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Gwendolyn Coker

Gwendolyn Coker

Gwendolyn Coker


Rockingham, North Carolina


Gwendolyn Coker is from Rockingham, North Carolina and graduated with a degree in psychology in May of 2018. Gwen was proud to be chosen as a research assistant investigating the relationship between self-compassion and parenting, as well as self-compassion and rejection. She presented her research at two conferences: PURC and the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium (SNURCS) at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Gwen was proud that she was accepted into the honors college during the second semester of her freshman year and because of that she was able to stand amongst her peers and have the opportunity to step out of her comfort zone, enabling her to excel and achieve her goals. Because of the support and encouragement to maintain strong academics from the honors college, Gwen was inducted into the International Honors Society of Psychology, Psi Chi, in the fall of 2016, where she was elected as an officer.  

Gwen used her research that she conducted with Dr. Ashley Allen about self-compassion for her senior project. She focused on self-compassion as a buffer in response to negative effects of rejection. For her project she conducted a study that consisted of formulated scales, personality variables, and survey questions and had university students take the survey. She predicted that people having low fear of self-compassion are linked to outcomes such as low belonging, more burden, and more negative affect, whereas people with high fears of self-compassion are linked to more negative reactions when it comes to rejection. Gwen presented her project in the form of a thesis paper where she explained her study, the outcomes, and her conclusion. 

After graduation Gwen attended UNC Pembroke to obtain her Master of Arts in Education in Professional School Counseling. In the summer of 2018 she attended the National Board of Certified Counselors Conference Symposium in Washington, D.C. Gwen aspires to pursue her Ph.D. to work on the collegiate level as a professional counselor after completing her master’s degree. She advises honors students to never stay put when they know they can do better. Striving to be the best requires the exploration of every opportunity: “I always try to better myself by staying focused on my goals so that I could be the best version of me.” Gwen’s greatest memory was during her freshman year when she had Chancellor Kyle Carter, who shared the same major as she, as the professor for her freshman seminar course. She was inspired by how much he cared about the students and how he encouraged them to keep pushing and pursue all the opportunities they are given during college. 

Senior Project
Thesis: Does the Fear of Self-Compassion Lead to a More Negative Rejection Response?
Faculty Mentor: Ashley Allen