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Panel to discuss resilient learners

Panel to discuss resilient learners


Those who yearn to thrive while pursuing education during life-changing, stressful situations have an opportunity to learn about the importance of resilience and how it is beneficial to all learners.

“Resilience is always important,” said Esa Merson, director of The Learning Center. “It is even more important now, with the added challenges of the pandemic and continued racial injustice.”

Conley Counseling and Wellness Services and the Learning Center are sponsoring a virtual panel discussion, “Resilient Learners: How to Bend Without Breaking,” on Thursday, March 25.

The sandwich seminar, from noon to 1 p.m., continues the university’s Women’s History Month series of events. The presentation is specifically designed for students, but anyone is welcome to participate.

Attendees can join the seminar through Webex.

The panelists are:

  • Raymond Collings, professor in the Psychology Department
  • Jena Curtis, professor in the Health Department
  • Leslie Eaton, professor in the Psychology Department
  • Melanie Jennings, senior counselor in the Counseling Center
  • Esa Merson, organizer and moderator for the panel and director of The Learning Center

Each panelist has an area of expertise — whether it is social-personality psychology, cognitive psychology, counseling, gender, sexuality or health — that will shape their perspectives when they discuss resilience. Ten minutes will be given to each speaker and during this time attendees can use Webex chat to ask questions or respond to what is being said. Participants also are welcome to ask any additional questions at the end.

What attendees learn from the seminar may be applied to many scenarios, such as remote learning. The goal is to provide tools that can be used to build resilience in any area where learning is necessary.

“The topic is important for everyone, but there can be gendered and cultural expectations, and stigma, attached to asking for help and to the way people process adversity,” Merson said.

Resilience is a familiar topic on campus. Helena Baert, associate professor in the Physical Education Department, did a resilience presentation for faculty and staff in August. The Learning Center did a Wellness Wednesday presentation on resilience a few years ago.

“We want to have a conversation about the importance of resilience and give students some tools to process and work through hardships now and into the future,” Merson said.

Students have access to many places on campus where they can receive help to develop their learning skills.

“A lot of people think asking for help is a sign of weakness, but it’s really a sign of strength to use the tools available to us,” said Merson. “We have wonderful resources on campus in The Learning Center, The Counseling Center, Advisement and Transition, the Writing Center and many other offices. And in the administrators, faculty, and staff across campus. The people who work on the Cortland campus truly care about students and want to help.”

A full list of SUNY Cortland’s Women’s History Month events is available online.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Chelsea Grate