Marcie Walsh to Discuss Research in Action at COBE Connect

The COBE Connect lunch lecture series returns on Tuesday, September 12th, featuring COBE Administrative Director Marcie Walsh.

In her presentation entitled “Research in Action: Thrive, Fit and the Science of Happiness,” Walsh will explore how COBE collaborators translate their research on mental health, substance use and a host of other topics into programming and coursework to enhance student health and wellness.

The presentation starts at 12:00 pm in the Forum Room of the VCU Student Commons. Free lunch will be served and the event is open to all faculty, staff and students.

Some examples of COBE research translation to be discussed during the presentation include:

The Science of Happiness/Flourishing

To address the specific mental and physical health needs of adolescents, The Science of Happiness course examines the state of college student mental health and wellness on a personal and systemic level. Students look at how individuals can create positive change by reinterpreting their goals and identifying steps towards having a successful experience in college and beyond. The course was created by COBE researchers from around the university and is co-taught by those researchers as a way of connecting students directly with experts in different fields.

Flourishing is a one-credit version of the Science of Happiness course specifically for Honors College students. Flourishing surveys college student mental health and wellness, providing an opportunity for students to re-evaluate their beliefs, values and assumptions in the context of learning about the science behind health and wellness. Key findings from the fields of positive psychology will inform students’ understanding of the biopsychosocial underpinnings of well-being.

Love and Addiction

In Love and Addiction, Dr. Jessica Salvatore and her students examine the science behind portrayals of romance and substances of abuse in popular music and movies using developmental, social psychological, and neurobiological perspectives. The course covers topics such as the neurobiology of love and addiction; the effects of relationships on substance use; and the effects of substance use on relationships. At the end of the course, students use these perspectives and knowledge to critically review a song or movie of their choice.


Thrive and Fit are a partnership between COBE, VCU RecSports and VCU Residential Life and Housing that provide a select group of freshmen with a living-learning experience focused on well-being. Thrive and Fit help students learn how to make the most out of their college years and lead healthy, prosperous lives through coursework, programming and events that connect students to researchers across campus and promote general health and wellness.