Her paper, titled “Crossing Cultural Barriers: The Impact of Studying Abroad on the Personalities of College Students,” explored personality changes in college students. She looked specifically at study abroad programs to see if there were differences or similarities between students who studied abroad, were planning to study abroad or did not plan to study abroad. She conducted a survey sent to college students across the country and found that students’ perceptions of the study abroad experience seemed to influence how they rated their personality traits.
“I had the opportunity to speak with some very brilliant students across the country who had conducted research in many different areas of study,” said Lessard. “While talking with other students, I could feel their passion radiating from their poster boards. I also met many undergraduate and graduate professors who were both intrigued by my topic and offered guidance in further areas of study.”
More than 350 students presented at the conference on topics including financial crime, artificial intelligence, vaccinations, police brutality, health care issues for different demographics, and the gender divide in STEM.
“Overall, it was a wonderful experience in which I was constantly smiling as I was surrounded by so many people striving to do more and conduct research to make the world a better place,” Lessard said. “I was truly inspired to say the least.”