Two Erskine seniors honored at Alpha Chi National Convention

Posted on April 25, 2014

2014 Conv Logo 7Two Erskine College seniors, Holly Anderson of Henderson, N.C., and Christine Dumouchel of North Charleston, S.C., were recognized for their achievements at the Alpha Chi National Convention March 27-29 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Anderson was named first alternate for the H.Y. Benedict Fellowship, given to seniors who will be graduate students in 2014-15, and Dumouchel was one of two students awarded the Mary Waterstreet Prize in Psychology.

Both Anderson and Dumouchel were among some 260 students who gave presentations at the conference.

Anderson, whose presentation was titled “When It’s Smart to be Dumb,” said, “Presenting my own work, my own research, to a group of interested scholars inspires me to work even harder so that I can go back next year and do even better than I did this year!”

Dumouchel, whose presentation was “Effects of Seating on Attention,” said,  “Giving a presentation in a small ballroom is quite different from standing at the front of a classroom, but I found that I actually enjoyed it. Few other times in my life have made me feel like a true professional as this did.”

Professor of Psychology Dr. Robert Elsner accompanied the students to St. Louis, and he is enthusiastic about the seniors’ accomplishments.

“For me, the best part of the conference was being reminded that Erskine students are not just able to hold their own against the best the country has to offer—they excel,” Elsner said.

Anderson offered “When It’s Smart to be Dumb” as her final senior seminar presentation, and she describes it as “a mix of math, psychology, economics, and game theory.”

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Dr. Robert Elsner at the top of the arch in St. Louis

“What was beautiful about Holly’s presentation is that she demonstrated the integration of both her majors, psychology and mathematics, to focus the liberal arts advantage of Erskine on a difficult problem that has real-world impact,” Elsner said.

Dumouchel said she was surprised during the closing ceremony to learn that she had won an award for her presentation.

“An acknowledgement such as this makes me realize even more how grateful I am for the excellent education which I am receiving as a member of the Erskine psychology department, and it also makes me more excited to continue my research and education.”

She enjoyed listening to the other presenters, especially a professor who spoke about the “future of water” and his work on providing clean water in Cameroon. The professor “iterated the importance of working with people to help solve problems,” she said, and since she plans to become a clinical psychologist, that approach struck a chord with her.

“Whether you are doing international outreach or counseling a trauma victim, listening and facilitation are key to making true progress and putting the power in the other person’s hands.”

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Holly Anderson, left, and Christine Dumouchel ready for sightseeing in St. Louis

The convention experience also included sightseeing in St. Louis.

“I had a lot of fun exploring downtown, taking silly pictures and meeting a few Erskine alums,” Dumouchel said. “Erskine connections really do exist wherever you go.”

Anderson agreed. “Not only did we get to present our own work, we got to spend time with other top-tier students from around the nation, get to know each other, reconnect with Erskine alumni, and tour the city of St. Louis,” she said.

“This trip was definitely one of the highlights of my academic experiences at Erskine!”

Alpha Chi is a national college honor society. Founded in 1922, Alpha Chi admits students from all academic disciplines. Membership is limited to the top 10 percent of an institution’s juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Its stated purpose is “to promote academic excellence and exemplary character among college and university students and to honor those who achieve such distinction.” Dr. J. Brooks Kuykendall serves as sponsor for Erskine’s Alpha Chi chapter.