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McKinney Native Cited in Scholarly Publication


December 16, 2004 – A McKinney resident and Collin County Community College District (CCCCD) professor was the muse for an article in a national psychology publication.

Psychology Professor Valerie Smith and a student research program gained national notoriety as the subject of a feature story in the December 2004 APA Monitor, the monthly newsletter of the American Psychological Association. Professor Smith has operated the program with fellow psychology Professor Jennifer O’Loughlin Brooks since 2003.

According to the article, Smith and Brooks run a program in which psychology students could gain research experience by assisting them in “designing, conducting, writing and presenting” their studies on psychology topics. The program has garnered attention at undergraduate research conferences, where students have won awards for their research papers. Smith advised students’ literature reviews, helped construct research instruments and prepared students for conference presentations.

“I was very excited to see that they gave students a voice in this article,” Smith said. “Truly, the key point of the program is to facilitate student growth, so that they are not only better prepared for the rigors of a scholarly life, but more importantly, are excited about such. I also found it interesting that the author chose to highlight the underdog aspect of this program. It clearly indicates the work we have ahead of us in the community college environment in legitimizing ourselves in the eyes of the academic community.”

Brooks said the program is an excellent opportunity for students to gain experience in the field of psychology.

“Hands-on research is a proven method of engaging students in academia. The group is intended as an introduction to hands-on research in psychology,” Brooks said.

“The experience gained is comparable to experimental psychology, offered in the psychology department at four-year institutions. Research is required for psychology majors and is generally taken at the sophomore or junior level. The purpose of research group is for students to understand the importance of research in psychology and to actually complete research projects,” said Brooks.

Collin College serves more than 46,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.