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2021 QUEST Scholars Present Research Findings

4th Annual QUEST Research Symposium pamphlet with cartoon images

Undergraduate scholars from this year’s cohort of the Quality Undergraduate Education and Scholarly Training (QUEST) program recently convened virtually to share their research at the 4th Annual Research Conference on July 29, 2021.

“QUEST is an eight-week PhD pipeline program for students of color, where undergraduate students have the opportunity to do research with amazing NYU faculty,” says Frandelia Moore, visiting assistant professor in Applied Psychology, in her opening remarks. “Our aim is to assist them in the development of skills to get into doctoral programs through professional development courses, aiding faculty on their projects, and developing their own work.”

Moore also offered up a special shoutout to LaRue Allen, vice dean of Faculty Affairs and former chair of Applied Psychology, who helped create QUEST and is still an avid supporter of the program.

The virtual research conference highlighted students’ work, much of which touched broadly on topics of social justice and inequity. Research areas included racial disparity in the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the influence of culture and family structure on caregiver burden, and the adultification of Black girls in schools.

Administered by Steinhardt’s Applied Psychology department, QUEST gives underrepresented students of color access to research opportunities, identity exploration, socialization, and professional development. In addition, it also creates a first-author publication of their findings at the end of the session – a huge benefit when applying to graduate schools. 

“QUEST came about in 2017 when the department noticed that many students of color were falling behind when comparing GRE test scores and research experience on doctoral applications for all three programs,” said Jordan Morris, program director for QUEST. “We started thinking of ways we could give these students an opportunity to gain more academic experience and exposure to the unique environment of graduate school.”

This year’s QUEST participants came from colleges around the world, including Skidmore, Georgetown, Swarthmore, John Jay, and McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

Data from QUEST’s first three cohorts shows around 60 percent of participants are first-generation college students; nearly 100 percent of students would be the first in their families to attend graduate school. QUEST seeks to close this knowledge gap through mentoring relationships with Steinhardt doctoral students, as well as funding to cover training or the testing fee to take the GRE.

“QUEST is so important because students really get a taste of what graduate school is like – and more importantly see that they can do it,” said Morris. “This is great identity development for students, and they discover that they have really great ideas that have never been touched on before. They have the power to advance the field of applied psychology.”

Learn more about Steinhardt's Department of Applied Psychology.

2021 QUEST Research Projects

cartoon of quest students
  • Iris Mann, The Impact of Cultural Assessment before Trauma-Focused Therapy on Outcomes for Racial and Ethnic Minoritized Youth (FACES) Lab.
  • Angelica Vasquez, Effects of Parental ADHD on Parenting Quality (FACES) Lab
  • Ayomide Popoola, The Influence of Obstetric Racism on Black Mother-Infant Dyads: The Mediating Role of Maternal Mental Health (ISLAND) Lab.
  • Gabrielle E. Ortecho, An Exploration of Postpartum Depression and its Impact on Parental Intrusiveness (ISLAND) Lab.
  • Alena Kwan, The Relationship between Familial Motivation Type and Caregiver Burden: Does Culture Play a Role? (CEH) Laboratory
  • Rienna McPhie, Investigating Critical Consciousness and Racial Color Blindness among Black/White Biracial Individuals: A Quantitative Study (CEH) Laboratory.
  • Ja'chelle Ball, A Two-Way Street: The Association between Justice System Contact, Self-Efficacy, and Sense of School Belonging for Black Girls (RISE) Lab.
  • Kayla Perez, The Effects of Adultification in Schools and the Juvenile Justice Systems (RISE) Lab.
  • Xia Headley, The Impact of Parent’s Mental Health Literacy on Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing (Universal Pre-Kindergarten Project).
  • Chineme Jane Otuonye, A Longitudinal Examination of a Father Education Program’s Impact on Low-Income Fathers’ Involvement with Their Children (Universal Pre-Kindergarten Project).
  • Makeyla I. Hayes, The Wandering Mind: Mindful Awareness Meditation & Adult ADHD (Mindful Education Lab).
  • Justine Mariscal, Mindfulness Meditation & its Effects on Aggression & Emotion Regulation in Adolescents (Mindful Education Lab).