U-M Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) researcher and incoming Engineering Education Research PhD student, Sarah Jane Bork, and U-M IOE assistant professor, Joi Mondisa, have won the 2019 American Society for Education Engineering (ASEE) Graduate Studies Division Best Paper Student Award.
The award is given annually at the national ASEE conference to recognize an excellent paper in the area of graduate engineering education in which the primary author is a student. Bork’s winning paper focuses on how the social aspects of graduate school for students who study either engineering, science or mathematics could mitigate depression and suicidal ideation.
The paper utilized data from the Healthy Minds Network, an annual web-based survey study centered on undergraduate and graduate student mental health and related issues.
In her study, Bork found that social self-efficacy, or a student’s confidence in using his or her social skills to make meaningful connections and friendships, has a stronger relation to improving mental health problems in comparison to a sense of belonging or self-sufficiency.
“I am sincerely invested in exploring the mental health of engineering graduate students, and it feels amazing to have my work recognized with this award,” Bork said. “The hope is that graduate students, faculty, and staff can use these results to influence individual and programmatic changes to improve the overall graduate student experience.”
Bork is currently a U-M IOE research staffer and incoming Engineering Education PhD student. Beginning this Fall, she will continue her work surrounding the mental health of engineering graduate students under the guidance of Mondisa.