Research Highlight: Riker Lawrence

by Kristal Mainsah on July 22, 2019

Riker Lawrence (’20) presented recently at the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference at Virginia Tech. Her poster was about Psychological Capital (PsyCap), well-being, and work attitudes of employees. It was a joint project with her lab mate, Kaitlin. Riker “wanted to share her work with others because it is a topic that is common in the workplace and can influence the success of a business”. This research examined associations between PsyCap and how employees write about their jobs in addition to exploring the usefulness of Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs in coding employees’ writings about their jobs. It was found that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is not very useful when identifying and coding the themes that participants had wrote about their job.

“I think this is important to consider because employees’ attitudes and views on their workplace can impact employee morale. Therefore, measuring these components can possibly be helpful to a business’ success”.   


This was Riker’s first conference that was primarily other undergraduate students. This experience was different from others as at this conference she was around other students like herself instead of the usual professors and graduate students. Riker’s experience at the conference was very positive.

“I think being in [this] conference . . . made me feel more comfortable and confident with my presentation of the poster. It was also interesting to watch those students give oral presentations because it seems less intimidating than the oral presentations that I have experienced at my other conferences. In addition, I had the confidence to help other undergraduate students, who have never been to a conference before, by providing information from my past experience that could help with their poster presentation”.


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