Faculty Perspectives: Gabriela Nagy

Gabriela Nagy.

Gabriela Nagy, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing

Bass Connection Project Teams: U.S. Immigration Climate and Mental Health Outcomes of Latinx Immigrants; Expanding Latinx Representation in Health and STEM Careers; Coping with COVID-19

Gabriela Nagy has been a Bass Connections team leader since 2019. Her 2020-2021 projects focus on the impact of the current U.S. immigration climate on the mental health outcomes of Latinx immigrants, strengthening the pipeline for Latinx students to pursue healthcare-related careers, and on strengthening relationships in low-resource families. She shared advice for other faculty at a Spring 2021 Bass Connections orientation for team leaders.

Planning and Communicating Team Structure

“Communicate course expectations and deadlines at the beginning,” said Nagy. “Students want to have course expectations and deadlines clearly laid out, especially for grading.” This means outlining what work will constitute an A, A-, etc. and providing feedback to students who are not making adequate progress. Nagy noted that by implementing structures to give students feedback across the length of the project, she made things more transparent.

SALUD scholars tour Duke University School of Medicine.
2019-2020 SALUD scholars tour Duke University School of Medicine.

Along with her co-faculty lead on one of her teams (Tony Fuller), Nagy created an online syllabus that outlines expectations and provides information about project, team members, roles and responsibilities. She found it helpful for students to find information about the team in a central location. She also used Box and Google Drive to share documents and other study related materials, so that everyone on the team had access to the documents.

COVID-19 Family Study.Nagy also mentioned the importance of being flexible with timelines and changes in the project. “The COVID-19 pandemic completely changed what we could do,” Nagy said. “We still retained our teams and moved the work forward, but it looked differently.”

She advised other team leaders to develop and communicate the team structure, specifying who is in charge of what and who students should go to for specific questions. “Sometimes undergraduates are more comfortable reaching out to graduate students first,” Nagy said. Her team adopted a “nested mentorship” model, where graduate students became intermediate leaders. This alleviates pressure on faculty and gives leadership opportunities to graduate students.

Building Community in Your Team and Beyond

Just as important as conducting research is working toward building community within your team. “Food always helps!” said Nagy. She found that students wanted to have more social events and get to know each other. Her teams have organized events outside of a work setting to meet, such as getting ice cream at Pincho Loco or having a Zoom social hour.

SALUD scholars participate in a bonding activity at El Futuro.
2019-2020 SALUD scholars participate in a bonding activity at El Futuro.

In addition to building relationships among students, Bass Connections is also a great opportunity for mentorship. “For many students, it is the first time they have received this type of mentorship,” said Nagy. “Know that you are shaping part of their college career. They will rely on you for mentorship in a range of areas. Be prepared to write some letters of reference as well!”

The opportunity for connections doesn’t stop at your team. Nagy noted the importance of taking the time to connect with other faculty leads in applicable Bass Connections themes. “It has been so nice to be part of an interdisciplinary group who shares similar passions,” she said.

SALUD scholars spent time learning about the heart and brain through hands-on activities.
2019-2020 SALUD scholars spent time learning about the heart and brain through hands-on activities.

See other faculty perspectives and learn how you can get involved in Bass Connections.