Students Encouraged To Take Online Survey About Science Anxieties

When you think about science, what comes to mind? Is it excitement and intrigue or panic and disdain? Two UVa-Wise professors are hoping to learn more about how you feel.

UVa-Wise psychology professors Alex Reynolds and Madelynn Shell are conducting a survey to gauge students’ attitudes and anxieties towards science. This survey will be used as the starting point in the creation of a support group on campus for women in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – fields.

Though the group will be STEM focused it will also be open to all students on campus regardless of major or gender. Reynolds said, “Our fields may be different but we all kind of face the same issues.”

Participants are needed of all major types and genders in order for Shell and Reynolds to compare attitudes and anxieties towards science between STEM and non-STEM fields. This will allow them to tailor the support group to the needs and feelings of the students. Once the survey closes, Dr. Shell and Dr. Reynolds will begin to organize and analyze the data. Dr. Reynolds will then be presenting their findings at the Network Gender and STEM conference in England during the summer.

STEM groups at other universities are focused primarily on graduate students; therefore UVa-Wise students are being presented with a unique opportunity to participate in the survey as well as the group. For now the group is called “Women in Research”. That may change as Dr. Shell and Dr. Reynolds work to find a name that truly reflects the purpose and all-inclusive nature of the support group.

Shell and Reynolds plan to have the group begin in the fall and will be sending out more information after spring break. They will begin by contacting those who provided their contact information in the survey expressing interest in joining the support group. Meetings in the fall will feature a wide variety of topics that can apply to all majors and the difficulties women can face in STEM fields

Anyone taking the survey should contact their professor beforehand to see if extra credit is being offered for completion. There is a section on the survey that must be filled out in order to receive the extra credit. Currently-enrolled UVa-Wise students are encouraged to take the survey before midnight Feb. 26 at

Mychaela Richardson

Mychaela Richardson served as a staff writer for the 2012-2013 academic year.

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