Below is an archive of The CSBS Podcast episodes. Our idea to start a podcast grew out of a conversation on how to share our passion for social and behavioral science with our academic and community partners. We will feature our researchers and practitioners, explore what’s happening in our community, and have some fun along the way. We hope you enjoy and share with others! All episodes are available on Podbean.




March 2021–Episode 6

Storytelling Within Communities of Color

Talking about personal stories can be healing, gratifying, uncomfortable and in some cases,  life-changing. In this episode, CSBS Associate Director Cristiana Alvarez and Research Scientist Peter Ondish sit down with Professor of Psychology, Carla Desi-Ann Hunter. As we unravel the truths of her own story, we will discuss racial trauma in black and brown communities, colorblind attitudes, and black lives matter. We’ll also discuss how to facilitate healing by normalizing and validating stories within communities of color.



February 2021–Episode 5

Taking On COVID-19 at Cornell University

In August, thousands of students traveled back to their college campuses amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the nation. Dorms opened, varsity athletics resumed, and greek recruitment continued. These typical student activities, combined with what we know about the typical behaviors of college students, kindled the ideal coronavirus breeding ground. Facing a deadly pathogen and a lot of uncertainty, some colleges confronted large outbreaks, while others successfully kept infection rates down. Cornell University happens to be one of the successful universities in managing the spread of COVID-19.

This episode investigates the story behind Cornell’s success. CSBS Director and Professor of Psychology, Dr. Brent Roberts speaks with Dr. Peter Frazier, who is an associate professor at Cornell University and an expert in COVID-19 data modeling. They discuss Cornell’s “behavioral compact” strategy and behavioral compliance with Cornell’s rigorous health and safety protocols. Dr. Frazier concludes with several recommendations on what universities can do to effectively manage the spread of coronavirus on campus.



December 2020–Episode 4

Mental Health During Times of Crisis

Oftentimes, natural disasters cause not only physical damage but also can become an agent for many secondary mental health adversities–especially within youth populations. In this episode, CSBS team members, Cristina Alvarez and Kaylee Lukacena speak with Dr. Tara Powell, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, on the topic of mental health and youth, especially during times of crisis. They discuss both the virtual pilot studies and the proven methods alike, including the Journey of Hope Intervention program, which focuses on normalizing emotions, coping strategies, peer support, and other protective factors. Dr. Powell addresses how mental health providers are tackling these challenges, and more largely, she shares some tips on coping with mental exhaustion, uncertainty, and staying connected during difficult times



October 2020–Episode 3

The Promising and Perilous Case for Smartphones in Mental Health Services

CSBS Director and Professor of Psychology, Dr. Brent Roberts, talks with Professor of Social Work, Dr. Christopher Larrison, about the role of smartphones in supporting mental health services and community spaces.

Given the many ways smartphones have radically changed our world, our conversation touches upon how individuals living with mental health conditions use smartphones to receive mental health services and resources. For example, smartphones change the ways in which clinicians check in with their patients and impact how patients with similar symptoms develop social support networks. However, like most technological advances, smartphones come with promises as well as problems. For example, patients living with schizophrenia may react adversely to video conferencing services as they can trigger symptoms of paranoia.

Together we discuss what you can expect with big data, privacy, and mental wellness apps going forward. We recognize this topic is a growing concern as the COVID-19 pandemic persists accompanied by a secondary crisis in mental health.


July 2020–Episode 2

Staying Active During a Pandemic

We all know that exercise is generally good for our physical health, but creating healthy exercise habits and sticking to them is easier said than done. How can we pick up and stick with our exercise routines? To provide extra motivation,  in this episode we consider the ways in which exercise can help improve mental health, well-being, and even cognitive function. CSBS Director and Professor of Psychology, Dr. Brent Roberts, talks with two University of Illinois exercise science experts, Assistant Professor Neha Gothe and Associate Professor Sean Mullen, from the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. Together, we discuss how to make our bodies work better for us in the time of COVID-19.

* [13:25] Prof. Sean Mullen mentions poi swinging as an example of exercise. To learn more about this exercise, use the link provided here.



June 2020–Episode 1

Understanding Food Insecurity with Prof. Craig Gundersen

Food insecurity is recognized as a major health crisis in the United States. More than 42 million persons were food insecure in 2015, and many negative health outcomes are attributable to food insecurity. In this episode, CSBS Director and Professor of Psychology, Dr. Brent Roberts, talks with University of Illinois Professor Craig Gundersen on the measurement, causes, and consequences of food insecurity.

We discuss why solving the issue can be challenging, and why programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can be effective. Finally, we discuss how COVID-19 has affected the fight to end food insecurity.