Twenty-three WKU students, including four Gatton Academy students, will present research at the 2016 Posters-at-the-Capitol event.
The event will be presented to Gov. Matt Bevin, members of the General Assembly and representatives on Friday, Feb. 25, in Frankfort.
Senior Megan Sircy of Lafayette, Tennessee, is one of the students who will be presenting her research. Sircy’s research focuses on health administrators’ perceived knowledge of the Affordable Care Act.
She said researching helped her gain more insight on what her future as a facility administrator will be like. Sircy said many administrators she spoke with only knew how the Affordable Care Act affected their facility but did not understand the overall act.
“In college I really want to focus on what makes me nervous about being an administrator and do extra research,” Sircy said.
The goal of Posters-at-the-Capitol is to display the research and achievements of students across the Commonwealth. Government officials such as the governor are involved to show how important it is to include the next generation in research.
Sircy said she is anxious about the presentation but hopes participating will set her apart when she enters the job market. She plans to enter the health care administration field because of her passion to help older people, a group she believes receives too little attention.
Cheryl Davis, interim associate provost for research and creative activity, said all students work with a faculty mentor from start to finish.
Davis said the program encourages students to use resources like their professors to encourage student-teacher interaction beyond the classroom.
Sircy’s mentor was Melanie Eaton, instructor and longterm care administrator. Sircy said Eaton encouraged her and pushed her to limits she never knew she had. Sircy said she also loves to learn continuously.
“I like to spread the things that I’ve learned and help other people with it. One day I want to come back to Western to teach, so I want to keep on top of things and know what’s going on,” Sircy said.
Sircy said her research has allowed her to network with current administrators and understand how they deal with problems that come from the Affordable Care Act. She says the interactions also reassured her that she doesn’t need to know everything when entering an administrative role.
“You are always learning in health care. There is always something that is changing legally or in the environment,” she said.
Through her research, she was able to identify several flaws in the act she was studying. The main issue she sees is that it affects the general public very harshly since it penalizes those who do not have insurance and causes those with insurance to bear a heavier load.
“I like the fact that someone was wanting to do something about the problems we have in health care, but I don’t think that it was done in the best way possible,” Sircy said.