Celebrating J-School Women in Research: Q&A with Ph.D. Student Indri Maulidar

Celebrating Women's History Month

This is the fourth and final installment of our Women’s History Month series celebrating J-School women in research.

Indri Maulidar is a Ph.D. student studying burnout and mental health in newsrooms. Through her research, she has interviewed journalists who cover natural disasters and the long-term effects of that profession.

Indri Maulidar headshotTell us a bit about your research.

I study burnout and mental health in the newsrooms through comparative media study lens. I use qualitative methods and interviewed journalists who covered past natural disasters and see how it affects them in long-term to better understand this profession and how we can help journalists thrive despite the challenges.

What do you think are some of the current challenges for women in research today and how can we ameliorate them?

It’s the lack of leadership representation. Everywhere I go, in most departments or in conferences, I still rarely see women in senior leadership position. That mean decisions are made without taking into account our perspectives. This can perpetuate gender biases and overlook the unique contributions and angles that women bring to the table. A 2022 study says only 22% higher education institutions had a woman in leadership positions despite the fact that women have been earning the majority of Ph.D.s in the U.S. for about a decade. Research institutions should actively work to address implicit bias and stereotypes that may impede women’s advancement in the field.

Who is your female research role model and why?

I remember learning about Marie Curie in middle school and I have been engrossed by her and her story since. Since growing up in Russian controlled Poland in late 1800s, she wasn’t supposed to get an education, let alone higher education. Growing up in rural Indonesia, I had no idea how to access or do a Ph.D. and I had nobody showing me the way until I do my own research. Curie showed me how to persevere despite your environment and societal expectations of what women should do.

Can you share a rewarding moment from your career?

Sharing your research and collaborating with peers who are curious about the same issue as you. I have never thought I would be mingling with researchers from all around the world to talk about how we can improve working conditions in newsroom, yet once in a while I caught myself interacting with researchers in my field in a conference room somewhere and be inspired. However hard it is the day to day routine of being researchers, this rewarding moments make me feel like I could take it and be part of the community who wants to expand our understanding of the world.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve found in your research?

That journalists are human too. There are always debate and criticism about how journalists should do better when covering most pressing issues like natural disasters and how journalists are often accused of profiting from the survivors’ story. Yet they have to deal with structural and professional constraints, such as limited resources and deadlines, as well as emotional and psychological stress.