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Gonzaga Students Share Original Research at Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference

Posted on May 8, 2014 in: Academics, Arts, Feature Stories, Mobile, research, Science, Students
Lauren Ferguson

Senior Lauren Ferguson developed a study on the children of divorced parents.

By Taylor Hornney (’16)
SPOKANE, Wash. – Undergraduate students from colleges and universities throughout the region presented their original research in a wide variety of disciplines in the sciences and humanities at the 12th annual Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference at Gonzaga on April 26. Gonzaga senior Lauren Ferguson’s presentation was the product of a year’s work.

A sociology major, Ferguson presented her research findings on the children of divorced parents in a presentation titled, “Two Negatives Equal a Positive: Exploring How Middle-Class Young Adult Children of Divorce Benefit in Relationships.” Her study focused on how children of divorce use their experiences to improve their own intimate relationships.

“The typical lessons came down to seeing the relationships they wanted to avoid,” Ferguson said. “They learned that they wanted more time before marriage and moving in together, less time at work, more family time, better communication and honesty.”

Ferguson, who began working on the project almost a year ago, interviewed 10 women and four men between ages 18-22. She found that a family’s financial strength plays a major role in how children move forward from a divorce. The majority of her subjects came from middle- to upper-middle-class backgrounds that allowed them to grow up in environments where they could learn from divorce. She found that a key benefit of children living in dual households was they understood both parents’ perspectives.

Ferguson plans to earn a master’s in sociology at Portland State University and will continue to conduct research and possibly teach.

Choreographic Study of the Benefits of Dance

Gonzaga junior Laura Shellooe created a performance art project titled, “One Piece: A Choreographic Study of the Benefits of Nonsexual Physical Human Connection.”

A biology major and dance minor who is earning a concentration in entrepreneurship through the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, Shellooe has been a dancer since age 3.

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In one of her dance classes, she developed a hypothesis regarding the benefits of physical contact in dance. She tested her theory through a performance in which she choreographed 10 dancers using the dance technique known as contact improvisation.

The piece she presented at SIRC was choreographed for a smaller group of four dancers and also was performed at the American College Dance Festival Association dance conference at University of Montana last month.

“Throughout this experience I felt trust and compassion grow between the dancers,” Shellooe said, adding she was amazed by how attuned the dancers were to each other in the four-person performance. She plans to pursue graduate studies in dance science or physical therapy with an emphasis on treating dancers.

“I love choreography, I think I almost love it more than dancing,” she said. “For me, it really happens in the studio more than on stage.”

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