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In our most recent episode of The Collective Voice, Joy interviews image consultant Cathrine Hatcher. Among many of the helpful tips and interesting items covered was a discussion on color psychology (catch the podcast episode HERE). It was the discussion on color psychology that reminded me of all of the science fair projects I completed while growing up in Republic, Ohio. Here are a few topics I examined:

7th Grade – Composting – My scientific method was to determine if heat levels affected decomposition. This study was conducted during the month of January. My family had to contend with cut-open milk jugs filled with dirt, egg shells, food scraps and who-knows-what else spread across the house. I remember them being next to the fireplace in the living room (hottest area), utility room, basement and garage. I would regularly monitor the temperature of the soil and stir up the scraps. Not surprisingly, the one by the fireplace decomposed the most, while the one in the garage was solid as a rock.

8th Grade – Color: Can it control you? This was the most memorable and my favorite of all science projects. I had my friends and family wear different colors and read and study under different colors of light bulbs to see if their moods changed. I don’t even remember the outcome of the study, only that it was pretty difficult to do homework next to a blue or green light bulb!

9th Grade – Sibling Psychology – Does the number of siblings you have affect your behavior and mood? This was my opportunity to prove if everything said about the youngest child was true. I don’t remember if I did that or not, but I thought this was a pretty clever topic for a 9th grader.

11th Grade – Does age affect memory? I created a series of memory tests that I gave to anyone who would take them in order to get a good cross-section of ages. After church I set up a table during social hour. I visited a local nursing home and I crashed some elementary school classes. As hypothesized, age does affect memory, according to my small town sampling.

After reviewing this short list, it is no surprise that I ended up majoring and completing a thesis in psychology in college. I love a good survey. What strikes me about these topics is that for each one, I had to call on my family and community to help. I told them what color to wear on what day. I made them take tests. They were all willing subjects. That’s small town spirit!

Small Town Leadership Lesson: Foster curiosity. There was no wikipedia or Google when I was doing my science projects. I relied on the card catalogue, careful note taking and my knowledge of the scientific method. My results were dependent on the subjects who were willing to participate in my research. I wasn’t afraid to ask for help, and it made me a better scientist in the process.


Small Town Leadership Founder; Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach and award-winning public speaker, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Rob, a professor at Ohio State and two little girls.

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