Students gain high-impact experiences at conference

May 16, 2023 (Volume 46, Number 17)
Article by Peg West

side by side composite of, at left, Gwenden Dueker, and Jing Chen

At left, Gwenden Dueker, professor of psychology, and Jing Chen, professor of psychology, supported student learning experiences at the Practicing Resilience Conference.

A recent conference for the community focused on creating resilience and building relationships also offered a high-impact learning opportunity for students.

The Practicing Resilience Conference was a joint effort by the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Family Futures and the Psychology Department. The Faculty Teaching and Learning Center also contributed funding, said Gwenden Dueker, who was involved with the conference along with fellow psychology colleague Jing Chen.

Family Future representatives described the focus of the conference as bringing together a broad group of presenters with expertise in mentoring across generations, creating resilience in neighborhoods and building authentic relationships.

Student groups from PSY 380 (Trauma & Resilience across the Lifespan) presented at breakout sessions on topics of violence, substance use and community resilience, Dueker said. More than 140 people from numerous local community organizations attended.

Here are the reflections of three students who participated in the conference. All three are recent graduates.

Cabdulcasiis Ciise, psychology major:
"I thought this was a valuable experience because it gave me the chance to become knowledgeable on a specific topic and have the confidence to present it to an audience who was interested. This was a great experience because it also helped me build connections with people in the community who do the work I, one day, dream of doing."

Jessica Otey, psychology major:
"I would say the event was a great way to get connected with not only my classmates but with the community. Seeing everyone so interested in the topics made the day really fun. This was a great learning experience for me and I would do it all over again!"

Ezri Sutter, psychology and criminal justice major:
"I found this event to be an incredible opportunity to educate the community on how prevalent substance use disorders are in the community and also give different strategies to promote resilience in these groups. I was able to learn so much from being able to present on this topic, but also by hearing from the experience of others who do work with this population every day."

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Across Campus

This article was last edited on May 15, 2023 at 3:1 p.m.

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