SNHS Speaker Series: In Conversation with Shu Jiang, UCONN Psychology Graduate Student

Students engaged in and listening to Ms. Jiang’s presentation in the lecture hall.

On September 15, 2021, the Science National Honor Society invited their first guest in speaker series for this school year, Shu Jiang, a fifth year psychology graduate student at UCONN to discuss her research and her knowledge on designing and executing a scientific experiment. Students spanning all grades and classes came out for this event, with various freshman and sophomores coming to learn about how to develop their own science fair projects, members of SNHS coming to learn more about science, and lots of seniors who are currently taking psychology interested in learning about Ms. Jiang’s work. The event took place in the lecture hall, where Ms. Jiang joined the group via zoom. Nikita Khanna, a senior who is a current psychology student and an officer in SNHS reflects on Ms. Jiang’s talk saying, “it was very helpful and informative especially since it coincided with almost all of the science curriculums at that time and I really enjoyed the talk!”

Ms. Jiang began with discussing the foundation of a scientific experiment and inquiry. Giving the students ideas of how to find topics of research by simply developing ideas from seeing the world around us and what we don’t know, such as practical issues. The next step was then to look into the feasibility of an idea, specifically taking a look at the ethics, a topic especially relevant to the psychology students in the crowd. Lastly in the project foundation was to do a literature review and discover what research had been done on their topic of choice.

Students learning about the types of relationships within data from Ms. Jiang.

The next portion of her talk was looking into the experiment itself, and experimental design starting first and foremost with the types of research. She spoke of the different research questions such as descriptive, relational, and causal, and then discussing the kinds of relationships that can be uncovered through research, like a correlational or causal relationship. As she discussed more about experimentation she explained to the group the difference between a true and a quasi experiment, with a true relationship having at least one variable being manipulated. Then, she helped to teach about developing a hypothesis, a very important part especially for the underclassmen looking to begin their science fair experiments.

The final portion of the talk was the most exciting part of experimentation, sampling and taking data/results. Ms. Jiang encouraged the group to think about population, sampling biases, administrative, and other factors when beginning their data sampling and to keep these factors in mind when designing the experiment overall. She then moved into how to analyze data with different types of beneficial statistics, such as descriptive stats and inferential stats. And ultimately came the culmination of an experiment, reporting the results, when again she encouraged the audience to keep in mind their own audiences when sharing their results. Science National Honor Society President, Julia DiAngelo looks back on this first speaker event of the year saying, “I really enjoyed Shu Jiang’s presentation, and found her discussion of how the scientific method is used in many science-related careers very interesting. I also found it inspiring to listen to a young women in STEM speak about her career, especially because most us in SNHS want to pursue something similar.” Sacred Heart Academy and SNHS were very excited to welcome Shu Jiang to help inspire our student body, and we all are looking forward to future events in this series.