I research etiology and determinants of substance use and mental health concerns among marginalized adolescent and young adult populations, specifically youth who identify as People of Color and/or sexual minorities. By identifying subgroups with identifiable risk (e.g., experiences of discrimination) and protective factors (e.g., adaptive coping strategies), I aim to support the adaptation and creation of innovative interventions that proximally impact mental health and substance use and distally reduce HIV transmission, suicide, and addiction.
Current project objectives:
Current education and training:
As a doctoral candidate at The Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (anticipated graduation August '20), I work with Dr. Jennifer Maggs, expert in adolescent and early adult substance use and risk taking, and Dr. Bethany Bray, expert in mixture modeling and application of innovative methods to behavioral prevention.
I completed a pre-doctoral fellow through Penn State's NIDA funded (T32) Prevention and Methodology Training (PAMT). This training program facilitated training in and experience using advanced quantitative methods for modeling developmental data and constructs. Under the direction of faculty in Penn State's Methodology Center, I am utilizing time varying effects models, latent class analysis, and multivariate regression to model the effects of discrimination on substance use and mental health outcomes among sexual minorities of color. In addition, with Dr. Maggs, I have investigated the effects of alcohol-free recreation programming as a strategy for reducing college drinking and illicit substance use.
Through PAMT, I have had the opportunity to work with Drs. Linda Caldwell and Nilam Ram on longitudinal analysis of HealthWise South Africa, a school-based, substance use and HIV prevention program primarily serving youth of color in Cape Town.
7/19: Paper accepted for publication in Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
3/19: Awarded scholarship from The National LGBTQ Health Conference to attend the annual meeting in Atlanta, GA, in May.
2/19: Paper published in Leisure Sciences, "Reporting Quantitative Methods and Findings: Best Practices Fidelity in the Leisure Science Literature"
1/19: Awarded the Student SIG Travel Award for Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting.
12/18: Paper accepted to Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting, 2019: "Unpacking the effects of stress and discrimination on substance use: Similarities and differences among Latino, Black, and Multi-Racial/Ethnic young men who have sex with men"
8/18: Submitted F31 Application to NIH: "Linking Multidimensional Experiences of Discrimination to Substance Use Among Young Men of Color Who Have Sex With Men"
5/18: Attended regional workshop on Sexual and Gender Minority Research sponsored by the Fenway Institute and National Institutes of Health.
5/18: "Social Injustice in Mobile Leisure: A Conceptual Exploration of Pokemon Go" now available online.
3/18: Master's thesis completed, "Association of Leisure Boredom with Risky Sexual Debut during Adolescence"
The Methodology Center
Pennsylvania State University