Friday, January 26, 2018

URSP Student Taylor Wichtendahl Researches How to Reduce the Sexual Harassment Risk for Adult Males with Disabilities at Their Jobs

My name is Taylor Wichtendahl and I’m a senior majoring in History with a minor in Applied Behavior Analysis. My project is titled “Sexual Harassment Prevention Training In The Employment Setting For Men With Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Delays And/Or Autism Spectrum Disorders.” I’m essentially studying how to reduce the sexual harassment risk for adult males with disabilities at their jobs. I work with the Mason LIFE program here on campus and our Assistant Director, Dr. Robin Moyher. Dr. Moyher wrote her dissertation regarding a similar topic, with the main difference being her focus on females. I chose to do an extension of her study by replicating a majority of the criteria and changing the gender of the participants. Every day, I take data and do different trainings with my research subjects. I meet with Dr. Moyher often to learn more about my next steps and analyze data. Every day is a little different and the schedule is hectic but that’s the best part. I’m always interested since I learn new things every single day.

I hope to expand on this research further next semester by amending the study to accommodate individuals with a lower reading level and/or IQ than the current study allows. That would make the sexual harassment training available to more adults and allow the benefits to be more far-reaching. My eventual hope for Dr. Moyher’s training is that it can be spread around to adults across the nation. I am incredibly excited to have a hand in that future.

Throughout this semester, I’ve discovered a passion for research. When I started pursing this project, it was because I thought it might be something cool to try or look good on my resume. However, as I get more involved I find myself realizing this is much more than a simple project for me. It’s become something I enjoy way more than I thought I would. My long-term goals are shifting because of this and I’m considering a future that allows me to be more involved in special education research. Research is an amazing thing to get involved with early on so you can direct your educational future in the best direction for you. Without my OSCAR involvement, I never would have discovered how awesome research is.