2018-2019 Series

Adversity and Resilience: Perils & Potential for Growth

Tracking people's lives through their words and stories

Some of the smallest, most forgettable words that we use in everyday conversations can reveal our emotions, our thinking patterns, and how we connect with others.  A revolution in computer-based text analysis has provided tools to analyze people's use of pronouns, articles, and other function words that serve as clues to tracking deception, status, group formation, social skills, and personality. The analysis of language can serve as a parallel way to understand human thinking and behavior to complement self-reports. The psychological study of history, business, groups, culture, and entire civilizations is now possible as long as linguistic trails exist.

What it would take to eliminate health disparities for LGBTQ teens

LGBT youth face a number of health disparities, including increased risk for mental health and physical problems. What drives these disparities? Social determinants related to oppression and discrimination negatively impact the health of LGBT teens, and marginalization exists in multiple systems. Science is needed to solve these disparities, but barriers exist in conducting research with LGBT youth. Current knowledge on LGBT youth health will be described and gaps that would benefit from future research will be identified. Innovations in eHealth and specifically online sexual health education in this population will be discussed.

Brown STEM/White STEM: Latinx Students’ Experiences in a White-Dominated Field

Engineering jobs are critical to the United States’ competitiveness in the global market and represent careers that are projected to grow. Latina/os are sorely underrepresented across the engineering pipeline (National Science Foundation, 2013). This presentation highlights findings from two NSF supported projects that examine the longitudinal effects of social cognitive, personality, and contextual factors on engineering students’ satisfaction and persistence in engineering as posited by Social Cognitive Career Theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994; 2000). The findings are used to provide recommendations for broadening the participation of Latino/as in engineering.

Beyond food and shelter: Caring for Refugee Children

There are now more than 65 million displaced people in the world and about half of them children. While the world community has done a decent job to provide food and shelter we fail to meet basic educational and psychological needs of refugee children. In this presentation, I will provide overall picture of refugee children and their needs and share the result of Project HOPE an innovative digital game-based project we developed and implemented in Turkey.

Risk and Resilience: The Critical Role of Authentic Connections

This presentation will focus on the culture-specific risk and protective factors that impact student well-being in high achieving schools. This presentation will also encompass burnout faced by parents, educators, and health workers that support these students.

Intergenerational Effects of Trauma

Significant interest lies in trying to understand whether the effects of trauma are passed to the next, or even subsequent generations. Recent advances in molecular biology and epigenetics provide paradigms for understanding long term effects of stress. Epigenetic research provides animals models for how such effects might be transmitted and also raise great speculation about whether and to what extent such mechanisms can be applied to understanding enduring effects of trauma in offspring of survivors. This presentation focuses on consequences of parental trauma and examines whether such effects are biologically ‘transmitted.” Most of the research has been conducted on adult children of Holocaust survivors but is supported by observations of children born to pregnant women who survived the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. Findings demonstrating epigenetic marks associated with parental trauma effects of PTSD will be reviewed, and discussed in the context of whether they represent generational “damage” due to adversity or indicate attempts to adapt to environmental challenge to achieve resilience.