CBSelfie with Alex Rich

September 09, 2020

Alex advocates for students’ mental health and serves on the CBS Student Board and Boynton’s de-stress program. 

Alex Rich standing on the stone arch bridge in the winter

Hometown: Normal, IL

Major: Neuroscience

Minors: Health Psychology, Behavioral Biology

Year: Senior

How did you pick your field of study? 
My interest in the intersection between psychology, biology, and chemistry began in high school and has grown immensely during my time in CBS. I’m passionate about increasing access to mental health treatment, improving patient experiences, and applying biology to help people in need. 

Are you involved with research on campus?
Yes, I do research for the Minnesota Center for Eating Disorders, in the Psychiatry Department. Last fall I completed a UROP exploring the role of ruminative cognition in eating pathology. Before that, I researched rhesus monkeys as a member of the Hayden Lab in the neuroscience department.

What else keeps you busy?
I spend a significant amount of time working. Currently I’m the coordinator of Boynton’s de-stress program. I present to student and staff groups about stress management, work to promote mental wellness on campus, manage our peer-led stress check-ins, and write the weekly de-stress digest. This includes tips and tricks, resources, and local events related to stress management. A considerable part of my schedule is devoted to advocacy, be it on the CBS Student Board or as a member of the local Project HEAL chapter that promotes awareness and provides support to those suffering from eating disorders in the Twin Cities. In the past I’ve worked as a teaching assistant and sophomore guild leader. Campus jobs help pay the rent and bills! Also, they’ve helped me grow personally and professionally. 

How have you continued these activities with all the changes that have come on in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?
I thankfully can still be involved in the majority of these activities virtually. I’ve worked on the manuscript for my project on the role of rumination in eating pathology from the comfort of my bed. The CBS Student Board is still hard at work thanks to Zoom. I’m also still able to do my work with de-stress remotely. I’m still able to send out our weekly digest email (sign up here) with mental wellness guidance and resources for getting through this period of continued uncertainty. We also moved Stress Check-Ins fully online

Do you have a favorite place to destress? 
I’m an introvert; so, first and foremost, I claim some time by myself and for myself to enjoy. Usually I end up either at a coffee shop or by the brightest window in my apartment accompanied by my many plants. I like to just sit…maybe I’ll stretch or practice mindfulness. Like pretty much all CBSers, my days consist of a lot of running from one thing to the next. So, when I naturally get or when I carve out time to de-stress (which, as a PSA from your local de-stress coordinator: you should always do for yourself as needed!) I tend to enjoy a moment of complete pause. Mindfulness helps me feel more present and prepared for the next thing.

What’s your favorite spot on campus? 
I love Nils Hasselmo Hall! There’s a lot of natural light in that building; it’s centrally located so it’s a good place to stop for lunch or just between classes; and it’s always pretty quiet and filled with open seats.