Congratulations to Dr. Kulwinder Kaur and her students Jaida Ellis and Genesis McClain from Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). The team received funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) Summer Research Team (SRT) program for Minority Serving Institutions. Their team will work with ODU researchers examining mental health effects of long-term exposure to hurricanes.

The ECSU team started their research on May 24, 2019. They recently joined Dr. Tancy Vandecar-Burdin (Director of ODU’s Social Science Research Center) for a discussion of survey research methodology. They also met with the ODU team (Drs. Michelle Covi and Wie Yusuf) and the SUMREX interns from Tougaloo College.

From left: Dr. Tancy Vandecar-Burdin (Director, ODU Social Science Research Center), Genesis McClain (ECSU), Dr. Michelle Covi (ODU and Virginia Sea Grant), Courtney Thomas (SUMREX, Tougaloo College), Madison Bibbs (SUMREX, Tougaloo College), Jaida Ellis (ECSU), Dr. Kulwinder Kaur (ECSU).

What do our SRT Students have to say?

Team Kaur will be collaborating with our ODU team to study mental health needs of under-resourced communities in North Carolina that have experienced long-term exposure to hurricanes and coastal hazards. Through this collaborative research project, the ECSU team brings expertise from psychology, while the ODU team – with backgrounds in oceanography, public policy, engineering, data science, and modeling and simulation – contributes expertise in sea level rise, community resilience, survey research, data analysis and stakeholder engagement.

We asked Jaida and Genesis about their previous experiences working with faculty and students from other universities and/or other disciplines.

Jaida: This research opportunity would be my first time working with faculty and students from other universities.

Genesis: I have had the opportunity to work with students from other universities/disciplines by being apart of a program called Upward Bound during my high school career. During my experience I had the opportunity to travel to different universities and be informed about campus life, different programs, going to workshops on career choices, and cultural diversity.

What do they hope to achieve from this summer’s experience?

Genesis: I expect to achieve my goal of giving assistance to those whose needs haven’t been met. I expect to achieve my mission based on the stigma of mental health within African Americans. I expect to achieve resilience within my research areas to set an example for those that may want to help but, are afraid to.

Jaida: This summer I hope to not only complete my research but to also find statistically significant data that can be used to help minorities in the future and to add to the psychological community.  I expect to gain a first-hand a better understanding on what it means to be a researcher and to connect with researchers from other disciplines; since all of us want to help improve minority communities.

We’re excited to have Jaida and Genesis on our team. What are they excited about?

Jaida: I am excited about gaining a new experience that I know is going to help me later in my professional life.  I am also excited that I am able to conduct research on a population that I believe, in the past, has been overlooked in research.

Genesis: I am excited to learn, I am excited to be challenged on my knowledge I have gained thus far. I am ecstatic to share the knowledge that I will gain from this experience. I am very excited to network with people from different institutions as well as the faculty members.