Morris named 2017 Hetzel Award recipient for leadership

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Taylor Morris, a senior majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, has been named recipient of the 2017 Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award.

Named for Penn State’s 10th president, the Hetzel Award recognizes a combination of high scholastic attainment together with good citizenship, and participation and leadership in student activities.

Morris has assisted in several research projects aimed at understanding issues such as childhood trauma in schools and sexual assault on college campuses. Morris examined how victims of childhood trauma respond to authority and what toll the trauma plays on their resiliency and growth.

She took the lead on studies related to bystander intervention and sexual assault prevention on college campuses, research that was presented on a national stage at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference.

“We wanted to determine if and when people would intervene throughout each progressing scene,” said Morris. “We found those with higher bystander self-efficacy and who recognized the risk earlier in the scenario were more likely to leave the scene before the sexual assault took place and before they had the opportunity to intervene.”

While studying anti-bullying methods at a local school district, Morris was the lead contact for teachers implementing the program. Responsibilities included conducting focus groups with teachers, entering and analyzing data and training and supervising other undergraduate students.

“Morris has a passion for learning and for helping others,” said a nominator. “She’s committed to helping the less fortunate and she has a vision and goal of becoming a sociologist in order to help those who cannot help themselves. As someone who frequently works with trauma victims, it can be tough on new students when they talk with people who have experienced adversity, yet Taylor is inspired and energized by these interactions.”

Last Updated March 21, 2017