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NAU Research and Creative Activity Awards

Jared Hopkins
(Photo by M. Riggs)

Jared Hopkins (MA Psychology) and Katrina Taylor (PhD Political Science) are the first graduate students to receive an NAU Research and Creative Activity Award.

"NAU graduate students have an outstanding track record for quality research, scholarship, and creative activity," said Laura Huenneke, vice president for research. "We take great pride in their work and are happy to have this new venue to highlight exceptional graduate achievement."

Last spring, the Office of the Vice President for Research implemented an annual research award program to recognize the contributions made by NAU faculty and students in furthering the research mission of the university. Faculty could nominate colleagues, themselves, and/or students for various categories of scholarship, including Most Promising Graduate Researcher. The inaugural RCA Award winners were recognized by President John Haeger and Huenneke on September 9th during the second annual Research Open House.

Katrina Taylor
(Photo by Jason Bullard)

Hopkins explores issues related to the self and identity, including the defenses people use to maintain a positive view of themselves and their world. He also is interested in what Dr. Heidi Wayment calls the "quiet ego" and why some individuals do not act defensively in situations where most people do. His thesis research investigates both positive and negative reactions when a person's belief in a just world is threatened.

Hopkins' research interests in industrial/organizational psychology center on how a person's self-concept or sense of identity is related to conflict and stress between work, home, and school roles. He also has assisted in neuropsychological research that examines the relationship between mirror neurons and empathy.

Taylor co-authored Alternative and Renewable Energy Resources (ABC-Clio) last year with Dr. Zachary Smith, an overview of existing and potential renewable and alternative energy technologies covering the benefits and drawbacks of each. It also examines the social, political, and economic aspects of renewable and alternative energy use in the United States and other countries, detailing different approaches and activities of international organizations, national governments, and private sector initiatives. It was listed as a top 25 reference book by the New York Association of Librarians in 2008.

Taylor's dissertation research analyzes how political opportunity structures have impacted the climate protection movement in the U.S. since the late 1980s. She is also working concurrently on a study of whether these activities are sub-political and thus indicate a shift to a risk society in the U.S. according to Ulrich Beck's risk society thesis. Additionally, Taylor presented a paper at the Midwestern Political Science Association in Chicago last April with Dr. Lori Poloni Staudinger on how political opportunity structures have impacted the activities of the women's movement in the U.K., France, and Germany.