Psychology major Howlett named Honors Program student for October

Roger Coda
student Peter Howlett

Peter Howlett

Peter Howlett, a senior Psychology major from Brockport who has immersed himself in research work and other activities in the Department of Psychology, has been named the Honors Program Student of the Month for October.

Department of Psychology Chair Joseph McFall, a mentor to Mr. Howlett on multiple research projects as well as a supervisor for the teaching practicum Howlett is conducting for an Advanced Research Methods course, nominated Howlett for the award. In the course, Howlett has shown himself to be a natural leader, inspiring the creation of an intricately clever, survey-based experiment to test conditions eliciting imposter syndrome in college students.

“Peter’s mastery of the literature base problem-solving skills for controlling possible confounds and ability to conceptualize advanced analytical techniques as a sophomore surpassed the ability of most first-year graduate students,” according to Dr. McFall.

Howlett and McFall also worked together on the national Collaborative Replications in Education project, joining mentors and advanced student researchers who replicate question research results, then come together to combine their analyses and create a publication to clarify the generalizability of the effect across samples. Howlett went on to lead a direct replication study at Fredonia.

During the fall semester, Howlett and McFall have conceptualized new research in the realm of social discourse and debate. Howlett, whose interests lie in the pervasiveness of belief superiority and social vigilantism under varying conditions of conflicting and contrary evidence-based arguments, is designing a research proposal that will allow for testing various resistance strategies that are used to defend one’s existing stance despite the presence of counter-evidence.

Howlett is assisting McFall in his Advanced Research Methods course by helping McFall to give customized mentoring to each group of students as it develops and carries out its research projects. He has also given guest lectures and led a class activity to gain teaching experience.

Howlett, who has a minor in Leadership Studies, is a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society in Psychology, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society in Economics, Enactus and the Leadership Development Program; a student consultant for the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene and an intern teaching assistant. He has also served as a learning assistant for two sections of a psychology course, as a natatorium lifeguard and a Resident Assistant.

“Peter has been a dedicated student in providing service to other students, student groups and the Department of Psychology and the School of Business,” McFall said. He is actively engaged in both as a tour guide on campus, helping orient new and prospective students to the campus.

“Peter has been a dedicated student in providing service to other students, student groups and the Department of Psychology and the School of Business.” - Dr. Joseph McFall

Howlett has also played an active role in the Honors Program, most recently, collaboratively leading a leadership workshop for Opening Doors. Howlett has also excelled in, and enjoyed his Honors courses.

“I have been able to see professors at their best as they have provided in-depth investigations rather than the textbook approach to their areas of expertise, tailoring my general education experience, and some upper-level courses outside of my major, into a memorable and rewarding opportunity that I would recommend to any student considering studying at SUNY Fredonia,” Howlett said.

Howlett has also been an eager volunteer on department-level committees and events, having co-hosted new student information sessions with McFall. He has also served as a student rep on the program review committee and has met with external program reviewers.

“Peter is one of the first to volunteer, but shares the glory and is very happy to encourage other students to be actively involved and collaborate,” McFall said. Howlett has been on the Dean's List each semester and works hard to balance school and service to the university with his student group participation, part-time employment and active sports involvement as a member of the swim team, he added.

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