues that helped me gain confidence in presenting my own ideas was having the chance to be part of the brainstorming process for new research ideas or to uncover best ways to answer research questions with tools like GIS or statistical modeling.
I am indebted to Calvinís CSR for the time and thought that went into mentoring and preparing me to be a successful graduate student. The diverse teachers and learners at the Center made for an enjoyable and intelligent group of people to share in the difficult work of collecting and reporting research findings. Each of the members of the CSR are a real asset for any Calvin student contemplating the graduate school route; these are some of the finest colleagues to work with while learning the constellation of considerations that go into collecting, processing, analyzing, and reporting data, and how to be enthusiastic about doing it!