Stories of Resilience from CEHS Researchers

July 8, 2022
The Summer 2022 issue of Utah State magazine was based around the theme of resilience, a word which often brings to mind the power of the human spirita sense of overcoming impossible odds or heartbreaking challenges. Stories of resilience are some of the most inspiring and empowering, and they can affect us long after we hear them.

Many of the researchers and graduates of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services are well-acquainted with resilience in a variety of contexts: they study it in the people they work with, strive to cultivate it in those they serve, and sometimes have to develop it themselves to move forward and continue to help others. Read on to learn about the many researchers, gradutes, and students in our college whose experiences with resilience are featured in this summer's USU alumni magazine.

Youth Anxiety and What We Can Do About It

With youth mental health issues on the rise, the search for causes and solutions is intensifying among parents, clinicians, and teachers alike. Tyler Renshaw, associate professor of psychology at Utah State University, discusses how behavioral and emotional support at school can change student's lives. Julie Petersen, a psychology doctoral student, shares her success using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with adolescents in schools.

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Upstanding and the Science of Fighting Bullying

Dr. Diana Meter has been researching the social impacts of bullying for a substantial portion of her academic career. Heartbroken by the loss of two young Utah students last winter, both of whom died by suicide after experiencing bullying from their peers, Meter shares her findings on the impacts of bullying, how caregivers and teachers can protect students from bullying, and how students standing up for their peers make a difference.

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Undiminished: Resilience in the Undocumented Community

Though Dr. Melanie Domenech Rodríguez's research focuses on Latinx families, she has recently turned her academic efforts to the complex problems facing America's undocumented population. With her unique perspective as a researcher, a confidante, and a member of the Latinx population, Domenech Rodríguez is exploring how these individuals and communities maintain hope and find ways forward despite seemingly insurmountable circumstances.

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Overcoming Trauma: “It’s Not Always Rainbows in Life”

Mary Phan has dealt with trauma throughout her entire life. From a difficult upbringing in rough neighborhoods to exclusion at school due to her Vietnamese heritage to a very young marriage, she has experienced first-hand the lasting effects of childhood trauma. Now heading into her third year in USU's psychology PhD program, Phan strives to normalize discussing the hard parts of life and studies the power of mindfulness to cope and overcome.

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Keeping Joy In the Classroom

Teachers are under an enormous amount of pressure; in a recent poll by the National Education Association, nearly 90% of respondent said they feel burnout is a serious issue and have seen more educations leaving the profession since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of these challenges, several teachers in Cache Valley share how they are continuing to find joy in the profession and how they spread that joy to the next generation of educators.

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The Fight For Disability Rights Goes Online

The rush to develop remote technologies and online options in the wake of COVID-19 has left a significant portion of the population behind. Individuals with disabilities are still battling for accessibility in these new technologies that seem to be here to stay. Researchers at the Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice and other accessibility specialists at USU share the impacts of remote technology and how they're working to train the host of new players in the online world.

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