PRYDE Scholars participate in Cornell President Pollack's inauguration

 Rosario Majano presenting her work

Rosario Majano presenting her work

Two of PRYDE’s senior Scholars, Julia Lesnick and Rosario Majano, presented their summer research findings at the “Festival of Scholarship” to welcome Cornell’s 14th president Martha Pollack.

Julia, working under Dr. Jane Mendle in the Adolescent Transitions Laboratory, showcased her research on “Rejection Thoughts and Relationship Outcomes.” Since adolescence is a time when social relationships become so important for well-being, especially for girls, Julia wanted to explore what's going on for those who are especially sensitive to rejection. Her research findings showed that being really sensitive to rejection is so distressing that some girls act out rashly and impulsively to try to feel better in the relationship. This acting out can take the form of aggressively confronting peers or excessively seeking reassurance about rejection, and can result in the girls feeling disconnected from and unwanted by their peers.

 Julia Lesnick with her poster

Julia Lesnick with her poster

Rosario, working under Dr. Anthony Burrow in the Purpose and Identity Processes Laboratory, presented her work on “Exploring the Role of Purpose in Sexual Risk Taking.” Adolescent sexual well-being because is an urgent public health issue as unsafe teenage sexual behavior can have long-term negative consequences. Rosario’s particular area of interest is adolescent engagement in risky sexual behaviors and their relationship to a sense of purpose in life. Through her work this summer, she discovered that purposeful individuals are less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, indicating that purpose plays an important role in positive development.

Both girls relayed how rewarding it was to present their work to the general public. Rosario felt challenged saying, “It forces you to make your research accessible to a broader community, and by being able to discuss your research with more individuals outside your field, you’re further able to create a dialogue about the implications of your work.” Similarly, Julia said, “Hearing from visitors that my research reminded them of their own kids or that they wanted to get more information to use this with their children and grandchildren was amazing because they could connect to my research. It’s wonderful to know that [my research] is useful and helpful for the larger community!”

By Esther Kim