Noah Reiss ’20 & Adrianna Mantz ’19
“How Nature Experiences Help Us Thrive”
Noah Reiss ’20
Hometown: Hightstown, NJ
Adrianna Mantz ’19
Major/Minor: Psychology, Studio Art
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Project Advisor: Dr. Dietlinde Heilmayr
Describe your project.
NR: We aimed to look at how participating in healthy behaviors affected a variety of health-relevant outcomes.
AM: My project was investigating the effects that nature has on a person’s health and wellbeing. We compared that to two theoretically similar groups, acts of kindness toward the self, and acts of kindness toward others.
How did your project come about?
NR: Dr. Heilmayr came up with the idea as a sort of follow-up study to research that she did for her doctoral thesis. She asked me if I would like to be a part of the project since I had experience doing research with her in the past.
AM: When I came to Dr. Heilmayr about doing a SOAR project my original idea was to investigate alternative therapy methods, since sitting in an office talking to a counselor or therapist may not always be the best method for a patient. Since Dr. Heilmayr has experience with community gardens, we came to the conclusion of analyzing how nature in general would have an affect on a person’s health.
What was the best part about working with your faculty mentor? What valuable insights did she bring to your project?
NR: Dr. Heilmayr is quite knowledgeable about her field: personality psychology with a focus in health psychology. Dr. Heilmayr’s prior experience with research helped when any questions or confusion arose about different aspects of the project. Her stellar critical thinking and problem solving skills assisted in making the project flow with ease.
AM: I think that she is an extremely intelligent woman who puts in her best effort at all times and I respect her so much. I think the best part about working with her was how she made me feel about the work I was doing. She made me feel like there was nothing that was too out of my reach or above my limits that I could do. She brought this amazing insight that there was nothing I couldn’t figure out or accomplish with this project as long as I put in hard work and gave it my best effort. She also made me feel very comfortable in admitting that sometimes it’s perfectly fine to ask for help.
What was your biggest obstacle?
NR: The biggest obstacle was probably recruiting participants in the beginning of the summer. Of course, this soon was not an issue as the participant pool quickly grew to an exceptional size for a research study done over the summer months.
AM: My biggest obstacle was juggling multiple tasks at one time. It was sometimes really difficult to remember to input certain information, then remember to send participant reminders, and also remember to start analyzing data all at the same time.
What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?
NR: For me, being able to get hands-on experience with the full research process. My partner and Dr. Heilmayr saw the project from the start, and I continue to see it out through the fall semester.
AM: My biggest takeaway from the experience was the opportunity to work in a very professional environment, and being able to gain experience in running a research experiment with participants.
Overall, how do you feel about being awarded this opportunity? Why should other students take advantage of the SOAR program at Moravian College?
NR: I am grateful for having the privilege to participate in the SOAR program, as engagement with the research process can reward someone with valuable skills and lessons. It enables one to look at an area of study that interests them through a different perspective than the classroom lecture. In order to have the full academic experience at Moravian I would say that SOAR should be of interest.
AM: I felt very excited and optimistic about this opportunity. I was excited to push myself into trying something that intimidated me. I would absolutely recommend that students take advantage of the SOAR program, as it is a great opportunity to try something new and gain new experience.
Do you plan to expand upon your research?
NR: As of now, we need to recruit more participants in order to achieve necessary statistical power. I know that Dr. Heilmayr is looking to continue recruiting more participants to reach the number we want.
Any plans to present this research outside the SOAR presentations?
NR: I plan to present my work at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference, which takes place in January.