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Practical Tools for Supporting Wellness

This session will begin with a panel discussion about practical tips for promoting wellness, followed by two parallel skill-based workshops, one for STEM faculty and the other for STEM students. 

  • Dr. Joel Wong, will lead a faculty workshop focused on how PIs/mentors can foster student wellness through the use of gratitude and encouragement practices. 

  • Ms. Danielle Williams, will lead a student workshop focused on how STEM students can support their mental health and wellness through self-compassion and mindfulness practices. 

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Dr. Ann McKenna

Ann F. McKenna is Dean of the College of Engineering and Roy J. Carver Professor of Engineering at the University of Iowa. Prior to joining the University of Iowa in 2023, Dr. McKenna was Vice Dean of Strategic Advancement in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU). Prior to joining ASU, she served as a program director at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education and was the director of education improvement in the McCormick school of engineering at Northwestern University. McKenna’s research focuses on entrepreneurial thinking in the context of engineering faculty mentorship and curricular innovations, and inclusivity in higher education engineering structures, culture and policies. In 2019 she was named an American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Fellow for demonstrating outstanding contributions to engineering education. McKenna received her bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from Drexel University and doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. As it relates to mental health and self-care, McKenna is a yoga practitioner, and commits to finding ways to express joy and gratitude on a daily basis

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Dr. Joel Wong

Dr. Joel Wong is a Professor of Counseling Psychology at Indiana University. His current research addresses the science of gratitude interventions and practices. He has published more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals on the psychology of gratitude and encouragement, the psychology of men and masculinities, and Asian American mental health. Dr. Wong is also a fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 17, 45, and 51) and of the Asian American Psychological Association. 

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Ms. Danielle Williams

Danielle completed her B.S. at San Diego State University, subsequently, she completed an NIH PREP post-bac at The University of Washington. Currently she is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Microbiology & Immunology at UNC Chapel Hill. Her thesis works aims to understand the impact of drugs of abuse on NeuroHIV. Over the course of her academic journey, she learned that prioritizing her mental health and self-care is integral to success as a graduate student, but there were few resources for students to learn how. As a result, she authored a self-help mindfulness journal with exercises specifically tailored toward the doctoral student experience. Since, she has worked closely with clinical professionals and STEM education researchers to develop evidence-based mindfulness workshops to support student well-being as they pursue their PhD. In addition, she enjoys powerlifting, taking walks with her dog, Stella, and is involved in many initiatives to recruit and support URMs in STEM.

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