Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Reflections and FAQs on Working with Trans Youth

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Quintin is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Quintin and his fellow scholars here.

01-trans-child-big-ss-225x300When I began the project for the Active Minds Emerging Scholar fellowship, a qualitative examination of the experiences of suicide in trans*-identified youth, I expected to learn a lot about the experience of being trans*. I expected to have some emotional reaction due to the heavy content of suicide and discussions of wanting to die. I did not expect to have such emotional responses because the experiences hit so close to home.

I’ve had a great deal of trouble writing this post that is becoming more and more needed. As I’ve struggled to write this I learned of the passing of Prince. Prince was one of the key influential artists for my adolescence. Like any kid in high school in the 90s, every party included 1999 on its playlist.

Prince, famously known for going by an unpronounceable glyph that had a striking resemblance to the symbols for both male and female genders, for dressing in women’s underwear and raincoats in high school, and for loving anything purple, was an example to me and the rest of the world that there is not one right way to be a man. This pressure to be the right kind of man or right kind of woman is something transyouth commonly identify as a reason for wanting to die.

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Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Cai’s Good News

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Cai is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Cai and his fellow scholars here.

Hi all! I know you’ve been missing my posts, so this is me again, with some good news!

  1. First of all, I decided to join Stanford University in the fall as a first-year PhD student in Psychology! This is a milestone in my life. I am very excited about the next 5 years at Stanford and can’t wait to be spoiled by the unparalleled intellectual environment there, and of course, the good weather in the Bay Area.

  1. I received a competitive Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Grant to support my current project! This would allow me to recruit more participants as I can pay more of them with more money. I guess sometimes materialism can be used for good ;)

  1. I am halfway through data collection! I have already collected data from 80 participants and need 60 more. To be completely honest, it was really exhausting to collect data from so many people, especially when it was an experiment where you needed to take care of even the most trivial detail. But no pains no gains. I am hopeful that I will be able to finish data collection by the end of the semester! Oh, I should probably stop stealing food from participants’ leftovers.

  1. I gave a short-paper presentation at the 4th Eating Disorder International Conference in London, England on March 17th. The presentation was about another project that our lab (CARE Lab) at Dickinson College worked on as a team. This was my first short paper presentation at an international conference. I am very happy that I made it. Many thanks to Dr. Suman Ambwani and other lab mates.

  1. I’m a month away from my graduation from college. This will be a bittersweet moment! But I am super excited about the new chapter in my life and can’t wait to go back home. I miss China! FYI: Authentic Chinese food is a totally different concept from what you guys have here in the US.

Looking back, I do feel that I was lucky enough to have all the wonderful people and opportunities to support my career [shout-out to Active Minds]. As I begin doing new wonderful things in the future, I will always appreciate the generous help I have received from those people and organizations! Having had the personal experience of benefiting so much from others’ help, I am even more committed to helping people around me with my research and academic endeavors!

Emerging Scholars Fellowship: 3 Ways Facebook is Working to Prevent Suicide

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Janelle is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Janelle and her fellow scholars here.

Within the past few years, we have seen a number of people post messages or pictures to their Facebook page within hours of ending their life.  Since then, Facebook has been proactive in taking steps towards preventing suicide by providing information to persons currently experiencing suicidal ideation, and alerting others to potential warning signs and tips for helping someone who might be suicidal. Check out some of Facebook’s specific steps below.

1. Both users who might be suicidal and those who are concerned about them can get help. Facebook implemented its first plans to prevent suicide in 2011, but efforts were both expanded and updated in February 2015 when Facebook joined forces with various mental health organizations (i.e. Now Matters Now, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, etc.) by creating more user-friendly resources.

Users now have the option to flag content on their timeline as problematic, and from there are prompted to select from a list of options including getting help professional or having Facebook review the post and contact the person of concern directly. You can read more about the specific updates here.

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Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Tips For Presenting Your Research

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Corey is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Corey and her fellow scholars here.

From March 3-5th I had the privilege of presenting my research at the Eastern Psychological Association’s conference in New York City. After sitting in on countless talks and walking past hundreds of posters I wanted to share some tips for you when you present your own research!

If you’re presenting a poster:

1. Use color! It amazes me how simple this idea is; yet how quickly people forget about it. Colors catch the eye of passers-by and can make someone stop to look at your poster which IS WHAT YOU WANT! Use inviting, complimentary colors instead of colors that clash.

2. Avoid long blocks of text. Bullet points are your best friend and full sentences are your worst enemy. Shorten wherever you can to make your poster easier to read.

3. DO NOT laminate your poster. It makes it difficult to read, especially when walking past.

4. SMILE! Even when you’re awkwardly waiting for someone to come up to you, look enthusiastic about your project and others will reciprocate.

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Emerging Scholars Fellowship: The Journey Thus Far

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Alfred is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Alfred and his fellow scholars here.

Today, I am going to show you a sneak peak of my journey up to this point. And let me just say that it has been filled with many highs and lows. (Note: This piece is more personal than academic.)

The following is a compilation of my emotional states and reactions since the start of research process.

  1. Getting into the Education Honors Program (& realizing that a thesis will be written!!). #WHAT

  1. Summer (trying to focus on developing a research project while doing a summer internship and getting nowhere with it). #ShakingMyHead

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The Fantastic Four: Meet Matt Kridel’s Mentors

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Matt is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Matt and his fellow scholars here.

That’s right, I have not one, not two, but THREE mentors, and all of them bring unique experiences and knowledge to my project. Let me introduce you to them!

matt mentor 1Dr. Daniel Eisenberg is the first of my national mentors. An associate professor at the University of Michigan, he is also the creator of The Healthy Minds Network, where my data is coming from. Dr. Eisenberg is also one of the leading researchers in college student mental health, and frequently cited in the introduction for my project. He’s also previously been a mentor for the Emerging Scholars Program before, and I feel very lucky to have him assisting me!

matt mentor 2Sarah Lipson is my second national mentor, and also a student of Dr. Eisenberg! She is completing her PhD in both public health and education at the University of Michigan and helps to run the Healthy Minds Network. I first got to meet Sarah when she was a presenter at the 2015 Active Minds National Conference and we had wonderful discussions about research and grad school. Not only has Sarah served as a mentor for the Emerging Scholars Program, but she’s an alumna of the 2012 cohort!

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Suicide and Families: What Should We Talk About?

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Quintin is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Quintin and his fellow scholars here.

Sometimes it’s hard to explain to people what I do for school/work. I work with a lot of depressed folk and talk about suicide. I’m also studying the suicide experiences of trans-youth. It doesn’t make for great topics for parties. Usually people nod and don’t say much; then they slowly drift away. Despite the poor fit for party topics, I still talk about it—because it’s important to me; almost invariably I have one tear-filled bonding experience with someone who’s been depressed and desperate for someone to talk to.

Dr. Brene Brown, talks about the power of this connection in her TEDTalk, The Power of Vulnerability. She says, “The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.” After spending hours upon hours listening to trans youth talk about their experiences with depression and suicidality, that quote sticks in my head. These kids are not deviants—they are people desperate to survive. They are desperate to hear someone accept them and struggle with them.

brene brown quote

 

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Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Meet Cai Guo’s Mentors

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Cai is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Cai and his fellow scholars here.

Hello again! I’m a few days late, but Happy International Women’s Day!

In honor and celebration of this day, I would like to introduce my two mentors, Dr. Suman Ambwani and Dr. Rebecca Pearl, who have made great contributions to mental health issues that are particularly prevalent among women. Specifically, both of them are experts in the field of weight- and eating-related mental health.

cai advisorDr. Suman Ambwani is my On-Campus Advisor. She is now Associate Professor of Psychology at Dickinson College. She received her B.A. at Macalester College and her PhD from Texas A&M University. Dr. Suman Ambwani is particularly interested in eating disorder and how personality, interpersonal interactions, and social cognition are related to eating disorder. More recently, Dr. Ambwani has also become interested in weight stigma and the means by which we transmit the stigma.

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Examining the Links Between Suicide and Social Media among Young Black Men

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Janelle is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Janelle and her fellow scholars here.

*Trigger warning: This post discusses suicide and contains content that may be triggering to some people.*

Last month, we lost another young black man to suicide. His name is MarShawn McCarrel and he was a 23-year-old leader within the Black Lives Matter Movement. I did not know MarShawn, but his story touched me – not only because the world lost a promising and faithful leader, but also because MarShawn posted a concerning message to his Facebook page shortly before ending his life:

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Meet My Mentor: Dr. Megan Moreno, MD, MPH, MSEd

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Corey is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Corey and her fellow scholars here.

Dr. MorenoI’ve been lucky enough to be paired with Dr. Megan
Moreno, MD, MPH, MSEd, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Moreno focuses on adolescents and technology use, and her most recent study focuses on self-harm on Instagram.

Originally Dr. Moreno was a pediatrician, where she saw a rise of social media use among her adolescent patients.  With that prevalence of social media use among teens, Dr. Moreno saw many of her patients dealing with cyberbullying, which is why she decided to work so closely with cyberbullying research.  I’m lucky to have someone who is so knowledgeable about cyberbullying to help me whenever I need her! Continue Reading