On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the Department of Women’s Studies held its first lecture in a series of lectures called Women on Wednesdays which seeks to highlight the work of women on campus.

As students and faculty crammed into the Multicultural Center presentation room the Director of Women’s Studies Program Dr. Phyllis Thompson commented on the amazing turnout.

“There are a lot more people here than we anticipated, and we’re so glad you have all come out here to support this lecture series,” Thompson said.

After a few opening remarks Thompson then introduced the speaker for the afternoon Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling Dr. Bethany Novotny.

Novotny’s lecture focused on the role of grit and mindset in the lives of helping professionals, specifically counselors.

According to Novotny, her own personal experience in the world of sports and academics is what led her to her research interests.

“As a student and an athlete I wanted to know what factors led some people to excel more than others,” Novotny said.

“I know a lot of really talented or smart people but that doesn’t necessarily predict their future success.”

Novotny believes that the extra element that pushes people to succeed is grit which she defines as, “passion and perseverance for long term goals.”

Through her research, Novotny has found a correlation between grit and preventing burnout in professional counselors. Many helping professionals get tired with their work and end up quitting or being ineffectual. Novotny believes that increasing grit or changing mindset can change this pattern within her field.

“There is a positive correlation between grit and self-efficacy where the higher your grit is the more likely you are to believe in your own ability to achieve certain outcomes,” Novotny said.

It is this belief in self-efficacy that leads professionals to greater success.

As the lecture part of the presentation closed, Novotny passed out copies of the “12 Item Grit Scale Self-Assessment Activity” which can be found online as well. Participants were than able to discuss the results of their assessment, which measured the level of grit in an individual, as well as ask any general questions about the lecture.

The next lecture in the Women on Wednesday’s Series will occur on Oct. 4 at noon in the Multicultural Center presentation room. The topic, “Rethinking Appalachian Regional Health,” will be presented by Dr. Rebekah Adkins Fletcher and a light lunch will be provided for attendees.