Kennesaw State student presents undergraduate research at international conference

KENNESAW, Ga. | Sep 15, 2023

Edwin Trejo-Rivera
Kennesaw State University student Edwin Trejo-Rivera said that having opportunities to conduct research is an experience he never expected to have at an undergraduate level.

The junior psychology major from Marietta not only had that opportunity but also, over the summer, presented his research on a global scale at the Interamerican Congress of Psychology in Paraguay.

Trejo-Rivera’s research titled “Examining differences in psychological capital, burnout, and work engagement among women in leadership positions,” focuses on factors affecting the mental health of women leaders. The conference organized by the Interamerican Society of Psychology took place in June in Asunción, Paraguay.

“My research is part of a larger project working with other researchers,” Trejo-Rivera said. “We analyzed how the gender identity of women in leadership positions and the stereotyped characteristics of the position affect their psychosocial well-being.”

Trejo-Rivera collaborated with Israel Sanchez-Cardona, KSU associate professor of psychology and associate director of the AMES Research Center, and Maria Vera, a professor at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Sevilla, Spain.

“It was Dr. Vera’s and Dr. Sánchez-Cardona’s idea to collect and analyze data from the U.S. and Spain. The project is ultimately trying to investigate more about women in leadership positions and the associated stereotypes that interfere with their mental health,” Trejo-Rivera said.

The results demonstrated that women in leadership positions who identify with a complete range of human traits — masculine and feminine — showed higher work-related well-being.

Trejo-Rivera said the most rewarding part of the conference was the opportunity to interact with colleagues from various Latin American countries.

“When studying psychology, you are studying the needs of people. The needs of the people can be different in Western societies than in Latin America,” Trejo-Rivera said. “It was a nice experience to witness and to consider different perspectives.”

Trejo-Rivera, who refers to Sánchez-Cardona as his mentor, began working with the professor in 2021 in conjunction with the First-Year Scholars Program.

“In two years of rigorous research collaboration, it has been a privilege to witness exponential growth in Edwin’s proficiency and acumen as a researcher,” Sánchez-Cardona said. “His commitment to academic excellence and relentless drive make me confident in his ability to continue making strides in his future endeavors.”

Trejo-Rivera said he is grateful for the resources Kennesaw State University provided for his experience, specifically, the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences Student Grant Program in assisting with travel funding to present his research.

Trejo-Rivera also serves as an intern for KSU’s Center for the Advancement of Military and Emergency Services Research (AMES Research). He just finished collaborating in developing training for suicide prevention among military veterans, analyzing survey results, and generally supporting the staff.

“The research experience I’ve gained through KSU has given me the opportunity to expand my network, and I know it will help me in the future.” Trejo-Rivera said.

– By Ana Johnson

Photos submitted

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