My primary responsibilities include community-oriented research in rural areas across Central and Southern Illinois, with a particular focus on family health and well-being, as well as developing interventions, manuscript/ grant writing, and mentoring students.
As a Midwest native, my education began in my home state of Michigan. In 2012, I graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with an applied statistics minor and a Bachelor of Arts in German. I left Michigan to enter Saint Louis University for a dual Master’s and PhD program in experimental psychology. My concentrations were developmental psychology and quantitative methods in behavioral sciences. Concurrently, I worked for Pennsylvania State University’s Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center for over 5 years in national intervention programs to support youth. This experience led me to desire focusing on prevention research more locally. I joined the Division of Human and Community Development in the Department of Population Science and Policy in fall 2018.
My focuses are in parenting, cultural awareness, and community-based participatory research. My concentration on cultural awareness has been of particular importance in my professional development. In 2010, I one of 35 chosen from the U.S. and Canada to be a DAAD Young Ambassador. I was the first in West Michigan to be named and served for two years. In 2014, I was one of 40 selected worldwide to attend the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology PhD Summer School program in Reims, France. The term “culture” extends past nationality; it is the values, attitudes and behaviors of a group. I look forward understanding the culture of rural communities and building a stronger future for families in Central and Southern Illinois.