Research Fellows Spotlight: Riker Lawrence

by Marcus Stewart on March 5, 2018

The Research Fellows program allows incoming students to get involved in research from the beginning of their career at Roanoke. Students work with a faculty mentor in a subject that they are interested in and create a research project. After they finish or complete a substantial part of their research, students present their projects at conferences both on and off campus.

Riker Lawrence is sophomore who is working with Dr. Powell for her research project

“My research has focused on data from my research advisor, Dr. Darcey N. Powell’s dissertation study. Her study examined division of labor of taking care of a toddler and how it affects the parents. I previously looked into how the fathers’ perceptions of the division of labor affect the marital satisfaction between the couples. After analyzing Dr. Powell’s data to a great extent, I’m moving into a different path of research that focuses on family leisure. I’m at the beginning stages of this project, therefore I’m analyzing many literature reviews on the subject of family leisure and division of labor of taking care of a child. I hope to find out if prenatal leisure time could possibly be a predictor of collaborative division of labor postpartum among parents”.

Riker decided to pursue her topic after hearing about it at a talk at the National Council of Family Relations last November.

“I had not heard of the concept of family leisure nor did I realize the importance of it. Family leisure also connects with the idea of work-life balance, which refers to the idea of trying to balance their work and life schedules to aid their physical and psychological well-being. Finally, the data that Dr. Powell has can possibly push me the direction of connecting family leisure and division of labor, and examining whether those components interchange between prenatal and postpartum periods of the child”.

Riker first decided to do apply for the Research Fellows program once she was accepted into Roanoke College.

“As I researched the program, I realized that this could be a great activity to do. I thought it was amazing that I would get to research psychology and get paid. As an undergraduate, I didn’t think that independent research happened that often. I was also interested in many of the studies that the professors in the psychology department were examining. I figured that there was no harm in applying to be in this program”.

Riker has really enjoyed her time in the Research Fellows program.

“Along with learning how to conduct my research, I have made many friends and have been given many opportunities that not many undergraduates receive. For example, this school year alone, I have been to two conferences to present some of my research lab’s studies. In November, I went to Orlando to attend the National Council of Family Relations. Then in February of 2018, I attended the Academy of Human Resource Department as a co-author for my friend and one of my research lab partners, Kaitlin Busse. Being in a research lab has shown me that research cannot be conducted alone. It is way too much work, but having people help you with the tedious of tasks and support you is a wonderful thing to have in college”.

Riker plans on continuing her research project in the days to come.

“After analyzing and organizing many articles, I will focus on how I can analyze the data I have already have from Dr. Powell’s research, and determine if I need to retrieve more data. Once I have a big enough sample with useable data, I will conduct tests to interpret that data. Once that is completed, I will see what my results and determine on what is the best way to present my findings”.

To anyone interested in doing research, Riker says to go for it.

“Those who are interested must be ready to work hard and not slack off on any step of the project, because the outcome of it will show how serious one takes their research. The project could be published, presented at conferences, or be sent out to graduate schools as examples of work. Therefore, every part of the project should be conducted in the best possible way because it is a reflection of the student’s work and the research atmosphere of Roanoke College”.

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