MCB holds first-ever Wellness Symposium

breathing exercise
Breathe in, breathe out...
According to Keynote Speaker
Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas,
deep breathing exercises like
the one above activate the
vagus nerve, which promotes
relaxation in the brain.

(Credit: Buzzfeed)

On March 28, the MCB Graduate Network and newly-established MCB Wellness Committee partnered to host the first-ever Wellness Symposium for students, faculty, and staff in the MCB Department. The event, held in honor of MCB PhD alum Cris Alvaro, aimed to focus on the importance of de-stigmatizing discussions of mental health in academia and emphasize mental health as an essential aspect of wellness.

The all-day event began with an eloquent tribute to Cris by Dr. Wendy Ingram, and featured talks from Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas, the Science Director of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, and Dr. Amy Honigman, a UHS Graduate Assembly Counselor & Wellness Specialist. Dr. Simon-Thomas spoke about the science of happiness and the key roles that social connection, support, and belonging play in well-being. She also guided the audience through exercises that promote happiness, resilience, connection, and kindness. Dr. Honigman spoke about the value of self-compassion and reminded the audience to treat oneself as you would treat a good friend or loved one going through a difficult time.

yoga activity
art activity
Wellness Symposium attendees participating
in a group yoga class and art activity.

(Credit: Madeleine Jensen)

The second half of the day was primarily dedicated to group activities centered on the importance of wellness. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in activities like swing dancing, arts and crafts, and nature walks. After lunch, faculty, students, and staff broke into personalized focus groups and training.

After the success of the first-ever Wellness Symposium, the Wellness Committee & Graduate Network hope to ensure that mental health remains a top priority for the MCB Department. Thank you to all who participated and helped end the stigma behind mental health issues in academia.

Important Resources

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Drop-in counseling:

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