WSU Tri-Cities psychology class partners with nonprofit camp program

WSU Tri-Cities
Image Courtesy of Washington State University

RICHLAND, Wash. — Students from the ‘Statistics in Psychology’ class at WSU Tri-Cities are putting their skills to use for a good cause: A nonprofit camp for children with serious medical conditions.

According to a release from WSU Tri-Cities, students in psychology professor Janet Peters’ class partner with a regional non-profit every year. Their ultimate goal is to take all that they learned in a classroom environment and practically apply it in a way that will benefit the region.

This year, the class turns their attention to the young campers at Camp Korey, which provides a free camp experience for children with life-altering medical conditions. Ultimately, this opportunity is meant to help the children in need while providing context about how to practically apply the skills and knowledge acquired in their psychology class. This way, students can get a better feel for how psychology training can be put to use in real-world scenarios.

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“When I first started doing service-learning in my classes, the first question I asked was ‘How do I help students understand the power of the skills they are learning?” Peters said. “The power of those skills become so much more apparent when you are helping somebody. That is what truly changes their perspective. They are learning for a purpose. When they see the benefits to their community, it changes the culture of the classroom.”

Peters built a relationship with Camp Korey through the Washington State University Center for Civic Engagement.

Students researched topics including the campers’ sense of belonging, feelings of isolation, confidence levels and general demographics. These factors led them to the conclusion that Camp Korey is doing a great job of holding steady despite restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. WSU Tri-Cities students reported that Camp Korey participants did not feel any more isolated in 2020, when the camp went virtual, versus the camp’s in-person sessions in 2019.

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Psychology student Jocelyn Martinez learned a lot more about real-life implications of psychological studies during her time in the class.

“My favorite aspects were analyzing their data and creating the final presentation,” Martinez said. “It did open my eyes to research psychology, since I was leaning toward a career in clinical psychology. It helped me see that with research, I could learn more about different ways of treatment … It was very meaningful because a lot of times, you don’t have a lot of chances to work with nonprofits. It also helped me learn the material way better than I expected.”

WSU Tri-Cities students also said that engaging in this kind of program and practically applying their skills gave meaning to their coursework.

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