Lee University junior Viktoriya Marushka presented her research, “Effect of COVID-19 on the Mental Health of College Students,” at the Tennessee Academy of Science Fall Conference held on Nov. 6 at Tennessee Tech University. Ms. Marushka’s poster presentation won first place in the Health and Medical Sciences section.
“The conference put into perspective the amount of impressive student research being done, and I am very honored to have been able to place in my category,” said Ms. Marushka. “Being the only student from Lee there and presenting alongside graduate students was an intimidating experience, but I strove to represent myself and the university well.”
Ms. Marushka’s research looked at Lee students’ mental health status over the 2020-21 academic year. According to Ms. Marushka, her results showed that about half of the students surveyed felt their academic motivation was affected by the pandemic, and almost half scored in the moderate to severe range of depression, with a weak correlation to the number of hours slept or the inclusion of physical activity daily.
“It really was case-by-case,” said Ms. Marushka. “Typically, the more students talked about ways they did look after their mental health, the more positive their responses were to other survey questions.”
Overall, Ms. Marushka’s research showed that most of the students felt encouraged through the year because they were able to still be in person for classes and surrounded by community of friends and family despite the quarantine restrictions.
“We believe looking at these outcomes can provide small universities a better understanding of student experiences during COVID-19 to proactively meet the needs of students moving forward,” said Ms. Marushka.
Originally from Ukraine, Ms. Marushka is a health science major with a psychology minor. She is a part of Lee’s McNair Scholars Program, which is designed to provide first-generation and underrepresented minority students with academic, financial, cultural, and social support while preparing for graduate school.
“Viktoriya is a gifted student who portrays excellence in all she does,” said Dr. Pamela Hobbs, assistant professor in health science at Lee. “She is a top performer in her classes showing incredible promise as a scholar and a future professional. She did a superb job presenting her research poster at the Tennessee Academy of Science, and I am proud of her and what she has accomplished.”
Ms. Marushka’s research paper is published in Lee University's 2021 McNair Academic Journal. For more information about the McNair Scholars Program or to view Ms. Marushka’s research paper, visit https://www.leeuniversity.edu/mcnair/.
For more information about the Tennessee Academy of Science, visit https://www.tennacadofsci.org/.