What is your role at FSU and what does your job entail?
My title is assistant professor in the department of psychology and philosophy. In my role, I teach a few different courses, Abnormal Psychology, Research Methods I and II, and this semester, I am teaching a RAMS 101 first-year seminar on the mental health of American college students. I am a clinical psychologist, so most of my courses that I teach are mental-health focused. In addition to teaching, I also advise students and do some research as well.
What does your research include?
My research lab at FSU is called The Research and Emotion Cognition in Psychopathology Laboratory. RECAP is the abbreviation for it. The work that we do looks at cognitive and emotional factors that produce mood and anxiety disorders, particularly in women.
What is your educational and professional background?
I did my undergrad degree at a small liberal arts college called Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Then, I got my master’s of science and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. My Ph.D. is in clinical psychology. After I graduated and did my degree and moved back to the Northeast, I started working at the veterans’ hospital in Boston. I was there first doing clinical work so primarily seeing patients with mood, anxiety, and trauma-related mental health diagnoses. Then I completed my postdoctoral fellowship in women’s mental health in the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
What makes you interested in studying women’s mental health?
The reason I became interested in women’s mental health is because I have always been interested in studying mental health conditions. These mental health disorders disproportionately affect women. I became interested in how some of the variables I was looking at – cognitive and emotional risk factors – might play a role in the discrepancies we were seeing in terms of women being at greater risk for developing certain mental health conditions and having more difficulty once they had developed them.
What is your favorite part about working with students?
I really love teaching and being in the classroom and taking the work that I have done for so many years and giving that information to students. I like to help students understand what it is like to have a mental health condition while thinking about the ways we can help people with mental health conditions.I would also say I really love having the opportunity to work with students in a one-on-one capacity to be able to talk through ideas about their career plans. I like watching students find their own paths to whatever career they ultimately want.
How has COVID-19 impacted your job?
Pretty much in every way. Obviously, being in a classroom looks very different. The spring was a surprise to everyone and so we all had to adjust and be flexible. Luckily, I feel like my students rose to the occasion in terms of figuring out how to navigate remote learning on such short notice. The first-year seminar I am teaching has been interesting – being able to work with first-year students who are adjusting to life at FSU, but also life at FSU in this strange time.
Why did you come to Framingham State?
It was a long-term goal of mine to move back to working in the psychology department as a psychology professor, teaching and continuing to do my research while working with students. I was excited about FSU because it fit a lot of characteristics of a school I was looking for. I wanted to work primarily with undergraduate students and FSU has predominantly undergraduate students. Being in an environment where the faculty are really dedicated to the undergraduates is something that is special and important to me.
What advice do you have for FSU students?
Balance and enjoying life in college, while thinking about the future. I think sometimes things can get out of balance where people are not preparing for the future at all and kind of just enjoying college. Or vice versa, students can miss out on all the amazing things a school like Framingham State has to offer other than academics. Also, know there’s a lot of resources available to you.