Stephanie Joseph, MA, MEd
Stephanie Miodus, MA, MEd
Phew!!! A lot is going on in the world right now. And we know as students, we already have a ton on our plates in terms of academic and/or professional work. Coupled with trying to balance that with our personal lives—it is overwhelming.
Fellow students, we understand, intimately, what you are going through. Grad school. Endless hours of reading, writing, grading papers, researching, dissertating, and working. We know and we are right here with you.
As Division 46 Student Committee Co-Chairs, we invite you to join Division 46 and participate in the new activities we will be introducing this year and to correspond with us on matters related to the Division as a whole.
This Student Column is a place for students to express themselves by offering the opportunity to write and publish articles. We welcome you to join us as we build a community that shares struggles, successes, survival tips, and random thoughts. We look forward to hearing from you (our emails are listed above) and having you be a part of our Division 46 student community!
Implications for Graduate Students During COVID-19
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, we know it is more important than ever to remain connected with other students and build this community. There are many growing concerns for graduate students at this time, but there are ways technology can be leveraged to our advantage to address those concerns.
Online Classes and Teaching
With distance learning as the new norm, it has been a process for students to find their footing in their enrolled classes and also in the classes that they are helping to teach. In-person learning, and teaching have their own trials and tribulations, but virtual learning and teaching is another beast. A major concern, outside of the quality of instruction, is the quality of the connection between students and their instructors. Being able to attend office hours or have a quick chat before or after a class has now taken a new form with online classes and virtual teaching.
Although graduate students are not able to connect in person during the current crisis with each other and their professors, the available online technologies can be leveraged to elevate the depth and quality of classes and to make connections. Technology can help us by using multimodal methods of presentations, embedding TED Talks into presentations, incorporating virtual tours, and interfacing social media to connect with the larger academic community. Media and technology provide an opportunity to be creative in ways that were previously glossed over when there was no push for the mass move to distance learning.
The transition to distance learning has not been smooth, but it has been and continues to be a journey, nonetheless. While on this journey, graduate students have an opportunity to engage with learning uniquely: one that is less conventional but has the potential to be highly fruitful.
Research, Theses, and Dissertations
Conducting research and completing/defending theses and dissertations during the pandemic has also gone online. Online surveys (e.g., Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey) have become the norm for gathering data.
Students are defending their theses and dissertations via Zoom or other online video conferencing tools. Many students are nervous, weary, and frustrated because this is not something that they had planned for, but students and professors, to their credit, are adapting to the changed circumstances. COVID-19, indeed, is reshaping the world.
Opportunities for meaningful graduate training experiences during the pandemic are difficult to come by because schools and training sites are closed and there are statewide shelter-in-place orders. APA and many graduate programs have addressed and outlined how students can navigate this disruption in the training experience. Media and technology have come to our rescue, this time in the form of FREE online training programs!
At this time, there is an abundance of free webinars, online training programs, and professional development opportunities to supplement some of the training opportunities lost during the pandemic. APA, and many divisions/independent trainers/psychologists, are offering webinars and/or virtual training opportunities where you can develop skills and techniques for trauma counseling, crisis intervention, teletherapy, and consultation. You might take advantage of such offerings; take for example, for those in need of more consultation training, Division 16 is hosting “How to School Psych During a Global Pandemic: Supporting Students Through Teleconsultation with Caregivers and Educators.”
With the sudden move to distance learning, many students have lost their funding. Fortunately, there are growing social media campaigns led by graduate students petitioning their programs to extend their funding and/or suspend summer tuition.
Self-care, even when virtual, is the best care. Living through the pandemic is stressful because of being stuck at home, loss of normalcy, and attempting to maintain the academic productivity expectations as prior to the pandemic. Feelings of isolation and disconnection from peers will have adverse effects on productivity and overall well-being. It may help us to realize that although quarantined, we are not alone in this; peers, friends, and family are all going through this. Separated from friends, peers, and non-immediate family, many feel alone, but we are all #Alonetogether and can connect virtually. Students can practice self-care together by continuing to connect with friends and classmates virtually for fostering and nurturing relationships.
Practicing self-care will help making these difficult times more manageable. For example, you might benefit from using a mindfulness app like Insight Timer, Headspace, or Calm to cope with anxiety and stress management.
Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves!
Stephanie Miodus. I am a 2nd year PhD student in School Psychology at Temple University. I received my BA in Psychology with a minor in Statistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, completing my undergraduate honors thesis on the treatment of anxiety symptoms within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for depression. I then received my MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2018, where I was a Pinkerton Fellow. I received my MEd in School Psychology from Temple in 2019. I am currently a University Fellow at Temple, Temple’s PhD Student Representative for the National Association of School Psychologists, and a Representative for the Student Committee of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania. I am most passionate about leveraging media and technology to meet mental health needs in schools and to promote telehealth access in jails and prisons to expand mental health care services for individuals who are incarcerated.
Stephanie Joseph. I am a 2nd year PhD student in School Psychology at Temple University. I received my Bachelor’s in both Psychology and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies with a minor in Chemistry from New York University in 2012. I received my Master’s in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2017, where I completed my thesis on the implications of racial and gendered stereotypes on Black women’s identity development. In 2019, I received my MEd in School Psychology from Temple University. Presently, I am the Vice-President of the Student Association of School Psychology at Temple University. I am most interested in increasing access to mental health services and resources via the use of media and technology in underserved and under-represented communities.