Emporia State’s sociological society, Alpha Kappa Delta is sending two partnerships to the Midwest Sociological conference in Chicago this April.
“Last semester, for senior capstone, I wanted to do research on suicide rates in colleges in the U.S. and so I always volunteered at the suicide prevention walks for the last three years,” said Kira Ford, senior sociology major. “Mental health is a really big subject, and people think of it as taboo, and suicide prevention is actually big on campus. I wanted to see what the rates would be like on ESU’s campus.”
Abigaile Weiser, senior sociology major, and Cherie Crisp, senior crime and delinquency studies major, are one pair. Ford will be joined by Ana Bailon, senior crime and delinquency studies and political science major.
“We’re in Alpha Kappa Delta, so we found out through our honor society that we have this annual meeting,” Bailon said. “It’s more for the experience. Conducting research here and presenting here, like research and creativity is really cool, but this will look better for us.”
Ford and Bailon picked the topic suicide and will be conducting their research through the use of surveys given to ESU students.
“Since it is a little bit of a touchy subject, that’s what we are trying to gather, more of suicide and mental health questions and answers. We will have a consent form,” Ford said, “(We want to) see what programs are implemented on campus and if they know of any. How they cope with it themselves and if they know how to see the signs of someone else if they are struggling.”
Despite the sensitive topic they have chosen, they have received the support of multiple people along the way to do this project.
“The professor that I was working with last semester and I also had a community partner. They were both all for it,” Ford said. “I want to try to break that stigma that mental health isn’t supposed to be talked about.”
The Midwest Sociological conference is one of the biggest conferences for the Midwest that ESU students can attend with participants going to this conference each year, according to David Westfall, instructor of sociology, anthropology and crime and delinquency studies. They present their findings through a poster that they will show at the conference.