Meet the Researcher - Janice Snow

Breakout Room: 24

JaniceSnowResearcher Name: Janice Snow
Title of Research: COVID-19 Impacts Undergraduates Mental Health: Students Returning Home Across State Lines Lose Access to Mental Healthcare
Division Representing: Psychology
Institution: Utah State University
Institution Location: Utah
Home State: Utah
District Number: 1
Advisor/Mentor: Crissa Levin, Jennifer Grewe, Alexa Sand
Funding Source: N/A

Research Experience:  
Janice Snow is graduating summa cum laude from Utah State University with a B.S. in psychology with a research scholar transcript designation. She has been nominated for USU Psychology Department Undergraduate Researcher of the Year and is in the running for department and university-wide recognition. Janice has been working in an undergraduate research lab with Dr. Crissa Levin and Dr. Jennifer Grewe for two years. She has been the primary student investigator on four studies. She applied for and was awarded a competitive USU URCO research grant for her study on myths and misconceptions in psychology. Education inequity is her primary research interest, specifically, distance education, inclusion, and equity. In 2019, Janice was awarded USU Psychology Department Outstanding Statewide Student. Janice has been a research assistant for Utah ACT research group for two semesters. She is responsible for organizing and maintaining outgoing and incoming participant communication and relaying any problems to principal investigators to achieve a successful research study. She is currently working as a lab manager for USU's factotum lab where she mentors other undergraduates by creating instructional content and reviewing their work to teach students how to conduct research successfully and increase their research skills. Janice enjoys volunteering and human service. She has been a volunteer crisis counselor for Crisis text line for two years. She has also interned in a boys group home and as a facilitator for an addiction recovery program. Janice plans to pursue a master's degree in social work and eventually a Ph.D. 

Presentation Experience: 
Janice Snow was accepted to present posters at the 2020 Rocky Mountain Psychological Association convention and the 2020 Society for the Teaching of Psychology conference on teaching for her work on psychological misconceptions, which were both canceled due to Covid-19. She received three travel awards including one from the Council on Undergraduate Research. At USU's 2020 Student Research Symposium Janice presented an oral presentation as part of a group on her work on myths and misconceptions in psychology. She presented a theory poster on distance education inequity for the 39th annual Mid-American Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference. At USU's 2020 Fall Research Symposium she presented two oral presentations. One a combination of two related research surveys on COVID-19 on undergraduate's mental health and academic outcomes. The other on a comparative study of distance and traditional undergraduates' resources, goals, and demographics. She will be presenting an oral presentation at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research in February 2021 on daily patterns of psychological inflexibility. In February she will also be presenting to Utah legislators at the Research on Capitol Hill conference for her research on COVID-19's impact on mental health and academic outcomes in undergraduate students.  

Significance of Research:       
In the spring 2020 semester, colleges and universities throughout the nation made sudden, unpreceded shifts to online instruction due to SARS-CoV-2. With the shutdown of campuses, students moved back home with some living out of state from their institution. Additional stressors during the pandemic included health concerns for self and family members, childcare responsibilities increasing for individuals with families, financial instability, and finding accommodations for persons with disabilities. We conducted a national survey of undergraduate students during the end of the spring 2020 semester. Students nationally (n=197) were asked about mental health and academic outcomes between early and late spring semester. Higher depression, anxiety, and academic distress scores predicted decreased grades during the spring semester. Undergraduate mental health prior to the pandemic was already at crisis levels with 42% of college students reporting feeling so depressed it was difficult to function and 63% reporting overwhelming anxiety (Duffy et al., 2019). Current licensing and policy regulations prevent most counselors from providing counseling to out of state students even when providing counseling online. Traditional schools still charge all students a fee for these counseling services through their tuition fees whether they can legally access them or not. This provides a lens into a broken system that will continue long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. Many college students live out of state and therapists need to have the ability to work with these students in order to ease the mental health crisis among college students. 

Uniqueness of Research: 
This research on Covid-19 has allowed us to view an on-going issue within the undergraduate student population and allows us to target awareness and outreach to students among the most vulnerable to these issues. Mental health and academic success are important to students and ensuring that they get needed help is essential to pandemic and post-pandemic life.