HONS 490 was an honors directed study, headed by Jessi Znosko. Kelsey Swegle and I worked together to create a proposed study that would look at how volunteering affects the stress levels in graduate student volunteers. If the COVID-19 pandemic had not occurred, we would have collected saliva samples three separate times throughout the semester and tested them for cortisol, alpha-amylase, and DHEA levels.
We had no textbook; however, we did read many different articles, both scientific and sociological, in order to better understand the literature surrounding our research topic. We met around once a week to go over the articles we had read and to look at some saliva samples from a similar study done the previous semester. At the end of the semester, Kelsey and I put together a poster presentation for the research showcase.
(The Effect of Volunteering on Stress Hormone Levels of Graduate Student Volunteers, Kelsey Swegle and Kyra Valovick, 5.2020)
Kelsey and I worked together to create this poster. We combined our knowledge from the separate articles we had each read in order to compile all the information we needed. As this study was not able to be fully completed, and as it is a longer-term investigation, we created the poster as a set-up study for future research.
This topic of research is very interesting to me. Volunteering has always been a part of my life, and having the opportunity to do some scientific and sociological research into its benefits and drawbacks is very exciting. I would love to continue seeing this project through, and seeing some more conclusive results. Furthermore, this could be something that I could take with me out into the rest of my life; volunteering is not something that I plan to stop anytime soon.