"The University Scholars program is a great opportunity to receive one-on-one mentorship from a faculty member. The training that I hope to receive throughout the course of the project will help me prepare for graduate school. Too, the experience of applying for competitive funding will undoubtedly be beneficial for obtaining funding for future projects. I plan to spend this semester wrapping up several other research projects and preparing to apply to PhD programs in Clinical Psychology. This spring I hope to defend my sociology senior thesis and attend the annual conference of the American Association of Suicidology."
I am primarily interested in a research career, and my coursework is reflective of that interest. With majors in Psychology and Sociology, I hope to gain micro-level and macro-level perspectives on human behavior. With minors in Philosophy and Statistics, I hope to increase my understanding of both the epistemological foundations of knowledge and the practice of empirical observation. My primary research interest is in the etiology, assessment, and treatment of suicidal behavior and ideation.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Hazel E. Nutter Scholarship (2011)
- College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Scholarship (2011)
- UF Golden Key (2010-2011)
- Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Grant (2010)
- Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) (2010)
- Undergraduate Research Paper Competition (2009)
- President's Honor Roll (2009)
- Dean's List (2009-Present)
- Psi Chi National Psychology Honors Society
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- American Association for Suicidology (AAS)
I currently volunteer at the Alachua County Crisis Center in several capacities. As a phone counselor, I answer crisis and 1-800-SUICIDE calls. As a CARE team associate, I assist the CARE team consultant as we respond to crisis situations in the community. We interface with law enforcement, assist with death notifications, and provide counseling support to those affected by the crisis. Also, I have assisted the Crisis Center staff in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, a certification program for law enforcement officers.
Hobbies and Interests
- Traveling, meeting new people, reading, current events, eating, and weightlifting.
Predictors of Suicide in Hurricane Katrina Survivors
The purpose of my study is to determine explanatory factors leading to attempted suicide within the social context of the upheaval following Hurricane Katrina. To accomplish this purpose, I propose to test the explanatory variables posited in Joiner’s (2005) Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide as predictors of suicide attempts in survivors of Hurricane Katrina by analyzing a comprehensive and representative sample of survivors of Hurricane Katrina using data that was collected by Harvard Medical School (Kessler 2006). Variables in the Inter-Personal Psychological Theory of Suicide include thwarted sense of belongingness, burdensomeness to others, and acquired capability for self-harm. A thwarted sense of belongingness occurs when an individual is deprived of social connectedness (e.g. loss of a relationship, loss of a job). A sense of burdensomeness to others occurs when an individual feels that they are making others’ lives difficult. Acquired capability for self-harm deals with habituation to pain, which may decrease fear, which in turn counter-acts the self-preservation instinct. The Hurricane Katrina Community Advisory Group study includes questionnaire items that are ideal for measuring these three constructs. Other variables of interest include measures social upheaval. Logistic regression analyses will be conducted in SPSS following techniques described by Agresti (2002), Kutner et al. (2004), and Field (2007). Thwarted sense of belongingness, burdensomeness to others, acquired capacity for lethal self-harm, social upheaval variables, and demographic variables will be treated as explanatory variables; suicide attempts will be treated as the response variable. This study represents a unique opportunity to conduct an interdisciplinary, multi-level analysis of factors leading to suicide. Additionally, my study has the potential to help fill some gaps in other empirical tests of Joiner’s (2005) Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of suicide by possibly making the theory generalizable to a broader population.