UMW Student Wins Virginia Psychological Association Award

University of Mary Washington senior Leanna Papp has been named the winner of the Frederick B. Rowe Award for an outstanding paper at the Virginia Psychological Association conference.

Leanna Papp '14 (right) worked with Professor Mindy Erchull (left) on her award-winning paper.

Leanna Papp ’14 (right) worked with Professor Mindy Erchull (left) on her award-winning paper.

Papp received the award for her paper “Looking Over Her Shoulder: Women’s Justifying Beliefs and Experiences of Objectification Predict Fear of Rape and Rape Avoidance Tactics.” The work serves as her psychology honors thesis and her women’s and gender studies capstone project with Associate Professor of Psychology Mindy Erchull.

The paper explores the effects of the history of rape and attempted rape, sexual objectification, and justifying beliefs on the fear of rape and rape-avoidant behaviors of women. The results suggest that women’s fear of rape is often more contingent on more subtle factors than obvious trauma, and that rape avoidance behavior may be a more complicated construct than originally hypothesized. In 2013, Papp received an undergraduate research grant from Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, to begin her project.

“The fact that Leanna sought off-campus grant funding for this project is indicative of her drive and determination to see this project through,” Erchull said. “I look forward to working with her in the coming months to revise her thesis for publication.”

A psychology and women’s and gender studies double major, Papp is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Psi Chi and Mortar Board. She has worked as a writing tutor for the past three years and as a research assistant/lab aide for the Department of History and American Studies since her junior year. She is a founding member of the campus feminist club, and has served as its president.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.