The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science


Sweet Connections

Sweet Connections: Students Share Study Break, De-stressing Tips

On Wednesday, Nov. 10, nearly 300 students visited the second floor study area in ECSW for refreshments hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Advising. Dr. Stephanie G. Adams, dean of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair, attended the event where she introduced Dr. Amy Walker, associate dean for undergraduate education, and Dr. Laura Gelles, a postdoctoral research associate who is conducting a student climate study related to undergraduate student retention. The students who were preparing for finals were introduced to more resources available at The University of Texas of Dallas and stress reduction tips. The event supported LAUNCH, a school wide call to empathy and improvement of the student experience.

Get them while they’re hot! Word spread quickly that treats were available, so students dug in as soon as the event began and enjoyed a much-needed sweet fix. Engineering and Computer Science West is known as a popular study spot for students across campus.

Students grabbed hot chocolate, then stayed to learn about stress reduction.

“Do you know who I am?” Dean Stephanie G. Adams, who had just attended an economic development event where she represented the Jonsson School, took a break to meet with students.

Dean Stephanie G. Adams informed students that several people on her leadership team are their first points of contact if they have needs or questions. Dr. Amy Walker, associate dean for undergraduate education, as well as Dr. Laura Gelles, a postdoctoral research associate who is studying student retention in the Jonsson School, are working to understand and improve the student experience through a student climate study.

Dr. Amy Walker encouraged students to complete the survey, as well as to participate in some of the stress reduction activities. “If we don’t know your challenges, how can we make it better?” Walker said. “The event is not just about studying, but about trying to manage stress more effectively,”

Juniors Aliya Arni and Esha Harish from the Student Success Center informed students about campus resources and distributed guides and stress-reducing coloring sheets. The Student Success Center provides several programs for students including academic coaching and peer-led tutoring.

The sensory experience of drinking hot chocolate provided students another opportunity to de-stress.

(Left to right): Doha Mahmoud, Deepa Vasudevan, Gabriela Castaneda and Sitara Hariharan attended the event before studying for a chemistry class.

Sarah Yakum, computer science sophomore, picked up coloring materials from the Student Success Center. Yakum said she also enjoys listening to music for stress relief.

Willie Chalmers III, computer science junior, recognized Dean Adams from his role as a student government representative. He said he prefers venting to friends in order to decompress.

Students Kristy Yin (left) and Kalani Thorpe (front right) visited a “Take What You Need” board. Undergraduate academic advisors provided affirmations on sticky notes including “You are loved,” “You are smart,” “Stay positive,” and “You can do this!”

(Left to Right) Event organizers from the Office of Undergraduate Advising included Dr. Laura Gelles, Alexandria Anderson, Nasreen Hasan, Monica Borowicz and Shae Mann.