The Department of Sociology is proud to announce that Isi Patterson received the Himes Outstanding Undergraduate Student Paper Award for 2021 from the North Carolina Sociological Association. The title of Isi's paper is "Resident Assistant Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Administration Impacts Resident Assistant Wellbeing." With the assistance of Dr. David Russell, Isi researched how the COVID-19 pandemic has recently impacted college resident assistants. Below is an abstract of the award-winning paper:
RAs (Resident Assistants) are the main liaison between students and the larger University system they enter, often serving as a point of reference for resources to support students. RAs are also burdened by a large amount of responsibility, performing several roles including student, teacher, role model, police/policy enforcer, peer, friend, first responder, and more. With all these burdens, the study sought to examine how RAs are impacted while working under a pandemic that adds additional safety policies and significant changes to interpersonal interactions with students. Data was obtained through interviews with four returner RAs who worked both before and during the pandemic. The data was analyzed through narrative analysis by coding themes and sub themes within topic matter and narrative structure. The significant finding was that a lack of administrative support and workload increases were the main issues for RAs. RAs felt unsafe in the work environment and stuck in the job due to economic and housing constraints, as well as undervalued for doing additional work for no increase in pay. Findings open up a discussion around worker's involvement in collaborating to decide appropriate job tasks and subsequent pay with administrators. Future research should increase the scope of the research to more Universities to compare with Appalachian State University.
Keywords: resident assistant, university housing, covid-19 pandemic
Congratulations to Isi for her recent accomplishment!