My scientific research interests have focused specifically on the social and cognitive factors associated with substance use and aggression, the protective and risk factors of substance use, misuse and associated harms, and other antecedents that might heighten health risks among vulnerable populations. Currently, my research objectives focus on two lines of research concerning minority and vulnerable populations at the individual- and group-level; 1) elucidating the social and cognitive mechanisms by which individuals use and misuse alcohol and other substances, including tobacco and marijuana, and 2) understanding specific stressors (e.g., discrimination, violence, mistreatment) with a goal to improve health, and psychological and social adjustment. My overarching goal is to conduct research that informs decision making and policies meant to meaningfully impact people's lives.
My academic pathway included diverse exposure to both quantitative and qualitative methodology, a focus on health and social psychology grounded strongly in theory, and an applied application of research with which I aim to continue in my career. I received my doctoral and M.S. degrees in Applied Experimental Psychology from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in Justice from the University of New Hampshire. For five years, I conducted research in the Behavioral Alcohol and Related Studies laboratory at ODU where I studied the social and cognitive factors associated with substance use and aggression among young adults. My research broadly focuses on the psychosocial factors associated with health and substance use, primarily among minority and/or vulnerable populations.