San Jacinto College student Veronica Salinas (right) won first place in a recent Psychology Expo poster contest with her project that showcases autism. Lordina Montano (left) won second place with a poster about media manipulation. Jacqueline Rodriguez’ poster about diabetes won third place. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Student’s winning project about autism is a labor of love
San Jacinto College psychology students showcase work on tri-fold posters
Rob Vanya, November 29, 2012
HOUSTON – San Jacinto College student Veronica Salinas’ winning entry in a recent Psychology Expo poster contest was literally a labor of love, and something very close to her heart. Based on personal experience, she chose autism as her topic, and her project won first place in a field of 150 entries.
For most of her life, Salinas has helped her younger brother Nicholas overcome difficulties related to autism. Nicholas, now 21, was diagnosed with autism as a small child. He could speak a few phrases and could sing a little during his childhood, but Nicholas is now non-verbal. He understands English and Spanish, is able to communicate using sign language. He also has a communication device that can speak specified sentences for him. Salinas has also helped her cousin Franky who has an autism disorder called Asperger syndrome.
Salinas spent about two weeks putting together her tri-fold poster on autism, which included a related research paper. Darla Rocha, psychology professor and behavioral sciences department chair at San Jacinto College North, said Salinas’ poster won first place in a field of many outstanding projects because Salinas’ project was exceptional in the way that it “educates.”
“By educating, the judges mean that the poster and research paper must educate the public by describing a psychology concept or disorder,” commented Rocha. “The project must also cover causes, symptoms, treatments, provide statistics, sources, photos, graphs, charts, etc. Veronica’s poster really excelled because it met all the criteria and thus it truly does educate about autism.”
Salinas said growing up and being close to someone with autism presents challenges. “I have always been very close to my brother, and became sort of like a guardian for him – a ‘mother hen’ you might say,” she commented. “He has his favorites among us sisters and he knows who spoils him, and yes, it’s me. The biggest challenge to me is that sometimes when he gets upset or cries and he can’t tell me why and I have this sense that I am not helping or fixing the problem. But I believe anything can be accomplished with patience and understanding. People with autism are people just like us and they have their bad days just like anyone else and we need to constantly be ready for their changes in behavior.”
Salinas graduated from North Shore High School, and plans to earn an associate degree in surgical technology in 2014, attending classes at the Central and North campuses. She will then transfer to a university, continuing her education in the surgical field en route to becoming a surgical first assistant.
In the Psychology Expo poster contest, San Jacinto College student Lordina Montano won second place with a poster about media manipulation. A poster about diabetes by Jacqueline Rodriguez won third place.
San Jacinto College offers a wide range of psychology courses at all three campuses. For more information, please visit www.sanjac.edu/areas-study#pyschology.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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