Social Media and Mental Health Implications

March 16, 2021
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Dr. Mary Pritchard at Boise State and CWI's Heather Schoenherr have been piloting a collaborative research bridge program.

Dr. Mary Pritchard, at Boise State University (BSU) and College of Western Idaho's (CWI) Heather Schoenherr have been piloting a collaborative research bridge program for psychology majors. The program's overall goal is to provide CWI students with mentorship from faculty at both institutions to build research experience, professionalism, and create opportunities to network with BSU faculty and students to ensure successful transfer to BSU. Through the bridge program, students take part in the entire research process by generating hypotheses and methods to analyzing and disseminating data. This process reinforces the skills students are learning in their classes at CWI and makes students competitive to secure research assistantships at BSU and prepare for graduate school. "We believe this collaborative research project will strengthen our partnership with BSU and support our students' transfer process," said Schoenherr.

The collaborative research bridge has two main emphases. The first emphasis examines the transfer process to BSU to make recommendations to optimize the transfer process for students. The second emphasis studies the relationship between mental health and social media. The current cohort of students is examining the perceived social support from social media and its implications on mental health to better understand the steady rise in mental health issues among college students. The pandemic has increased social media usage, furthering the need to explore social support and isolation facilitated through social media networking sites. 

Timothy Buckles, one of the program students, had this to say, "The experience working with Professor Schoenherr and Dr. Pritchard has been unequivocally the most beneficial experience for me in my transfer to BSU. Working on the transfer research project helped lay the groundwork for a smooth transfer and making useful connections at BSU. Even after the transfer process, the connection with Professor Schoenherr and Dr. Pritchard have allowed for an amazing mentoring experience." According to Meira Vaid, CWI graduate and BSU student, "The research bridge has helped me gain research experience, made the transfer process smoother, and made me competitive for additional opportunities. Dr. Pritchard and Heather are experienced, thoughtful, and caring mentors who want what is best for their student mentees. I'm incredibly grateful to have participated in this program and think it is an asset to both institutions."

If you plan to transfer to BSU majoring in Psychology and are interested in participating in this program, please reach out to Heather (heatherschoenherr@cwi.edu) for more information.