PBSC student wins national psychology research award
When more than 10,000 psychologists and students gather at the 126th annual American Psychological Association convention in San Francisco on August 9, Jose Martinez will represent Palm Beach State College with distinction.
The Dr. Floyd F. Koch Honors College student will attend as the first-place winner of the 2018 Anastasi Research Paper and Conference Travel Scholarship Competition, sponsored by Psi Beta, the community college national honor society in psychology. In addition to the all-expenses-paid trip to the APA convention, Martinez will receive a $600 scholarship award. He is the first PBSC student to enter the competition, let alone win it.
This is just the latest academic accomplishment for Martinez. This past spring, his research was accepted by the Georgia Undergraduate Research in Psychology Conference at Kennesaw State University. Solely representing Palm Beach State at the GURP conference, Martinez presented his research at a poster session, alongside undergraduate and graduate students from southeastern colleges and universities.
The research paper looks at the relationship between dispositional narcissism and adult attachment styles. According to Ted Cascio, Ph.D., PBSC psychology professor and Psi Beta chapter advisor, it’s well-established that narcissists often don’t fare well in long-term romantic relationships, but researchers had yet to thoroughly investigate whether narcissists have different types of attachment patterns with their partners. As defined by the APA, attachment patterns are established in childhood, between a child and its caregivers, and set the general tone for future relationship patterns and interactions.
“All of Jose’s research has involved human subjects, and that’s advanced for a sophomore,” said Cascio, who advised Martinez on the project. “Not only was his research sophisticated in terms of its methodology, he’s also been doing advanced statistics, correlation and multiple regression analyses involving moderators. Jose is very far ahead in terms of his research experience and the skill set that he has now.”
Martinez will also present his research at the Psi Beta Student Research Poster Session at the APA convention and will receive an award certificate at a reception sponsored by Psi Beta and CABE, the APA’s Committee on Associate and Baccalaureate Education.
“This is a national competition, so I had high hopes, but realistic hopes,” Martinez said. “Being able to place anywhere in the top five would be an amazing accomplishment, and then I got the email saying that I won first place! This is a huge opportunity for me. I feel really proud to represent Palm Beach State College and proud of what I was able to do as a student here.”
Martinez graduates this summer with an Associate in Arts degree and heads immediately to Florida State University as a junior psychology major. During his time at PBSC, he held offices in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Honors Student Advisory Council, was co-president of PBSC’s Psi Beta chapter, and was one of six PBSC students named to the 2018 All-Florida Academic Team. He also received two PBSC awards this year, one for his service to the Psi Beta chapter and the Psychology Award for his research.
A graduate of William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Martinez, 20, was drawn to psychology when as a new PBSC student, he was struggling to decide on a career path.
“I realized I had a social science prerequisite that I needed to fulfill, and I thought, ‘why not take psychology’—it has to do with the mind and cognitive processes, so I figured I’d try it out,” Martinez said. “Taking Professor Cascio’s class, just his manner of teaching is what really ultimately captured my interest and told me inside, ‘you know what, this is what I want to do.’ Whether it’s as a researcher or a professor down the road, I want to be in the field of psychology. I cannot say enough good things about [Cascio]. He’s not only been an amazing mentor, but I feel like he’s a good friend, too. He goes out of his way to help me. I’m thankful to have encountered Dr. Ted.”
Martinez also recognizes the generous support of Professor Gisela Diaz, Ph.D., who oversaw another research project he completed, titled “Examining the Effects of Sleep Disorders on the Academic Life of Students in a Community College Setting: A Qualitative Study.”
Diaz, who started PBSC’s Psi Beta chapter on the Palm Beach Gardens campus in 1998, notes that research is not generally done at the community college level, so having a student motivated to tackle both quantitative and qualitative approaches is unusual. “Identifying a problem, collecting data, analyzing the data and writing a report in a 16-week term is very difficult, but Jose had the initiative and drive. He is one of our academic stars.”
Cascio agrees. “Jose has shown more initiative than I’ve ever seen in an undergraduate student. His work ethic is almost supernatural. He epitomizes the American dream—somebody who works hard and can be successful and make things happen as a result of that hard work.
“To me, the big story here is that Jose has deftly and cleverly leveraged the resources of the College to improve his situation, which has forced me to try to keep up with him and his aspirations. His story highlights that excellent opportunities exist for meaningful research collaborations between students and faculty, which can help students achieve extraordinary things.”
The encouragement of his professors has no doubt contributed to Martinez’s achievements and positive outlook.
“Now when I encounter a struggle, whether it’s in class or just in life in general, I don’t like thinking that I can’t overcome it. There is a saying I tell myself: If it can be attempted, it can be done. Another thing that I tell myself is ‘why not me.’ I’ve received scholarships that I didn’t think I would get. I applied to the Honors College when I didn’t think I would get it in, and I submitted my research to different conferences. I might not get in, but at the end of the day I tell myself, ‘why not me’ and go for it.”