The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Crisis and Meaning: Intersections of Humanities and Mental Health

About the Symposium

Friday, April 5, 2024 in Hoboken, NJ

The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology is hosting a one-day symposium, "Crisis and Meaning: Intersections of Humanities and Mental Health," focusing on the ways in which humanities and mental health discourses inflect one another.

Part of the Campus Point Connection series, the symposium welcomes scholars, students and the general public. The day's panels will offer key insights into the power of the humanities, arts and social sciences to help us make sense of the human experience, the human mind, and our turbulent times.

The symposium will be held on Friday, April 5, 2024 on Steven Institute of Technology's campus (Martha Bayard Stevens Rm. 104).


Location: Martha Bayard Stevens Rm. 104, Stevens Campus


Panel Theme and Presentations

9:05 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

Kelland Thomas, Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

9:15 - 10:30 a.m.


Lindsey Swindall, Stevens Institute of Technology. "Teaching Happiness During the Pandemic."

Breanna K. Guinta, Monmouth University. “Traumatized Correspondent: Nathaniel Parker Willis’s Use of Writing Therapy during the 1832 Cholera Pandemic."

Anna Huber, Monmouth University. “’It Don’t Leave You’: Trauma in Bobbie Ann Mason’s ‘Shiloh.'"

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.


Michael Steinmann, Stevens Institute of Technology. “Finding Meaning in Anxiety."

K.T. Chun, Stevens Institute of Technology. “The strength in what remains behind ‘Splendor in the Grass’ of Deanie, Elizabeth, and Ethan."

Matthias Bormuth, Universität Oldenburg. “Art and Illness: Franz Kafka in the Pathographical Horizon of Karl Jaspers."

12:15 - 1:15 p.m.


1:15 - 2:30 p.m.


Lainie Fefferman, Stevens Institute of Technology. "Overshare."

Catalina Florescu, Stevens Institute of Technology. “Raising the Veil and Rising the Truth on Hidden Pains."

Elizabeth Sepulveda, Stevens Institute of Technology. “Up All Night: A Student Perspective on the Mental Health of Art Students."

2:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Coffee Break

2:45 - 4:15 p.m.


Sarika Persaud, Fordham University. “When Do Art and Writing Heal? Understanding Defense Mechanisms and the Study of the Humanities."

Kerry Leccese, Stevens Institute of Technology. “Ethical Implications of Therapy Chatbots."

Rob Harari, Stevens Institute of Technology. “The Relationship Between Patients and Delirium as Affected by Hospital Acoustics - A Psychoacoustic Study."

Leah Richardson, University of Virginia. “Philosophical and Psychological Counseling in Relation to Moral Injury: A Thought Experiment."

Directions and Parking

Located in Hoboken, NJ, Stevens Institute of Technology is easily accessible by both car and public transportation. For more information, including details on parking options, please visit the university's transportation and parking webpage.

Call for Proposals [CLOSED]

We welcomed a wide range of submissions for 20-minute presentations from a variety of humanistic and scientific perspectives on mental health, including approaches in literature, philosophy, history, arts, social sciences, psychology, psychiatry, and interdisciplinary fields. Topics included but were not limited to the following:

  • Literary and artistic representations of mental illness and/or treatment

  • Intersections between psychiatry, psychology, and aesthetics in literature, art, music, and performing arts

  • Applications of literary and artistic expression in mental illness treatment

  • The role of humanities and social sciences in identifying and articulating mental health struggles at the individual or population level

  • Historical and/or sociological approaches to understanding mental health issues

  • Cognitive or neurological approaches to the human experience of literary, musical, or artistic expression

  • Medical humanities approaches to understanding or treating psychological pain

  • Current communities in mental health crisis and how to help them

The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences