Meeting Information

Most recent meeting program

Aphabetized List of Abstracts

Continuing Education Credits

These portions of the meeting have been accredited for Continuing Education credits.

Keynote Speakers

Deborah L. Best

Culture in the Classroom: Surprising Students with Realities of the Global World

Millennials may be more aware of global aspects of today’s world than were past generations, but they often do not think about how culture affects their every day lives. Indeed, much of current research in the social sciences continues to be conducted using WEIRD populations, with the underlying assumption that there are no important differences in people and their behaviors around the globe. Weaving culture into teaching can expand students’ awareness of cultural practices within different ecological frameworks, perhaps increasing students’ appreciation of the complexity of human behavior. Indeed, cultural and developmental processes are constantly intertwined, and the enculturation and socialization of children are fundamental means of cultural transmission across all societies. Given that children are perhaps the world’s most important resource and they literally are the future, it is important to understand the relation between culture and human development. Ways to add culture to teaching psychology courses, particularly focusing upon developmental processes, will be discussed.

Julie Ann Washington

The Impact of Cultural Dialect on Reading and Writing

The impact of cultural language differences on learning to read is well-documented. Cultural dialects that differ from the mainstream language standard can influence reading and writing acquisition. Specifically, the density with which children use a cultural dialect has been shown to slow down the development of both reading and writing. Sometimes called linguistic distance, it has been demonstrated across languages that the further away a child is from the spoken standard the more likely it is that he/she will struggle with reading and writing development. African American English (AAE) is the most widely studied dialect of American English. Children who are high users of AAE have been found to struggle with reading, spelling, writing and oral language development, as high dialect use represents a significant distance from the spoken and written standard.These disparities in reading acquisition are increased when children are also growing up in poverty. This session will utilize AAE as an example of an oral dialect whose use influences the rate and overall growth of reading skills among its users.

Gary Sass

Gary Sass is a local historian, entrepreneur and story teller that has been featured in magazines and on television for his personalized tours. He is President of AdLib Luxury Tours and Active Escapes DMC. Sass personally conducts over 80 different tours in North Florida. His Jacksonville Walking Tour program is ranked #1 on Trip Advisor. Sass was honored twice by the North Florida Hotels Association with a ROSE award for Service Excellence. He also received a Preservation Service Award from the Jacksonville Historic Commission. Sass is a member of the St. Augustine Historical Society, Jacksonville Historical Society and Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

Sarah Herrmann

Crossing Classes: A Cultural Perspective of First-Generation College Students’ Performance and Persistence

More first-generation college (FGC) students are enrolling than ever before, but these students continue to have poorer performance and persistence than their continuing-generation (CGC) counterparts. This social class achievement gap persists even after controlling for students’ demographic backgrounds and past academic performance, suggesting that differences during college are as important as difference before college in predicting outcomes for FGC students. Namely, while many theories have studied academic performance for first-generation students, few have taken into account the cultural transition to the university context. An emerging body of research examines the ways that low-income and first-generation students must adjust to the culture of the university and face challenges negotiating different cultural identities. In this address, I will discuss the ways that we can use a cultural lens to understand the transition to college for first-generation and low-income students. Additionally, I will explore individual and systemic interventions that utilize culture to improve FGC students’ performance and persistence.

Information for Students

There are events organized especially for students:

  1. Happy Hour on Thursday, February 14 (first drink and appetizers on SCCR!)
  2. Saturday Morning Mentoring/Networking Breakfast (free for students!)

Check back here for more details, or contact Amanda Faherty (Student Committee Chair) at for more information.