Students Gathering Data Also Find Kindness Door-to-Door

David Cochran Training
Dr. David Cochran of the School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences conducts training on Oct. 27.

Forty-one students, as well as a team of faculty and staff, canvassed in three south Mississippi counties last Saturday to conduct surveys on Coast residents’ resilience from and preparedness for disasters.

“Students were pleasantly surprised by people’s kindness,” says Dr. Tim Rehner. “They were invited into houses to talk more. Some conversations were over an hour long.”

In total, 168 surveys were completed. Students can still volunteer to participate in the second and final survey this Saturday, and will be assigned to areas in either Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. If interested, contact Dr. Joohee Lee at

There will again be a 30-minute training session before the surveying begins. For social work students, it will be the chance to put theory into practice.

“We cover sampling methods and how to interview in the classroom, but this is a good time to actually apply and use those skills,” Dr. Lee says.

Dr. Hwanseok Winston Choi says it was a similar experience for his students in the School of Health Professions.

“They learned a lot from the one-day experience,” he says. “My students are going to be biostatisticians in the future. When I was in graduate school, I almost never had the experience of collecting real data myself. My students said, ‘Now l can realize where these numbers come from.’ That is a very valuable experience for them.”

Dr. Choi plans to bring four additional students this Saturday. Dr. Peter Paprzycki from the School of Education also plans to bring four more international students.

“The other nice thing was these new relationships, a daylong relationship, for people who didn’t know each other,” Dr. Rehner says. “We were able to pair international students with other students. This is a learning experience that students will never forget!”

Learn more about the project.

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