Posted by Terry Everett on May 15, 2019
      Amanda Bernal is beginning a new chapter in life.  She graduated from Austin College this year where she was president of the Rotaract Club.  She was also responsible for leading the very successful St. Baldrick's event.  Amanda plans on completing her Masters and then go on to receive her PhD.
      Only the top students at Austin College are invited to participate in their Honors Thesis program.   A student who has excellent research potential and has been performing at an exceptional level in the major and at a level of distinction in other courses may be invited by the department or program chair to participate in the Departmental Honors Program.  The Departmental Honors Program is designed to challenge superior students in their final year of undergraduate study to use their disciplinary training to delve deeper into a topic of interest in the major. The program emphasizes independent investigation and culminates in completion of a bachelor’s thesis or special research project.  
      Amanda successfully completed her Honors Thesis.  Her thesis was on "Prejudices, Parents and Interracial Relationships".
      By today's standards, displaying prejudices has become unacceptable.  Therefore, prejudices have become more subtle in nature.  Individuals must control their prejudices to either their internal or external motivations.  Amanda's study observed external motivations which is actively trying to hide one's prejudices to keep from being seen as prejudiced by others.
      Amanda's studies were based primarily on race, however, she did take religion and social class into consideration.  A previous study found individuals displayed more disapproval for those involved in an interreligious as opposed to those in an interracial relationship.  In regards to social class, a previous study showed white female participants perceived family approval to be heavily dependent on their partner's social class.  These findings resulted in Amanda's primary question of "How do different predictors, such as religion and social class, impact the level of support parents give to their child's romantic relationships?"
      Amanda's survey consisted of 329 parents.  They were equally divided between male and female with an average age of 31.  The majority were Asian and Caucasian with about 10% Hispanic, African-American, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.
      Survey results showed race having the largest influence, over religion or social class.  Interracial relationships received the lowest level of support from the parents.  Amanda pointed out that there wasn't a big difference.  When the potential spouse was of another race the level of support was rated at 4.8, where same race relationships received a 5.04 level of support.