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Spotlighting STEM Faculty Supporting Students' Mental Health

Faculty panelists will share research findings and/or their own best practices for supporting the mental health of their students (graduate and/or undergraduates).  


Dr. Erica L. Sanchez

Dr Erica L Sanchez is originally from Northern California. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology at The University of California Davis, where she joined her first lab at the UCDavis genome center in her sophomore year. Dr. Sanchez moved to Washington DC to participate in the NIH postbacc program for 1 year while she applied to graduate school before deciding to attend the University of Washington, Seattle for her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology. As a graduate student, Dr. Sanchez was trained in the Lagunoff lab, where she explored alterations in host cell metabolism during infection with Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus, an oncogenic virus. Upon completing her PhD, Dr. Sanchez moved back to California, but this time to San Francisco, to conduct postdoctoral research as an IRACDA fellow. During her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Sanchez took on the opportunity to co-teach Cell Biology at nearby San Francisco State. That same year, SFSU announced they were conducting a faculty search for a Virologist. Dr. Sanchez jumped at the opportunity and excitingly was offered the position to start her own independent laboratory and teach virology and microbiology. Starting her lab in January 2020, Dr Sanchez built a team of talented masters and undergraduate researchers, weathered the pandemic shutdown together, and ultimately supported 6 MS students complete their degree in her first three years. Due to personal and professional reasons, Dr Sanchez took the opportunity to re-locate the lab to the University of Texas at Dallas in Jan 2023. The lab team has expanded and now includes 4 PhD students. The lab is currently studying alterations in host cell biology during lytic replication of KSHV, exploring metabolism, innate immune response, and protein-protein interactions. In Dallas, Dr. Sanchez lives with her husband, Dr. Michael Burton, a PI in the Neuroscience department at UTDallas, and her two cats Roz and Tess

Mallory Rice.webp

Dr. Mallory Rice

Dr. Mallory Rice (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences at California State University San Marcos in San Diego, CA. She runs a biology education research program that investigates students' experiences and perspectives in college science classrooms with the goal to make science more inclusive for all students. She also leads professional development workshops for STEM faculty focused on evidence-based teaching practices and facilitates mental health workshops at national and regional conferences to make these conversations commonplace in STEM.


Dr. Sarah Wilson

Dr. Sarah Wilson is an Assistant Professor in Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky. She is the director of the Wilson Research Group, where she works to understand and improve mental health in engineering. In this way, she defines mental health as not just the absence of mental illness but a mental state in which engineers can effectively cope with stress, realize their potential, and contribute to society. She is particularly interested in developing and implementing interventions to improve mental health related help seeking in undergraduate engineering students. Sarah graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rowan University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. Her experience as a teaching faculty member led her to the development of her research in student mental health, resulting in her transition from teaching faculty to assistant professor with research in engineering education. She has also co-developed and implemented a workshop on supporting undergraduate student mental health with Dr. Karin Jensen (University of Michigan), which has been offered to engineering faculty nationally.


Dr. Nathan Johnson

Dr. Nathan Johnson leads numerous efforts at Arizona State University to accelerate the advancement of sustainable development goals through innovation in stakeholder value propositions, technology, business models, and policy. In this, Dr. Johnson builds public-private partnerships in the US and internationally to develop energy decarbonization solutions leading to pilot demonstration and scale. This work co-creates benefit to all stakeholders through value propositions that increase energy access, energy security, and economic development. The same mindset is applied to industries including food and beverage, consumer products, and fast moving consumer goods for reductions in water and waste as part of a broader vision for increasing resource circularity. Dr. Johnson directs a team of 70 people at ASU, and mentors early and mid-career professionals to amplify the enjoyment and impact of their careers. He has led or co-directed over $80M in awards and published over 60 papers. Before joining ASU, Dr. Johnson completed product development and business development across 15 countries benefiting 2+ million people worldwide. His globally focused work continues in the Asia-Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, and Latin America. Outside of the office, Dr. Johnson enjoys competing in endurance running and regularly tours the countryside by bicycle with his family of five.

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