Thursday, March 29, 2018

URSP Student Taylor Wichtendahl Studies How to Reduce the Sexual Harassment Risk for Adults with Disabilities

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 Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Delays And/Or Autism Spectrum Disorders.” I’m essentially studying how to reduce the sexual harassment risk for adults 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. Last semester, I chose to do an extension of her study by replicating a majority of the criteria and changing the gender of the participants. This semester, we’ve decided to test the project with students who have a lower reading level and/or IQ than previous studies we’ve done have allowed. 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 want to develop this training and build it to create something to benefit more than just the involved students. 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.

This semester, I haven’t gotten deep into the research just yet because we are waiting on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Once this is done, my days will go back to hectic research filled chaos but it will be worth it. After my application is approved, things will move quite quickly. This pace and interest has definitely kept me invested. It has helped my passion for research to grow. I’ve loved every second of growth, learning, and experience I’ve had. I’ve also greatly enjoyed seeing the benefit of my research first hand. It is really great to be involved in something so important as an undergraduate student.  I am so grateful to OSCAR for letting me take part in this.