Olivia Coontz Presents Research at Chicago Conference
The research Olivia Coontz is conducting is personal. It is also getting noticed.
In April, Coontz presented her research findings at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago, accompanied by Dr. Rachael Blasiman, associate professor of psychology at Kent State Salem.
Coontz is a psychology major on the Salem Campus and her research title is “Prosthetics save lives in more ways than one: An investigation into prosthetics’ effects on mental health.”
This most recent presentation was an extension of the work she presented at the Salem Campus Undergraduate Research Conference last fall, where she placed first in the oral presentation competition. The conference in Chicago did not include a student poster competition, but the application process was competitive.
Coontz said she is driven to research this topic because of her life experiences.
“I lost my arm when I was 14 and fought for a prosthetic for five years because the insurance companies didn’t see it as medically necessary,” she explained. “I want to show that a prosthetic may not be physically necessary, but it is very mentally necessary.”
Over the months since she first presented her research at the Salem Campus URC, Coontz collected more data and conducted additional analysis of her findings. And she is not stopping here.
She shared that she intends to study data related to the use of prosthetics for persons born without a limb compared to those who lost a limb through a traumatic event. She is also studying the psychological effects of the actual aesthetics of prosthetics.
“I would like to see if and why a specific prosthetic coloring is preferred and if more of a robotic look is preferred,” Coontz said.
She added that the experience in Chicago helped spark her interest in graduate school and motivated her to continue her research.
Cutline A: Olivia Coontz with her research poster at the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago.
Cutline B: Olivia Coontz with her mentor Dr. Rachael Blasiman, associate professor of psychology at Kent State Salem