Graduate Student Research Conference

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The Graduate College invites graduate students from all disciplines to present at the Graduate Student Research Conference (GSRC) (previously known as the International Research Conference) and showcase their original research and creative works!

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 41
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    Slow Down to Speed Up: Investigating the Impact of a Low-Time-Commitment Active Learning Strategy in Precalculus
    (2023-04) Buber, Zafer
    Despite all the efforts, the problem of low levels of success in precalculus courses in the US has not improved significantly over the last four decades. The research identifies poor instructional practices as one of the main factors contributing to this issue and finds them to be associated with overloaded curricula and fast-paced instruction in precalculus classes. Given that the primary instructional method in most college mathematics courses is direct instruction, this quasi-experimental study aims to investigate the impact of a low-time commitment active learning strategy on students’ achievement and participation in college precalculus classes. The planned intervention aims to slow down the instructional pace, especially for the students who need more time for conceptual advancement and create more opportunities to provide students with more time to reason and think. Preliminary results indicate that this intervention has the potential to improve student achievement and increase participation.
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    Embracing Student Language as Scaffolding During Mathematical Modeling
    (2023-04) Quansah, Abigail; Czocher, Jennifer A.
    No abstract prepared.
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    An Assessment of Accessing Mental Health Treatment Among Aging Incarcerated Persons
    (2022-08) Fritz, Katlyn
    No abstract prepared.
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    Making Pi and Rethinking Teacher Education Program
    (2023-04) Bui, Mai
    This poster presents four activities specifically designed for prospective elementary and middle school teachers who are taking a content course in geometry and measurement. These activities aim to help prospective teachers deepen their understanding of the formula for the circumference of a circle and the meaning of constant Pi as well as build the necessary skills to become well-prepared beginning teachers of mathematics. The first three activities guide prospective teachers to explore and re-explore the formula using non-standard units, standard units, and technology. Following this, prospective teachers will engage in a group discussion about the affordances and limitations of each activity and consider important factors when designing and selecting mathematical tasks for their future instructional practices. The activities offer opportunities for prospective teachers to deepen their mathematical knowledge and build their professional skills and identity simultaneously. Participants’ reflection evidenced the positive impacts of this approach on their essential knowledge and skills for teaching as well as their dispositions and views toward mathematics education.
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    Exploring the association between the Noyce Scholarship Program and Public-School Districts with Spatial Patterns in the U.S
    (2023-04) Wu, Xiu; Feng, Li; Chih, Yao-Yu
    Background: The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (RNTSP) provides financial support to undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching STEM subjects. However, there are some challenges associated with estimating the effectiveness of this program. These challenges include time lag, spatial non-synergistic effects, and the lack of an object-based surveillance mechanism. These factors contribute to uncertainties in the estimation of the program's impact. Research Purpose: This research aims to identify the spatial relationship between RNTSP and public-school districts in the U.S. The main objective is to examine the potential effects of RNTSP on the current public school system. This will be achieved by the use of the spatial join tool. Specifically, different radii intersections will be used to determine the extent of the relationship between RNTSP and the public-school districts. By doing so, the research will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of RNTSP and how it impacts the education resources available to public schools. Research Questions: How does the RNTSP influence public school districts in the U.S. in space?
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    The Charismatic “Saviors”: A Depiction of Cults and Leaders in Mainstream Film
    (2023-04) Trapane, Kamryn
    This study evaluates four films regarding cults and cult leaders using discourse analysis or content analysis. Cults were depicted as having in-person or historical supernatural motives with both the followers and leaders participating in deviant behaviors. The leaders possessed confidence and charisma in their cultic responsibilities, using impression management (Goffman 1959), or a way to give a perceived perception to others within social interactions, and expressing their charismatic authority (Weber 1947), or a type of leadership which is unique in that it influences a group of people due to attractive qualities. The main characters exhibited anomie (Durkheim 1893), or the morals that the characters follow resulting in instability in their lives. Anomie becomes prevalent when the cult members and leader manipulates the characters, resulting in the characters exhibiting instability when navigating the cult as their morals do not align. Understanding cults and cult leaders in mainstream films can help recognize the social construction that the media has established in our society. These films can establish patterns and differences between real-life cults and fictional movie depictions.
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    Creating a Developmental Education Curriculum for Student Success with Diverse Cultures
    (2023-04) Guest, Jayson; Mumu, Maisha Farzana
    A sense of belonging and community support is extremely important to college student success. Both engender the kind of systems thinking students need to excel in the university. This is especially true for developmental education students who must take a non-credit bearing class, or classes, in addition to the standard requirements for their degree. These classes provide obstacles to student motivation in the way they impose an added financial burden and also come with the stigma of remediation. One of the most effective ways to foster a sense of belonging and offer community support is through a practice of culturally sensitive pedagogy. This project looks to answer the question “How does an instructor create a welcoming and equitable developmental education curriculum for students of diverse cultures, and to what extent are Texas State University developmental education instructors implementing those measures?” By combining a literary analysis and qualitative data from learning environment observations of Texas State University developmental education reading classes, an evaluation of useful practices for student success is offered in our results.
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    Elements of Effective Water Conservation Legislation in Texas
    (2023-04) Boggan, Kaylee
    The purpose of this applied research project is fourfold. First, the curation of the ideal components of water conservation legislation came from a thorough literature review. Next, the framework was used by the researcher to help assess the processes currently used by the Texas legislature. Third, this evaluative exercise helped identify the shortcomings of the current process used by the Texas legislature to address this critical policy issue. Finally, recommendations to improve current lawmaking practices are provided based on the evidence from interviews and document analysis. Legislative action establishes regulatory policy that influences the way water conservation enforcement occurs. The ideal framework created in this study is based on four legislative standards: economic development, social capital/welfare, statutory authority and case law, and agency design. Each standard was assessed using document analysis of Texas Senate Bill 1 (75R), Texas Senate Bill 2(77R), and Texas Senate Bill 3 (79R) and associated documents. Evidence from interviews with water/public policy experts also provided essential information regarding how effective water conservation legislation must be created. The results indicated that an ideal bill must consider effective agency design, statutory authority and case law, social capital and welfare, and economic development. Recommendations include a revamp of the rule of capture, inclusion of provisions relating to climate science, and additional funding to groundwater conservation districts or a One Water Management Approach. Further, Texas should include efficiency regulations and program evaluations including sufficiently long transition periods to allow stakeholders to prepare for change including metrics for improving and quantitative measurements.
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    It is Time to Think! Investigating the Impact of Reasoning Time in Precalculus
    (2022-04) Buber, Zafer
    College-level mathematics courses have always been a gatekeeper for students. High attrition rates in these courses point out a very serious issue. Research has identified various factors contributing to these high attrition rates. To various studies, one of these factors has been observed to be fast-paced instruction in college-level mathematics courses. Also, the research underlines that students who are exposed to fast-paced instruction without conceptual understanding are more likely to drop out. This study focuses on the instructional time and precalculus achievement relationship. More specifically, we investigate how the private reasoning time provided explicitly impacts students’ performance and achievement in college precalculus classes. This study aims to provide college students with more private reasoning time during the instruction and slow down the pace of the instruction. With this purpose in mind, we ask the following research questions: What is the impact of private reasoning time during the instruction on college students’ precalculus achievement? What is the optimal waiting time after students are given private reasoning time in precalculus classes? Students will be provided with a few explicit private reasoning time intervals from 30 sec to 1 min in precalculus classes. During these time intervals, students will be given some tasks designed to support their conceptual transitioning and some guiding questions that are supposed to help students reason about the mathematical concept. Each student is supposed to reason individually first. Then, around their individual thoughts, the instruction is supposed to go on. Students will be provided with a few explicit private reasoning time intervals from 30 sec to 1 min in precalculus classes. During these time intervals, students will be given some tasks designed to support their conceptual transitioning and some guiding questions that are supposed to help students reason about the mathematical concept. Each student is supposed to reason individually first. Then, around their individual thoughts, the instruction is supposed to go on. We will measure the impact of the planned intervention by using pre and post-design tools. Additionally, we will analyze semi-structured interviews with some students before and after the intervention to capture the change in their reasoning attitudes. Due to the highly complex nature of teaching/learning activities, we are not sure to what degree increasing reasoning time might improve the learning of precalculus concepts. However, we conjecture that slowing down the precalculus instruction, together with guiding questions and appropriate tasks, will help students with having: more active learning opportunities more interaction with the instructor more instructors' noticing the students' struggles more feedback from the instructor less math anxiety better achievement Based on the initial observations and the expected results, we hope that this study will improve the teaching/learning of precalculus, especially for the students who need more time to think during the instruction.
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    Assistive Technologies and Strategies for Writing in Middle School
    (2022-09) Guha, Manjary; Collins, Alyson A.
    Content-area writing in middle school requires the ability to extract key points from the content and transform information into a written product. However, students with learning disabilities (LD) often lack the skills needed to develop written products within the content areas, which in turn affects their academic success (Evmenova et al., 2016). Researchers have invented assistive technologies that can be used in the classroom setting to assist learners with writing in content areas. The purpose of this study was to review existing research studies investigating assistive technologies and instructional strategies aimed at enhancing the writing skills of middle-school students. We examined studies that used randomized control trials (RCTs), within-subject, and single-case designs to explore the effectiveness of assistive technologies and note-taking strategies for improving content-area writing of students with LD. We used electronic databases Eric and PsycINFO to find prior research in these areas. Additionally, we conducted hand searches and reference searches to augment the studies obtained from the database search. After screening 144 studies using eligibility and inclusion criteria, we were left with a total of four studies. Among these, two studies examined the effects of computer-based graphic organizers (CGBOs) as an assistive technology in middle school classrooms. The other two studies investigated strategies for writing in middle schools such as mnemonics, 'Cued prompt', and Technology-Based Graphic Organizers (TGBOs). Findings suggest CBGOs, TGBOs, and note-taking strategies such as cued prompts and mnemonics improve writing and note-taking quality for students with LD as measured by overall word counts, the number of sentences in note-taking, and writing essays. While the long-term effects of assistive technologies remain uncertain, findings from our literature review suggest significant and measurable benefits for middle school students when technology interventions are used for writing. References Evmenova, A. S., Regan, K., Boykin, A., Good, K., Hughes, M., MacVittie, N., Sacco, D., Ahn, S. Y., & Chirinos, D. (2016). Emphasizing Planning for Essay Writing with a Computer-Based Graphic Organizer. Exceptional Children, 82(2), 170–191.
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    Monitoring Air Quality using Domain Adaptation and GAN
    (2022-04) Dey, Arunavo; Islam, Tanzima
    Recent environmental pollution is most detrimental to air which is one of most necessary elements of nature for living beings. Recent excessive ozone pollution made the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to call for an Ozone Action Day for the Austin area for Saturday, March 19, 2022 [1] to prevent ozone pollution. But in most of the cases predicting air quality with the help of data collected from somewhere else doesn’t help much. Moreover measuring directly the amount of pollution may not be feasible always. Collecting directly the elements to predict one specific amount also may not be feasible. So, in this work it has been tried to measure one element from other available elements without taking account their contribution to the specific element. Here measuring ozone from other data has been tried out. Also taking elements from one city air it has been experimented to measure pollution in a complete different city. By studying this real life scenario it has been tried to measure the performance among different domain adaptation methods including optimal DANN and optimal transport and subspace alignment to measure their effectiveness in this real life scenario.
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    Impact of Municipal Solid Waste Landfill on Climate Change and Human Well-being: A Case Study on Aminbazar Landfill, Dhaka North City Corporation, Bangladesh
    (2022-04) Khondoker, Marufa; Rahman, M. Maksudur; Hwang, Sangchul
    Global warming and climate change have become warning topics to think about around the globe. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have increased by over 90% since 1970, with fossil fuel burning and industrial processes accounting for around 78 percent of the entire increase in greenhouse gas emissions between 1970 and 2011 (Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, US). Apart from industries, there are other contributors who are responsible for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, such as unmanaged Solid waste landfills. Globally the estimation of methane gas is still a topic of debate, and several methods are there. Also, most of the reports have come up with qualitative data regarding the health impact of the waste workers and the dwellers. This work aims to calculate methane (CH4) emissions from Aminbazar solid waste (SW) disposal site, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Microbes digest degradable organic carbon from rubbish in solid waste disposal sites (SWDS) under anaerobic conditions, producing methane (CH4) and other compounds. The Aminbazar trash disposal area, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), has been visited, and waste statistics and other vital information have been gathered from the Waste Report and the Key Informant Interview (KII) of DNCC high officials. The Aminbazar landfill has been in operation since 2007, and it is scheduled to close in 2023. This dump is better controlled and has more data than the other Dhaka South City Corporation landfill, Matuail (DSCC). Hence, the Aminbazar disposal site has been selected to estimate the trend of Methane gas (CH4) using two contradictory methods, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2006 default method and the LandGEM model (a first-order decay method). Then, results have been compared and analyzed that the IPCC default method estimates 40-60% more methane gas than the LandGEM model due to the assumptions applied. Eventually, it has been found that If we consider that Aminbazar landfill emits an average of 40 Gg of methane gas per year, we may conclude that the landfill is responsible for emitting 2.96 kg/acre/day of methane gas. Furthermore, the people of DNCC contribute to global warming by generating 17.96 grams of methane gas per day. (This assumes a total population of 6.1 million in the DNCC area). Interviews with landfill officials and neighboring people were done in a qualitative format. According to the findings, landfills are located relatively close to residential areas, bodies of water, and agricultural regions, exposing people to a variety of health and environmental concerns. Improper solid waste management procedures at landfills have a negative impact on the environment through leachate percolation, trash combustion, and vector breeding. To lessen the accompanying environmental pollution and health hazards, the existing solid waste management system requires administrative and technical changes. More research needs to be conducted to calculate methane gas emissions from waste disposal sites in Bangladesh.
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    Rapid Nucleic Acid Concentration from Wastewater with Minimal Equipment: New Strategy for COVID-19 Surveillance
    (2022-04) Long, Shannon
    Background: As of 26 March 2022, COVID-19 has killed over six million people worldwide, with almost one million of those deaths being in the United States (World Health Organization, 2022). Wastewater-based epidemiology is an effective tool for monitoring COVID-19 on a community level and catching and suppressing emerging outbreaks (Betancourt et al., 2021). However, this requires SARS-CoV-2 RNA to be concentrated from wastewater for PCR testing. A rapid, inexpensive, and uncomplicated method of RNA concentration would facilitate widespread deployment of wastewater-based epidemiology for COVID-19, especially in low-resource settings. Hollow silica microspheres float in water and can be functionalized to bind target molecules on cells of interest (Weigum et al., 2016), so they could potentially be adapted to bind to RNA and carry it to the top of a sample. Purpose: To demonstrate the capacity of hollow silica microspheres to isolate RNA from aqueous solution. Methodology: Hollow silica microspheres were functionalized with chitosan, a nucleotide-binding molecule (Yang et al., 2017). The functionalized microspheres were then mixed with a fluorescent oligonucleotide for varying amounts of time, after which micrographs were taken. Fluorescence around the microspheres was quantified with ImageJ. Research: Preliminary findings suggest that the functionalized microspheres can capture oligonucleotides in as little as ten minutes. Follow-up experiments are exploring nucleotide capture at sub-10-minute intervals. Conclusion: Chitosan-functionalized hollow silica microspheres have potential as a tool for rapid RNA concentration from wastewater. Future experiments will focus on liberating nucleic acids from the microspheres for detection after capture, in addition to further optimization of the nucleic acid capture process, including reducing the time needed for capture.
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    Comparison of Historical Markers in the Different States
    (2022-04) Liu, Yanyan
    Historical markers show the memory of the past. Historical markers' contents may vary due to local governments or the different time series. To know the historical markers' memorial topics in different places, this project collected Texas and Florida's existing records, analyzed the most frequent keywords. The result shows that the markers in these two states shared some common things, such as the positive correlation between population and the number of markers. Besides, Texas markers are more related to religion, while Florida markers are more connected to the environment. Results show that the topic varies within a state in different periods.
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    Save Water, Drink Beer: The hybridity of Texas craft breweries and impacting water stewardship through participatory action research
    (2022-04) Wiley, Delorean; Smith, Lindsay
    Every brewery has a different culture and space. However, all are places where people and resources flow for a common purpose – beer. Breweries are large users of water and act as public spaces for community gathering. Therefore, they are simultaneously consumers of resources and curators of culture. In this way, hybridity can help conceptualize breweries as “hydrosocial” spaces. This is important when considering water reduction projects at breweries. There cannot be a one-size fits all solution to water conservation. Stakeholders for water are vast and have competing needs and desires. Feminist political ecology combined with participatory action research offers a framework to engage breweries, constituents, and water to preserve these unique fermented landscapes. This project includes members from Texas Brewshed Alliance (TBA), researchers at Texas state University, breweries, water conservation groups, and Texas residents. Texas Brewshed Alliance was established in 2019 by the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) to inspire communities across Texas through fun, educational events and to engage them in taking action to steward their local lands and waters, which are vital for brewing exceptional beer ( This presentation is in preparation of a dissertation with the goal of creating measurable change for the Texas Brewshed Alliance. Specifically, the project will see how Texas craft breweries can act as spaces to educate about water stewardship, increase community watershed knowledge, and change water conservation behavior among project participants.
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    Impact of Chamber Pressure on Indium Doped β-Gallium Oxide
    (2022-04) Rahaman, Imteaz; Saha, Puja Rani; Taqy, Saif Al Arafin; Sarkar, Pallab Kumar; Saha, Jibesh Kanti; Haque, Ariful
    Indium doped β-Ga2O3 (IGO) have been a major research interest for the last few decades due to their importance in bandgap engineering to fabricate high-power electronics, deep UV photonic devices, and nuclear detectors. In this work, we deposited two types of (InxGa1-x)2O3 alloy with x=25%, samples at 620 ºC substrate temperature while varying the partial oxygen chamber pressure from 1x10-3 to 5x10-2 torr. Our analysis shows that IGO exhibits significant conductivity at high growth pressure, but it shows poor electrical properties at low oxygen pressure. Further crystal analysis exhibited polycrystalline behavior for the conductive samples and monoclinic, near single-crystalline behavior for the non-conductive samples. The conductive samples has a mobility of 7.02 cm2Vs-1, resistivity of 0.05118 Ω-cm, and a carrier concentration of 1.737x10 19 cm-3. According to the bonding analysis, such superior mobility can be attributed to the generation of free electrons due to the reduction of trap sites due to the higher number of metal-oxygen lattices in the IGO thin film.
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    Development of a Scale to Measure Teachers' Beliefs Toward Struggles in Mathematics
    (2022-04) Kirmizi, Mehmet; Tarim, Kamuran
    In this study we are developing a valid and reliable scale to measure teachers’ belief of efficacy of productive struggle. Traditionally, struggles in mathematics is considered something undesirable. However, the recent understanding frames struggles something necessary for gaining deep understanding. The idea that mistakes and errors are necessary for the growth of the brain is well supported by the evidence from different fields. Empirical evidence suggests the idea of that students can transform their unproductive struggles to productive ones. If teachers do not want to support their students struggle; students cannot take full advantage of productive struggles in mathematics. Teachers’ positive beliefs and attitudes toward struggles in mathematics is essential to harness the power of struggles. For this poster, we plan to share our work developing a scale to measure teachers’ beliefs towards struggle. We identified that productive struggle is usually tied with the four components: conceptual understanding, persistence, tasks and times, and joy of teaching. After identifying these four components we exchanged several emails with a leading scholar in the field to make align our understanding with her vision. After that we developed initial pool of items based on theoretical components that is mentioned above. The initial pool contains 52 items, we evaluate each item based on several criteria and then finally the number of items is reduced in 21. We sent initial scale to number of graduate students and pre-service mathematics and elementary school teachers. To this date we are still collecting data to asses the internal reliability of our scale.
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    Seeing the Best in Others: Relations Between Positive Attribution Biases, Social Support Satisfaction and Resilience
    (2022-04) Tucker, Natalie; Sweeney, Lauren; Vara, Daniela; Warnell, Katherine
    Humans differ in how they attribute intention to others’ ambiguous acts (e.g., someone hitting you with a ball in the park). Much research examining attribution biases has asked participants to choose between a negative explanation (e.g., the ball thrower was trying to make you angry) and a neutral one (e.g., the thrower made a mistake). Such research has robustly linked negative, or hostile, attribution biases to poorer psychosocial outcomes. Little work, however, has examined whether well-being is bolstered by positive biases (e.g., the thrower was hoping you would join their game). In the current study, we used customized social vignettes and asked participants to rate the likelihood of positive, neutral, and negative explanations. In a pilot sample of 110 adults, we found that positive attribution biases were linked to increased perceptions of social support and higher resilience. We conducted a pre-registered replication of this finding and found that social support mediates the link between positive biases and resilience, potentially because individuals with such biases perceive themselves to be supported even in the face of adversity.
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    Intersecting Professional Identities and Social Interaction
    (2022-04) Swartz, Micah; Olarte, Royce
    This study examined how the social interactions that mathematics teaching assistants (TAs) have within their institution influenced their professional identity development as early-career undergraduate instructors. We drew on a sociocultural perspective of professional identity development in higher education to examine TAs’ interactions with students, faculty, and other TAs. We qualitatively analyzed five mathematics TAs’ responses to semi-structured interviews and developed codes to describe the complexity and multidimensionality of their professional identities. We found that some dimensions of TAs' identities were more frequently situated within specific relationships, while others were evident in multiple relationships. Overall, the social interactions of TAs were sites for professional identity development. Identity is a complex construct, and a better understanding of how professional identity is developed can inform higher education institutions on ways to support positive identity development of future mathematics instructors.
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    Leisure as a Coping Mechanism: The Relationship Between Leisure and Stress
    (2022-04) Shamsuddin, Sunehra
    The value of leisure is often under-looked. Leisure activities should not be treated as a luxury but a necessity. The therapeutic benefits of leisure can be applied to the mind, body, and soul. Leisure plays a significant role in the five domains of life: Cognitive, Affective, Social, Physical, and Spiritual. However, the relationship between the role leisure plays of the stress experienced by an individual was the point of interest for this study. Leisure pursuits are an evidence-based mechanism to cope with stress and this literature review aimed to understand if it can be utilized in various settings. The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between leisure and stress. The research was conducted with the intent to answer questions regarding the role of leisure as an effective coping mechanism, the accessibility of leisure, and the relationship between stress and leisure. This was a literature review aimed to analyze recent literature discussing ways in which leisure was applied as a coping mechanism. The inclusion criteria required articles to be published within the last ten years, saw the application of leisure within a population coping with stress, and discussed evidence-based practices of leisure pursuits. There are a variety of ways to cope with stress. Recent studies have found a negative relationship between leisure and stress (Cevik, 2020). As the amount of time spent in leisure pursuits increases, the amount of stress experienced decreases. There are leisure constraints and barriers to consider before applying leisure activities as a coping mechanism. The 2020 pandemic led to creative leisure pursuits in a time when social distancing measures provided a huge barrier for recreational activities (Stodolska, 2020). The stark contrast between Avoidant Leisure Coping Style (ALCS) and Planned-Breather Leisure Coping Style (PBLCS) highlights the need for planned breaks from stressful situations (Tsaur and Tang, 2012). Committed leisure pursuits can also be applied to cope with the stress of chronic illnesses (Lee and Heo, 2020). It was concluded that leisure can be versatile and adapted to be utilized as a coping tool in various settings and populations. The social implications of this research will affect many populations and fields of study regarding wellness. Leisure is a resourceful tool to be utilized as a competent coping mechanism. Stress is detrimental to an individual’s overall health and affects all areas of life. Stress is not exclusive to a certain population and can affect every individual. It is important to educate people about the benefits of developing leisure pursuits to cope with stress. Leisure is accessible due to its versatility and adaptability to be modified for an individual’s unique needs. More research needs to be conducted due to the gap in the literature regarding this topic. The project’s value is cemented in its’ efforts to highlight leisure as a competent coping tool. The project intends to inform individuals dealing with stress about the benefits of leisure, and to persuade individuals dealing with stress to take care of themselves.