How have people coped with COVID-19 and related restrictions? Two Trent students – Claudia Koziol and Deon Bickram – are working alongside Psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair to learn more.
Through the COVID-19 Interpersonal & Social Coping Study, led by Professor Blair, the students are examining extensive data detailing how respondents have coped with pandemic restrictions on a day-to-day basis.
Both Ms. Koziol and Mr. Bickram became involved with the study through the Trent Summer Work Experience Program.
Research experience at the undergraduate level
Being able to participate in research at the undergraduate level is an opportunity that is unique to Trent – an experience that both Ms. Koziol and Mr. Bickram found to be an invaluable addition to their studies.
“I was looking for a job last summer but a lot of jobs weren’t available because of the pandemic,” recalls Ms. Koziol, a fourth-year Forensic Science and Psychology student. “I had never done any research before, so I was like ‘Maybe I’ll give it a shot.’ I’ve really enjoyed it. The lab environment is super welcoming. That made me want to stay on longer. I’m still working with the lab as a research assistant for credit.”
At the heart of the study are daily diaries kept by study participants that detail their pandemic experience through a number of lenses. Both Ms. Koziol and Mr. Bickram’s work involved compiling, quantifying and coding the resulting data for reports.
Among their key findings? While the pandemic has heightened a sense of social disconnect for many Canadians, this has been even more prevalent among LGBTQ+ youth.
“One of the biggest things I learned while going through the data is it’s important to understand that everybody experiences the pandemic differently…everybody has their own experiences, their own struggles,” says Ms. Koziol.
Set up for success
Both Ms. Koziol and Mr. Bickram believe that Trent’s emphasis on providing students with hands-on experience prepared them well for their roles with the study.
“This is the first time I had the opportunity to work with a research lab and go through the processes of completing a study, from collecting data to the point of publication,” says Mr. Bickram, a second-year Biology student who also completed his Bachelor of Nursing at Trent in 2018. “Working in a real world setting, being able to collaborate not only on the critical side but also on the research side, has been a great opportunity.”
They also share a great respect for Prof. Blair, with Ms. Koziol noting, “I’m so confident now in my research abilities and feel I can go on to graduate school. I’ve actually applied because of her. I’ve learned how to push myself to get the work done. I want to do research that makes the impact that Dr. Blair is making; research that contributes something meaningful to society.”
Learn more about research opportunities for students at Trent. Applications for Biology, Forensic Science and Psychology are still open for fall 2021.