Event Title

MH4 -- Work-in-Progress: STEM students’ mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic

Location

URC Greatroom

Start Date

8-4-2022 10:30 AM

End Date

8-4-2022 12:15 PM

Description

Of great current concern is the wellness of students across the entire nation due to the changing landscape of education in the throes of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Fifty-nine percent of participants in a nationwide study experienced high levels of psychological impact due to Covid-19 (Browning et al., 2021). In our experience teaching a first-year college freshman course, we became aware of many of the struggles, including serious mental health and wellness issues, which our undergraduates face. The more that we understand the various aspects of the mental health of our students, the better equipped we can be to offer the support and resources they need. According to the National Academies Press, the long-term effects for the mental health of our students is expected to be substantial, given the already-growing number of students who experience significant mental health problems (“Mental Health, Substance Use, and Wellbeing in Higher Education: Supporting the Whole Student,” 2021). For undergraduate students obtaining degrees in the demanding and often competitive fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), the added anxiety and stress that the pandemic bring have shown to be potentially crippling to our students. In this work-in-progress, we share intermediate results of our exploratory phenomenological study in our efforts to answer the research question: In what ways has the Covid-19 pandemic affected Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics students’ mental health? To answer this question we have conducted three focus groups using a semi-structured protocol with a total of 20 participants, who are all full-time undergraduate students in various STEM majors such as chemistry, biology, environmental science, and computer and information systems. Our analytical techniques include emergent and focused coding of the verbatim transcripts of over 300 minutes of digitally-recorded audio. Our findings reveal important implications and suggestions for current and future students that are not only salient to STEM students, but also other majors and disciplines.

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Apr 8th, 10:30 AM Apr 8th, 12:15 PM

MH4 -- Work-in-Progress: STEM students’ mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic

URC Greatroom

Of great current concern is the wellness of students across the entire nation due to the changing landscape of education in the throes of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Fifty-nine percent of participants in a nationwide study experienced high levels of psychological impact due to Covid-19 (Browning et al., 2021). In our experience teaching a first-year college freshman course, we became aware of many of the struggles, including serious mental health and wellness issues, which our undergraduates face. The more that we understand the various aspects of the mental health of our students, the better equipped we can be to offer the support and resources they need. According to the National Academies Press, the long-term effects for the mental health of our students is expected to be substantial, given the already-growing number of students who experience significant mental health problems (“Mental Health, Substance Use, and Wellbeing in Higher Education: Supporting the Whole Student,” 2021). For undergraduate students obtaining degrees in the demanding and often competitive fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), the added anxiety and stress that the pandemic bring have shown to be potentially crippling to our students. In this work-in-progress, we share intermediate results of our exploratory phenomenological study in our efforts to answer the research question: In what ways has the Covid-19 pandemic affected Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics students’ mental health? To answer this question we have conducted three focus groups using a semi-structured protocol with a total of 20 participants, who are all full-time undergraduate students in various STEM majors such as chemistry, biology, environmental science, and computer and information systems. Our analytical techniques include emergent and focused coding of the verbatim transcripts of over 300 minutes of digitally-recorded audio. Our findings reveal important implications and suggestions for current and future students that are not only salient to STEM students, but also other majors and disciplines.