Two St. Thomas undergraduate students and their faculty mentors will participate in the annual Private College Scholars at the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 25, in a poster session celebrating undergraduate research at Minnesota’s private colleges and universities.

Posters on a variety of academic disciplines will be on display from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Minnesota State Capitol rotunda. The public is invited.

Nikki Arola (faculty collaboration by Dr. John Tauer of the Psychology Department, College of Arts and Sciences) and Kelly Ward (faculty collaboration by Dr. Joseph Fitzharris of the History Department, College of Arts and Sciences) will present their research. They were chosen based on the greatest number of votes for “best poster” that they received at the Sept. 22, 2009, “Inquiry at UST” poster session at St. Thomas. Arola and Ward also were UST Young Scholars in summer 2009.

Thirty-four students from Minnesota’s private colleges and their research mentors will meet with staff and visitors to tell them about their work and publicize their academic achievements, gain publicity for student-faculty collaborative research and talk about the scholarly work done on private college campuses.

 Nikki Arola’s poster presentation

Arola will discuss her work on “Sports and Parents: Are They Driving Themselves Nuts?”

Nikki Arola

Nikki Arola

This study investigates whether the high investments parents put into youth sports lead to higher expectations for their children and if this can explain why parental frustration in sports is becoming more and more common.

Participants in this study were parents of campers at Johnny Tauer’s Championship Basketball Camp. The study utilized both a correlational and experimental design.

In the correlational study, parents completed questionnaires measuring how their level of investment is related to their expectations and how the interaction between their investment and expectations relates to their satisfaction with their child’s sport.

The experimental study randomly assigned parents to one of eight investments and met vs. unmet expectations scenarios and asked them to rate their level of satisfaction with a number of factors. It was predicted that parents with high investments would have higher expectations than those with low investments. It was also predicted that parents with high unmet expectations would be less satisfied with their child’s sport participation than parents with met or exceeded expectations.

Analysis of data has provided support for some of these hypotheses. Results will be discussed. This study aims to help parents understand the frustration that they often feel from youth sports so that parental frustration does not lead to athlete burnout and so parent-child interactions may be more positive.

Kelly Ward’s poster presentation

Ward’s presentation is “Robert E. Lee and Lost Cause Mythology.”

Kelly Ward

Kelly Ward

The American Civil War raged between the Union and the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865, claiming the lives of thousands and immortalizing the lives of a few. Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general, was one such “immortal.” Admired in life, his stature grew and flourished after his death.

This project explores the cult following of Robert E. Lee and his place in the Lost Cause mythology of the Confederacy. Ward examines Robert E. Lee, his public image from the Mexican War to the 1920s and his place in the greater context of the Lost Cause mythology of the Confederacy. Her primary research materials are letters and memoirs from Confederate and Union soldiers, and newspaper and journal articles from 1861 to 1880.

This poster session is sponsored by the Minnesota Private College Council. The PCSAC Web site has the abstracts of all the students participating.

For more information on the event, visit the Minnesota Private Colleges Web site.