Allegheny College Student Receives Diversity Travel Award To Present Research

Allegheny College student Fenn Kathman ’23 has been awarded the American Psychology-Law Society’s Broadening Representation, Inclusivity, Diversity, and Global Equity (BRIDGE) Committee Diversity Travel Award for their research. 

Kathman’s project, “Effects of Race and Gender on Perception of Exonerees: An Intersectional Approach,” was completed last summer in collaboration with Professors Christopher Normile, Lupita Gonzalez, and Rosita Scerbo. Together, they examined how race and gender of a wrongfully convicted exoneree would affect peoples’ perceptions of the exoneree’s innocence and support for reintegration services. 

Kathman, a psychology and religious studies double major with a women’s, gender, and sexuality studies minor, pursued the topic because of their interest in promoting and using intersectionality in psychology research, particularly around race and gender-based assumptions.

Prior to starting the project, Kathman had not taken a research methodology or statistics class. Yet Kathman was serious about learning how to design a study and collect, analyze, and interpret data correctly. 

Normile, an assistant professor of psychology who mentored Kathman, commends their commitment.

“Fenn clearly has a passion for this research area — and perhaps research in general — and I’m really proud that their hard work was recognized by the American Psychology-Law Society BRIDGE committee,” Normile says. 

Gonzalez, as assistant professor of psychology with whom Kathman worked as a research assistant, echoes Normile’s praises.

“Fenn has always been very inquisitive and excited to conduct research in our lab, so it was a no-brainer having them on board with this research project,” Gonzalez says. “The fact that they were able to help start our study, get a poster accepted for a national conference, and receive an award truly speaks to the incredible researcher Fenn is. I’m really excited for Fenn and am confident that they have a great future ahead of them!”

Looking to life after Allegheny, Kathman has plans to attend graduate school to study social psychology through an intersectional viewpoint. They also plan to conduct further research on sexuality, gender, and race while taking a close look at intimate partner violence.

Kathman will present their research at the annual conference of the American Psychology-Law Society later this month in Denver, Colorado.