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Senior Matthew Biver describes his research on student

attitudes towards other students’ ethnicity and disability status.

WINTER 2014 5

“It’s incredible what you can

accomplish at USD if you do research

as an undergraduate.”

—Matt Biver

Senior Matthew Biver goes beyond the classroom in his

pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in psychology and history at the

University of South Dakota. In his last year as an undergraduate,

Biver already has seen his name on a research poster presented at a

major American Psychological Association conference and is now

completing his own project examining student attitudes towards

minorities and people with disabilities.

“It’s incredible what you can accomplish at USD if you do

research as an undergraduate,” he said. “I’ve gotten to know so

many professors.”

Biver began working on research studies in the department at

the end of his freshman year in 2011. As part of the department’s

Rural Research Team, with graduate student Jennifer Hsia and

psychology chair Randal Quevillon, Biver collected and entered

data for a project researching the coping styles of multigenerational

farm families in the upper Midwest.

“Matt has been one of the most energetic and eager

undergraduate members of the Rural Research Team that I’ve

ever seen in my 35 years here at USD,” Quevillon said. “Matt

has worked on many projects on the Research Team, but I’m

most impressed with the prejudice study that he and Emily Aus

generated on their own, with some consultation help from Jen

Hsia. They have worked on that project for multiple semesters

and already have presented preliminary data at the National

Conference for Undergraduate Research last spring in Kentucky.”

Biver and fellowundergraduateAus developed their study as part

of a course on advanced research methods, but decided to continue

the research after the class ended. Working with psychology

professors and graduate students, the two undergraduates devised a

study thatmeasures student attitudes towards working on classroom

projects with other students who are minorities, have a disability,

or both.

“The research is currently in progress and we have about 100

participants,” Biver said. “The results are looking interesting.”

Through the experience, Biver immersed himself in the real-

world process of devising and conducting a research project.

“There is definitely a lot of work getting a project going from

the ground up,” he said. “But I recommend doing undergraduate

research to all of my friends.”

After graduation this May, Biver intends to enter a clinical

psychology graduate program.

Research is Key to

Psychology Undergrad’s

Experience

For more Department of Psychology news, visit us at

www.usd.edu/psychology