Simpson University Psychology Students Present at Conference

REDDING, Calif.—Two Simpson University psychology students were selected to present original research this spring at the Western Psychological Association’s annual conference in Portland, Ore.

Junior Joseph VanDyke and senior Hannah Wallace presented research titled, “The Exploration of Anti-Fat Bias and Intuitive Eating Behaviors Among Healthcare Professionals” at the April 26-29 conference.

“Hannah and Joseph are brilliant students who designed, conducted, and wrote their original research from soup to nuts,” said Dr. Ashley Brimager, assistant professor of psychology. “They are the kind of students I would be excited to call colleagues in the near future.”

Both VanDyke and Wallace plan to continue their psychology studies in graduate school. Wallace, from Phelan, Calif., graduated from Simpson University in April and hopes to get accepted into a master’s of social work program. She is gaining internship experience at Bridges to Success in Redding, which provides evidence-based mental health support to children who experience behaviors that disrupt their learning abilities.

“The professors at Simpson have been an essential part of helping me figure out my future plans,” Wallace said. “The opportunity to do research at the bachelor’s level has been a great experience that will help me in graduate school and future employment.”

During the conference, Wallace and VanDyke displayed their research on a poster and took turns answering questions and sharing information with interested colleagues.

The pair looked at the relationship between intuitive eating behaviors (eating by “listening” to one’s body and needs) and anti-fat bias (the level of bias against obese and overweight people) among healthcare professionals.

“Our research suggests that there is a high level of discrimination against overweight people in the healthcare field,” Wallace said. “It also calls for an honest inspection of the eating habits of healthcare workers. Even though our subjects claimed to eat more intuitively, they were still found to eat more based on emotional rather than physical cues.”

Simpson University’s small class sizes allow for close interaction between professors and students, and student research is encouraged and highlighted.

More than 400 people attended the university’s 8th annual Student Research Symposium on campus this spring, which featured 27 student presenters sharing on a variety of topics.

Wallace and VanDyke are among five Simpson students whose research was selected this year for conferences at a regional or national level. Three biology students were selected to present research related to Shasta County’s Iron Mountain Mine at the National Council on Undergraduate Research’s annual conference in Oklahoma.

“The connections that I have made through my professors are a priceless asset of my Simpson University education,” Wallace said.

Simpson University offers psychology programs in its School of Traditional Undergraduate Studies and its School of Adult Studies ASPIRE program. It also offers a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology.

Photo: Simpson University psychology students Joseph VanDyke and Hannah Wallace presented original research at the Western Psychological Association’s annual conference in Portland, Ore., in April 2018.


Other student research stories:
04.12.2018 – Biology Students Present Research at National Council
04.27.2017 – History Student Wins First Place at Regional Conference
04.11.2014 – Simpson University Graduating Seniors to Present Research
01.16.2014 – Simpson University Graduate to Present Research at National Council

Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduategraduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit