In choosing themes for our psychology lecture series, we look for topics that have broad interest and that generate scientific research from a variety of perspectives. All invited speakers meet and network with St. Mary’s College psychology students. Lectures may be used to fulfill the Lecture Reflection Requirement in PSYC 206 and PSYC 493/494. All lectures are free and open to the general public. We are grateful to our 2021-22 Lecture Series sponsor: the Lecture & Fine Arts Committee.
2020-2021 Series: The Psychology of COVID-19 and Public Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced all aspects of our lives from our physical and mental health to our relationships, workplaces, and professions; it has even highlighted broader societal concerns such as discrimination and the dangerous effects of misinformation. The social and behavioral sciences are uniquely positioned to help us understand a) the effects of COVID on cognitive, emotional, developmental, and social processes, b) how to increase compliance with public health policies, and c) how to mitigate the negative effects of COVID-related sequelae such as isolation and loneliness.
The AY21-22 Psychology speaker series will explore various elements of the Psychology of COVID by inviting four scientists who examine how COVID has affected people at the individual and societal levels. It is our goal to invite psychologists and other social scientists who study COVID from varied disciplinary perspectives such as social psychology (e.g., the effects of COVID on romantic relationships), developmental psychology (e.g., the effects of COVID on children, families, and schooling), clinical/counseling psychology (e.g., the mental health consequences of COVID and isolation), public health (e.g., health inequities and health persuasion campaigns), and political science and political psychology (e.g., media effects and misinformation).
All will be virtual lectures with registration required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. For all events there will be a 30-minute post-Q&A informal chat with faculty, staff and students using the same link as the respective lecture.
Wednesday, September 22 at 4:45 pm
Dr. Nickola Overall (University of Auckland) will speak on “Family Stress, Risk and Resilience during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Register for the Zoom lecture: https://smcm.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYvduihpzMjHdPHmQ4amOyg8mX-zsvEtDJv
This talk will present a conceptual framework for understanding how the cumulative stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic affect family processes that harm adults’ and children’s health and wellbeing. Data tracking families prior to and during the pandemic will be used to demonstrate how facing pandemic-related stress increases the risk of harmful processes across the family system, such as inter-parental conflict, unresponsive parenting, and family chaos.
After identifying the key factors that need to be addressed in order to mitigate the potential adverse effects of the current crisis, the talk will end by considering resilience processes (e.g., cooperative co-parenting) that may protect family wellbeing in the face of the ongoing family stress arising from the pandemic.
Dr. Overall is a Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Dr. Overall’s research programs are guided by a principal goal to identify how emotional, attachment and relationship difficulties can be overcome to build healthy and happy families. Her research focuses on the relative success of different communication strategies used when families are confronted with stress, social challenges and relationship problems. Dr. Overall has published over 135 articles, books and book chapters. Dr. Overall has won several international awards for her contributions to relationship and family science, and is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Dr. Overall has been Associate Editor of Personal Relationships and Social Psychological and Personality Science, and is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes.
Friday, October 22 at 2:45 pm
Dr. Cixin Wang (University of Maryland) will speak on “COVID-19 Racism towards Asian American Youth: Consequences and Solutions.”
Register for the Zoom lecture: https://smcm.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkdOmsqTovGdfbGsvIrVpLEIkolhDc6NCy
Asian Americans experienced a surge of racism and xenophobia during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been associated with high levels of mental health difficulties. During this lecture, Dr. Wang will review the history of anti-Asian racism and discuss common myths about Asian American families. She will also present recent data on Asian American students’ experience with racism and discuss possible solutions. Participants will learn how to better understand anti-Asian racism and support Asian American youth and families.
Dr. Cixin Wang is an associate professor of School Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park (Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education). She received her PhD in School Psychology from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011. She then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University in 2013. Her research interests focus on bullying prevention and mental health promotion among children and adolescents. Her research seeks to: (1) better understand different factors contributing to bullying/ victimization and mental health difficulties, including individual, family, school, and cultural factors; (2) develop effective prevention and intervention techniques to decrease bullying at school; and (3) develop school-wide prevention models to promote mental health among students, especially among culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students. She has published more than 60 SCI journal articles and conducted more than 100 national and international presentations.
Friday, February 18 at 2:45 pm
Dr. Jessica Fish (University of Maryland) will speak on “Advancing Research and Practice to Address LGBTQ Youth Mental Health during COVID and Beyond.”
Register for the Zoom lecture: https://smcm.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvcemhqDojHNWfubXhr1PX6tOK9R2Ju46H
Today’s LGBTQ youth come of age at a time of dynamic social and political change concerning LGBTQ rights and visibility yet remain vulnerable to compromised mental health. Despite advances, there remain critical gaps in evidence-based prevention and intervention programs designed to support the positive development and mental health of LGBTQ youth. These gaps in service access and delivery were accentuated during the COVID-19 pandemic and force researchers and practitioners to consider new and innovative models to address LGBTQ youth mental health. To spur advances in research and translation, Dr. Fish will discuss several distinct but interrelated considerations to developing future research and (ultimately) programs to address LGBTQ youth mental health. By addressing these issues, we will ultimately provide new and innovative strategies for supporting the positive development and wellbeing of LGBTQ young people during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Dr. Jessica Fish is assistant professor in the Department of Family Science at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the deputy director for research and evaluation of the CDC-funded University of Maryland Prevention Research Center. Her research and scholarship are in services to understanding the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their families. Broadly, her research aims to identify mutable factors that contribute to LGBTQ-related health disparities in order to inform developmentally sensitive policies, programs, and prevention strategies that promote the health of LGBTQ people across the life course.
Friday, February 25 at 2:45 pm
Dr. Rama Cousik (Indiana University -Purdue University Fort Wayne) will speak on Topic (related to COVID-19 and disability/inclusion) “Disability Inclusion Matters: COVID-19 Pandemic and College Students with Disabilities.”
Register for the Zoom lecture: https://smcm.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcvfuqorTwsGtOmiSnQ3Aq3LosZ96sIzLFx
Dr. Rama Cousik is an associate professor in special education. Dr. Cousik received her PhD from Indiana University Bloomington in 2011. She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on inclusion, UDL strategies, autism and collaboration. She also supervises graduate students working on their Thesis and Research Projects. Dr. Cousik is a qualitative researcher and her publications showcase use of poetic inquiry and cultural interpretations of disability.
Previous lecture series topics:
- 2020-21: Intervention Science: Harnessing Psychology to Address Oppressive Systems
- 2019-20: Psychology of the Opioid Crisis
- 2018-19: Psychology of Work and Play
- 2017-18: Psychology of Oppression
- 2016-17: Psychology Across the Globe: Cross-Cultural Perspectives
- 2015-16: Autism Spectrum Disorder: Fact and fiction
- 2014-15: Benefits and Risks of Technology Use on Children in the Home and at School
- 2013-14: Health and the Obesity “Crisis”
- 2012-13: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
- 2011-12: Populations in Need