Student Profile: Daniel del Cid researches how to support essential workers and unions through the pandemic and beyond

Monday, February 22, 2021
Daniel del Cid

Daniel del Cid is a second year School Psychology graduate student researcher under the supervision of Dr. Jill Sharkey. His research explores educational policies and practices that can enhance and support the experiences of Latinx minorities. Del Cid hopes to use this research to elucidate potential stress buffers among these vulnerable, underserved, at-risk populations, and more specifically, develop interventions that might lessen possible negative mental health and academic outcomes. Currently, he is working on a grant awarded as part of UCSB’s Multidisciplinary Research on COVID-19 & Its Impacts (MRCI) grant program to study the impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health and parental practices of essential workers.

GGSE: How have you been spending time during the campus shutdown
del Cid: Since the shutdown began, I have stayed mostly near my home and have spent lots of time indoors reading. I especially enjoyed listening to Caste over the winter break and beginning Obama’s new book!

GGSE: You study stress and the effects it has on populations and individuals. What drew you to this area of study originally?
del Cid: I think for me what led me to this line of work was first and foremost the widespread prevalence of stress-related disorders that impact countless individuals that are not able to access mental health. Beyond this apparent need, I was also drawn to this work because of my own childhood experiences where I learned to cope with the chronic stress of being undocumented.

GGSE: Can you tell us a bit about the project you’re working on now? How is the research being conducted and what do you hope the impact will be?
del Cid: My team, which consists of Dr. Jill Sharkey, Dr. Erika Felix, and Melissa Janson, are focused on elucidating the challenges and resources during the COVID-19 national crisis of grocery store union members. Our goal is to provide union administrators a policy report that is rooted in the cultural context and needs of the consumers which in this project are the workers. Further, we aim to honor the rights of the workers (participants) while helping researchers, educators, policymakers, and practitioners support efforts to protect highly vulnerable grocery store workers and their families who have been particularly impacted by the pandemic. In the near future, we hope to provide a report on the healthy functioning of grocery store workers to a regional union that represents nearly 60,000 essential workers in California. Ultimately, we seek to secure further funding to expand the scope of our project with the following aims: 1) follow-up mixed methods study with qualitative approaches taking emphasis this time, 2) build interventions directly applicable to frontline workers to help cope with stresses related to COVID-19, 3) develop workshops that can be presented to workers with similar work demands across different settings, and 4) develop, in collaboration with community based partners, a national resource network for front-line workers that can serve to connect those impacted with relevant local resources as well as providing insight into the impacts of current public policy at the local, state, and national level.

GGSE: Who, living or dead, do you most admire?
del Cid: The person I admire the most is the late Dr. Wayne Dyer. I most admire the relentlessness and determination that he conveyed through his many writings and workshops to bring others to a place of well-being and love.