Grad student interest in mental health evident at first panel discussion


The MechSE DEI Committee, including Profs. Elif Ertekin and Varda Hagh, helped lead an inaugural panel discussion centered around the mental health challenges faced by engineering graduate students.

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Panel moderators sitting in chairs in front of an audience.
Panelists Ertekin, Garimella, Ghaddar, George and Hagh. 

MechSE’s Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, along with the Graduate MechSE Students (GraMS) organization, sponsored a successful inaugural event focused on mental health challenges among graduate students in engineering.

Held earlier this month, the panel discussion featured MechSE professors Elif Ertekin and Varda Hagh, MechSE grad students Vivek Garimella and Dalia Ghaddar, and Grainger College of Engineering counselor Dr. Juvenal George.

Elif Ertekin stands and speaks to the audience with panelists behind her.Studies indicate that a significant portion of graduate students experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, isolation or burnout at some point during their graduate careers. Mental health challenges can also be magnified for international students and groups who are already marginalized in STEM – LGBTQ+, Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, women, non-binary, first-generation, and students with disabilities.

The event was well attended with excellent interaction and dialogue between panelists and attendees. Discussion topics at the event included managing anxiety and depression, work-life balance, time management, and imposter syndrome.

The DEI Committee and GraMS hope to collaborate to host additional workshops or discussion panels centered on mental health, self-compassion and other wellness topics.

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This story was published February 22, 2024.