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St. Thomas senior receives statewide psychology award

By , Reporter  |  Tuesday, May 13, 2014 12:10 AM

Senior Angie Kurth recently won the Donald G. Patterson Undergraduate Award in Psychology—a recognition granted to just one student in the state.

Kurth received the $350 award based on several factors: her undergraduate research, writing sample, letters of recommendation and a nomination by the St. Thomas psychology department.

“I feel very honored to have received the Patterson award,” Kurth said. “I really feel that it is a reflection of the incredible time and effort the psychology faculty invest in their students.”

Angie Kurth is the winner of the Donald G. Patterson Undergraduate Award in Psychology. St. Thomas professor Tonia Bock accompanied her to the award ceremony in mid-April. (Photo courtesy of Angie Kurth)

Angie Kurth is the winner of the Donald G. Patterson Undergraduate Award in Psychology. St. Thomas professor Tonia Bock accompanied her to the award ceremony in mid-April. (Photo courtesy of Angie Kurth)

The Minnesota Psychological Association presented the award. Psychology professor Tonia Bock said its purpose is to recognize and encourage high achievement in psychology at the undergraduate level.

Bock said the award is highly competitive. In the 10 years that she has worked for the university, only one other St. Thomas student has won.

“Angie is just a joy to work with,” Bock said. “She’s a professor’s dream of an undergraduate student who helps out with research but then is also a collaborator too.”

Bock said there were three things the St. Thomas psychology department used to consider which student to nominate. The first consideration was whether or not the senior had been accepted to graduate school. The department also looked at the student’s undergraduate GPA and Graduate Record Examination score.

After deciding Kurth was a good candidate, members of the department asked her for a writing sample and scholarship information.

Kurth has been working on research with Bock since her sophomore year.

“She’s been my mentor since freshman year. She kind of took me under her wing right away,” Kurth said. “I had some good people rooting for me.”

According to Bock, Kurth has helped collect data on moral identity for several consecutive semesters. Bock said Kurth has been involved in the entire process, from helping determine variables to managing the data set.

Because of this, Kurth focused her undergraduate research on agency and communion.

“She’s been lead author on two presentations about agency and communion and she was also involved in an earlier study where we were looking at two measures of moral judgment,” Bock said. “Its been really rewarding to watch her be able to skillfully do all of those different aspects of research.”

Kurth will go to to the University of Notre Dame this fall for developmental psychology.

“I’ll be working in a lab that focuses on moral development—mostly in early childhood, but then also some interest in adulthood,” Kurth said. “I’m really excited.”

Jamie Bernard can be reached at bern2479@stthomas.edu.

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