UWEXP Findings

Hands in a circle wearing fitbits.

“This study is powerful because we can observe the impact of discrimination on our students in real time.”

-Jennifer Mankoff, UW Professor of Computer Science & Engineering

Student Mental Health

Microclimates | Diversity | All Publications

Student mental health has been a focus of the UWEXP work because it important to our participants, and an arena for which campus-level support is available. It is also impacted by stressors students face such as discrimination. Our work in this domain includes several published papers, and we have funding from the population health initiative to work with campus mental health providers to translate these findings into action.

Positive Impact of Microclimates

Mental Health | Diversity | All Publications

Students in protective microclimates report less depression and stress in June 2018 than other students (line graph right*).

*Lines indicate % of students reporting students reporting clinical levels of depression and stress

“The positive impact of microclimates will inform institutional change.”

–  Eve Riskin, Associate Dean of Diversity & Access, UW College of Engineering

Lines indicate % students above clinically important cutoffs for depression and stress
A picture of diverse students working on a group project.

Addressing a Diverse Student Body

Mental Health | Microclimates | All Publications

Our analysis of student diversity issues focused on the 2018 sample, which included 209 first-year students in the College of Engineering and across campus (table below).

Our analysis of this currently focuses on the 2018 data

· We oversampled women and underrepresented minority (URM) students to better understand why these students leave engineering at higher rates.

· We also oversampled students in microclimates, including the STARS program for first-generation and low-income students, and students directly admitted to an engineering major.

2018 Participant DemographicsAll (N=209)Engineers (N=91)
Female135  (65%)48     (53%)
Direct Admit43    (21%)33 (36%)
First Gen42    (20%)33 (36%)
URM31    (15%)16 (18%)
STARS16      (8%)16      (8%)
Pie chart showing 48 reports of unfair treatment by engineering students. 48% were from Female URM; 23% male URM; 23% Female non URM and 6% male.

As expected, women and underrepresented minorities (URM) students report more events of unfair treatment than other students (pie chart left).

Our analyses of biometric data help us understand physical effects of stress due to discrimination. We found that students behave differently when they reported high levels of stress. Our preliminary data shows that, on average, students who experience high stress walk about 350 more steps per day and sleep about 15 minutes less per night than those with lower stress.


Mental Health | Microclimates | Diversity