Stark student goes beyond in explaining Kenyan self-satisfaction

Brittany Trojanowski

Kent State Stark student chalks up another award, this time helping the disabled women of Kenya.

Evelyn Williams, senior psychology major, won third place in the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research 2010 research paper competition.

The University of Michigan, which offered the competition, required each paper to be based off of information from within its database. At the time, Williams said she was interested in working with disabled women in Kenya. Within the database, she said she found information pertaining to the quality of democracy and governance in Kenya.

She said she decided to apply what she the information she found to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, theorist Abraham Maslow’s pyramid structure of the five basic human needs. Using her research, Williams created an undergraduate pilot project. She went to Kenya through university resources and conducted surveys with 55 disabled Kenyan women.

“Many people think that people only need food and water as a basic need to be satisfied,” Williams said. “But if (people in Kenya) don’t have a family or friends that are supporting them and encouraging them, then their ratings on life satisfaction are low.”

Upon completion, Williams’ “Satisfaction of Needs and Well-Being: An Application of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to the Population of Kenya” was published on the University of Michigan’s website for winning third place.

“I’m excited about this particular piece being published,” Williams said. “I mean, to be published on this website through the University of Michigan is an honor itself, but I’m most happy because I’m hoping that it’ll be the beginning of the publication of the pilot study, so that we can get more exposure for the women with disabilities.

Williams said that it was all very challenging with the regimented requirements, but she wants students to take advantage of this year’s competition because of the amount of information there is in the database.

The undergraduate writing competition awarded Williams with a plaque and $500 that she turned around to use for her research project.

“Anytime I win, especially if it’s monetary,” Williams said, “I put that right back in to my fund for the women in Kenya.”

Contact Brittney Trojanowski at [email protected].