Maithily Diaz, of West New York, New Jersey, was recently selected as one of two recipients of the 2021 Undergraduate Research Award from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 22BC University of Maryland-University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UM-UMBC).
Each spring, the chapter's awards committee selects two applicants to receive $500 each for this prestigious honor on the recommendation of the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD) Committee.
Maithily was selected by the awards committee for her innovative research abstract and strong letter of support from her mentor, Michelle Kauffman.
Adolescents and young adults are prone to various types of mental distress, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health stigma prevents some adolescents from seeking treatments needed to cope with distress, particularly Latinx youth. However, there has been little research on how these youth discuss mental illness, what stigma-reduction messages resonate most, and the role of social media in these interactions. This study’s objective is to explore social media content posted by Latinx youth to determine 1) attitudes towards and stigma surrounding mental health and treatment, 2) messages they promote in regarding mental health, 3) and whether these aspects differ for posts in English or Spanish only and for bilingual users. Using natural language processing, we will collect publicly available social media content using relevant mental health-related keywords. We will filter the large data set to include topic models of relevance and language. With the filtered data, we will conduct a content analysis to identify themes in the posts by language. This project is highly innovative, as it brings an interdisciplinary approach to an important public health issue. We will use the study results to identify potential social media intervention approaches to improve mental health outcomes for Latinx youth.
More About Phi Kappa Phi
Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. The Society's mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others." Since its founding, more than 1.5 million members have been initiated. Some of the organization's more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, novelist John Grisham and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. Each year, Phi Kappa Phi awards nearly $1 million to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, member and chapter awards, and grants for local and national literacy initiatives. For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.
More About Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 22BC
Chartered in 2010, Chapter 22BC invites the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors for membership in Phi Kappa Phi. Graduate students in the top 10 percent of the number of candidates for graduate degrees may also qualify, as do faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.