Student Wellness Research Project

About the Project:

The Student Wellness Research project is a 3-year research project funded by NSERC College and Community Social Innovation Fund seeking to assess the meaningfulness of support services and resources currently available to students at the college level. The project will assess the quality of life, mental health and wellbeing, social supports, and help-seeking behaviors employed by college students to mitigate the impact of daily stressors.

Additionally, the project has secured supplementary funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to acquire virtual reality headsets and software to expand the wellness research by exploring innovative delivery of wellbeing support services, as well as to research the effectiveness of innovative, non-invasive approaches to provide wellness coaching to students, and the level of acceptance of these novel supports.


This research is a collaborative work including two postsecondary institutions located in British Columbia, Canada:

  • College of New Caledonia, project lead, and
  • North Island College, project support

The project also benefits of the expertise and support of two research universities:

  • University of Northern British Columbia, and
  • University of Tasmania, Australia.

Local Partners:

  • Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society, Prince George
  • City of Prince George
  • CNC Student Union

Project phases:

Phase 1: November 2020 to January 2021 at CNC/ February to April 2021 at NIC

  • Data collection: online survey.

Phase 2: June 2021 (both colleges):

  • focus groups over Zoom and training sessions on VR experience

Phase 3: September to November 2021 (both colleges)

  • Data collection: online survey
  • Knowledge dissemination at the local, national, and international level.
  • Social innovation implementation

Project Team:

Project Director: Dr. Romana Pasca, Principal Investigator, CNC.

(PhD Health Sciences) is the lead researcher for the project. For the past nine years, Romana has been involved in research with UNBC, contributing her expertise on various research projects on mental health, wellbeing, and overall satisfaction. In addition, Romana has over 7 years’ experience assisting newcomers to settle and find employment. At CNC, Romana supported international students enrolled at the college to adjust and access services. She was also involved with the BC Mental Health—Student Resilience and Coping Training Advisory Committee.

Project Research Team:

  • Angelica Murillo, Snr. Research Assistant, Applied Research & Innovation, CNC
  • Megan Karpenko, Jr. Research Assistant, Applied Research & Innovation, CNC
  • Ashley Bowman, Student Research Assistant, Applied Research & Innovation, CNC


Dr. Shannon Wagner, Dean, College of Arts, Social and Health Sciences, UNBC.

(PhD Health Sciences) is a Professor in the School of Health Sciences, and the Interim Dean for the College of Arts, Social and Health Sciences at UNBC. Her research focus is occupational mental health, especially as it relates to stress. Shannon and Romana have been collaborating on research projects for the past ten years. Shannon is also a registered psychologist and maintains a small clinical practice. Her practice provides general psychological assessment for both children and adults and provides specific local expertise for issues of occupational mental health, especially workplace related traumatic stress. Shannon is not affiliated with CNC and will provide expertise as a collaborator to contribute to the overall intellectual direction of this project.

Dr. Jon Mond, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Rural Health, University of Tasmania.

(PhD Psychological Medicine) is currently Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Rural Health (CRH), in the College of Health and Medicine, at the University of Tasmania. Dr. Mond has Honours and master’s Degrees in Psychology and a PhD in Psychological Medicine, all from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Public Health from Harvard University. Postdoctoral training was completed at the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, ND USA. Jon has been recently involved in a study of health and wellbeing of international university students in Tasmania and has agreed to share knowledge and information regarding measures developed and used in his research. Jon is not affiliated with CNC and will provide expertise as a collaborator to contribute to the overall intellectual direction of this project.