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February  14,  2018  The  Signal  page  5

Dogs / Kirnan presents research on therapy 6WXGHQWV OHDUQ DERXW EHQHĂ€WV RI SXSS\ ORYH

Grace Gottschling / Staff Photographer

Left: Bob helps children cope with anxiety and other maladaptive symptoms. Right: Kirnan’s research reveals the advantages of animal therapy. continued from page 1

concern about the subjectivity of the measures used in her research, which are primarily observational. “I think they’re very anxious,â€? Kirnan said. “I do think 'HVSLWH WKHVH GLIĂ€FXOWLHV WKH LQWHUYLHZ GDWD .LUQDQ the dog brings that down because they perceive him as a has collected from the school faculty reveals improvefriend and he’s just completely non-threatening. It’s really PHQWV LQ UHDGLQJ RUDO Ă XHQF\ H[SUHVVLRQ YRFDEXODU\ beautiful to watch.â€? and writing. While Kirnan has noted improvements in the students’ The most notable improvements occurred among kinreading when Bob visits, she has encountered some ob- GHUJDUWHQHUV ZKR GHPRQVWUDWHG VWDWLVWLFDOO\ VLJQLĂ€FDQW stacles while conducting research on animal-assisted edu- differences in their reading grades. These results led Kircation. Early research, in particular, is anecdotal and thus nan to conclude that starting therapy earlier is more benGLIĂ€FXOWWRFRUURERUDWH HĂ€FLDOIRUVWXGHQWV 6LQFH.LUQDQLVZRUNLQJZLWKFKLOGUHQLWLVGLIĂ€FXOWWR Amanda Rego, a senior early childhood education establish a control group because that would mean deny- and psychology double major, expressed enthusiasm ing some children the opportunity to see Bob. There is also for Kirnan’s work, but acknowledged the need for more

objective results. “I think there just needs to be a better way to measure the actual outcomes,� Rego said. “There could be novelty or placebo effects, especially in places like senior centers because the seniors aren’t being exposed to that many exciting things –– is their blood pressure going down because of the dog or just because it’s exciting and new to them?� Although the study of animal-assisted therapy has posed some obstacles for Kirnan as a scientist, raising therapy dogs has proved to be immensely rewarding for her, both as a dog owner and an active member of her community. “You have an audience that doesn’t care if you stumble, doesn’t care if you stutter,� Kirnan said. “I do feel that physiologically they bring down stress.�

Schools  /  Students  explore  chances  to  study  in  foreign  countries

Grace Gottschling / Staff Photographer

Academic programs from around the world attract students at the fair. continued from page 1 “It might give you some kind of different experience that you don’t get in the classroom here,� Dobrow said. Jennifer Margherito, the College’s study abroad adviser, emphasized the impact studying abroad can have on students. “Campus is a wonderful, welcoming environment, but sometimes you need

that semester away to give perspective to your life here, as well as to gain new perspective on a culture abroad,� Margherito said. Interested students were able to connect with different professors, Center for Global Engagement staff and other representatives from assorted programs and universities. Several students who already completed study abroad trips were stationed at the

tables, eager to share their stories. Matthew Walck, a junior history and international studies double major, spent the past fall semester in Heidelberg, Germany. He felt his time abroad fostered significant personal growth. “I was surprised about how uncomfortable I was in the beginning, but I think that’s one of the most important things,â€? Walck said. “Getting over that, I feel like I can just get thrown into any situation now.â€? Karina Pedraza, a junior psychology and marketing double major, travelled to Heidelberg with Walck. Their time abroad led to them picking up bits of the German language, learning how to navigate public transportation and getting to know the locals. “Most people have a tendency to fall into routine, and it’s easy to get comfortable with your surroundings, but almost too comfortable, to a point where you don’t really expand yourself,â€? Pedraza said. Kaelyn DiGiamarino, a senior marketing major, felt that spending a semester at Charles University in Prague had a tremendous impact on her. “I felt completely different when I came back,â€? DiGiamarino said. “Your perspective on yourself and the world changes. I IHHODORWPRUHFRQĂ€GHQWDQGRXWJRLQJÂľ The past experiences of students who had studied abroad gave other students a better idea of the different opportunities available to them.

´,ZDVVXUSULVHG about how XQFRPIRUWDEOH,ZDV LQWKHEHJLQQLQJ EXW,WKLQNWKDW¡VRQH RIWKHPRVW LPSRUWDQWWKLQJVÂľ — 0DWWKHZ:DOFN -XQLRUKLVWRU\DQGLQWHUQDWLRQDO VWXGLHVGRXEOHPDMRU Margherito is a big supporter of the College’s study abroad program, and often gives presentations on studying abroad to prospective students and their parents. During the fair, she spoke highly of the programs, and felt that each student should try to participate before graduating. “I think study abroad is a great opportunity, and I think there’s not a one-sizeĂ€WVDOOIRUVWXG\DEURDGÂľ0DUJKHULWRVDLG “You can have an impactful experience on a two to three week faculty-led program as much as you can have on a semester DEURDG ²² ZKDWHYHU Ă€WV LQWR \RXU DFDdemic program is something that’s going to add value to your academic experience here at TCNJ.â€?

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The Signal: Spring '18 No. 4  

The 02/14/18 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper

The Signal: Spring '18 No. 4  

The 02/14/18 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper

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