Joely Tweel hopes her research at the University of South Carolina Beaufort will give her a boost when she moves on to graduate school.
Tweel, a senior psychology major who plans to pursue a master's degree in social work at the University of South Carolina, was one of about 40 students who presented research projects Monday at USCB's fourth Student Research and Scholarship Day.
Tweel's research examined whether conscientious students -- those who are self-disciplined, careful, deliberate and organized -- are motivated by a fear of failure after setbacks. By surveying about 75 USCB students and analyzing the data, she found that conscientious students were less motivated by fear of failing after experiencing failure than their less-conscientious peers. Her project won second place in the hypothesis-driven category.
For Tweel, the process followed in her study was as important as the outcome. As she continues in her studies and enters her field, she'll have to read a lot of research, and doing her own will help her understand others' studies, she said.
Nursing professor Susan Williams, co-chairwoman of the research day, said one of the event's goals is to give students an opportunity to conduct and present research, which will be important as they move on to careers or graduate school.
Students made presentations on a variety of topics, including literary criticism of William Shakespeare and Gabriel Garcia Marquez; health issues such as postpartum depression and sexually transmitted diseases; and natural-science research, including several studies of plant and animal life in the May River.
When Tweel saw the research day for the first time as a freshman, she knew she wanted to get involved. She's hoping the experience will lead to a research-assistant position while she earns her master's degree.
Rebecca Rawson, a senior biology major who has been working on a project with several students to track the habits of dolphins in the May River, said she didn't think she would participate in research like this at USCB.
"I jumped in on this project," she said. "I got lucky. I never thought I'd get this opportunity to do field work."
Rawson and students Andrea Parra and Michael Powell have identified 12 dolphins they consider residents of the May River and three areas they stick to -- the mouth of the river, Buck Point and Bull Creek. Their work earned first place in the descriptive/exploratory science category.
Rawson said the experience will help her in the future.
"With field work, I'll be prepared for that," she said. "It teaches you to look at things you wouldn't have thought to look at before."