Assistant Professor, Department of Health Science
The effects of bullying are devastating for any child, but consider the consequences for children with disabilities. “They are two to three times more likely to be bullied than many of their peers,” says Caroline I. McNicholas, who is conducting one of the first studies on this population to identify bullying patterns and potential coping mechanisms.
McNicholas will be partnering with TU undergraduate students to assist her in collecting and entering data on middle school students and their recollections about bullying. “My undergraduate research experience was a defining moment for me,” she recalls. “I want to encourage Towson students to get the research experience and related skills that will prove so valuable in their job searches.”
Through her work, McNicholas will be exploring factors related to resilience and what educators can do to help students cope with adversity such as bullying. “We may not be able to change the risk factors,” she says, “but we can change coping factors and help these kids build friendships and social skills and learn to advocate for themselves.”
Since joining Towson University in 2015, McNicholas has been increasingly impressed by the friendliness and positive attitude of the campus community. “TU has the feel of a much smaller university, yet it is big enough to provide all of the resources you need to be successful in the classroom and in research.”
One of her first outreach activities on campus was to become a committee member for Towson University’s Disabilities Awareness Week. “I am interested in all types of mental health awareness activities that highlight what you can to do impact mental health,” she notes.