Student Spotlights

Student Research

Anna Wurzer, Class of 2021

Self-Control in the Domestic Dog Research
A group of students under the leadership of Dr. Leslie Angel have been conducting research with the goal of measuring self-control in canines. The Anthrozoology program dogs are participating in the study. Each of the dogs participating will be tested three times throughout the course of their year-long behavioral training in the anthrozoology program to see if behavioral training has an effect on impulse control. For this study, the dogs will be trained to “target” two touchpads on an apparatus, one of which dispenses a larger, delayed reward and one of which dispenses a smaller, immediate reward. Dr. Leslie Angel and her students are hoping to present the results of their research at conferences in both the spring and summer.

Research Update Fall 2020

Dr. Angel and Anna Wurzer were awarded a grant was through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).  The grant was for $1500 to continue their research project project "Self-Control in the Domestic Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)." 

canine-self-control research

Sarah Swingley, Class of 2022

Niceness is Priceless Program
Sarah SwingleyThe Niceness is Priceless Club was established in 2018 at Capital High School by cousins Christian Swingley and Sarah Swingley and their teacher Christina Sieminski. The club was created to honor Christian’s sister Mariah, who passed away in a car accident in 2015. She had started a Facebook page called Niceness is Priceless with the intention of reaching out to the Helena community in an attempt to spread kindness and end bullying. Christian, Sarah, and Christina decided to honor Mariah’s memory and began a club at their school with the same goals. Through small gestures by members of NP Club like free hot cocoa on winter mornings, surprise parties for janitors, a free car wash for teachers, Fancy Fridays/Fridays with the Fellas (members of the club go and hang out with the special needs students every Friday) and numerous other random acts of kindness, the club began to make an impact at Capital High School and drew the attention of other teachers in the district. What started out as a small lunch club at CHS is currently evolving into a multi-faceted program within the entire Helena School District. 

Sarah Swingley, now a sophomore at Carroll College, has taken on the role of District Coordinator for the Niceness is Priceless Program. In order to determine the impact of this program within the Helena area, Sarah reached out to the psychology department for help in conducting a research project. Dr. McManus has graciously offered to take the lead on this research, and Carroll College seniors Cameron Herriges and Rachel Bechtel have also joined in on the team. The intention of the research is to provide questionnaires to the students, their parents, teachers, and faculty/staff members of every school within the Helena area. Questionnaires will be provided at the beginning and the end of the school year in order to determine whether or not the Niceness is Priceless Club is positively changing the environment of each school. After months of dedicated work from Dr. McManus, Cameron, Rachel, and Sarah, this large research project is finally coming to fruition. With the assistance of additional psychology students at Carroll College, the research team is gearing up to implement this project within the Helena School District.
Read more about the Niceness is Priceless Club in the Independent Record.