Grad program: Clinical Psychology
Undergrad: BA in Psychology, San Diego State University
Hometown: Centerville, UT
Advisor: Nicholas Eaton
How does it feel to earn an NSF GRF?
I am absolutely thrilled! I am honored and overwhelmed with gratitude to be recognized by the National Science Foundation.
What will this award allow you to do that you might not have done without it?
This fellowship will allow me to devote more of my time to the research, which I am so passionate about, in hopes of bringing about positive change for sexual and gender minorities. It will also provide me with opportunities and experiences to further develop my skills as a research scientist.
What will you research and how might it benefit the world?
Transgender (trans) individuals, those whose gender identity differs from their assigned birth sex, experience extremely high rates of discrimination, rejection, and negative outcomes, including homelessness, suicide, physical and sexual abuse, substance use, social isolation, and poorer mental health and wellbeing. While prejudice against sexual minorities and its effects have been documented, the prejudice experienced by trans individuals and their subsequent reactions are poorly understood. My study is an original effort to examine associations between trans minority stressors and important resulting outcomes. I will also develop a rejection sensitivity scale specific to trans individuals.
My study will provide a scientific foundation for understanding trans individuals’ unique reactions to minority stressors, which will elucidate risk factors, resilience factors, and the mechanisms through which these may operate. This conceptual framework can provide a structure for public health efforts and enrich the scientific understanding of how trans/sexual stigma affects all members of society. Furthermore, analyzing reactions and responses to minority stressors will lead to informed intervention and prevention programs aimed at reducing negative outcomes in the broader trans population.
What sparked your interest in your research, or science in general?
Beginning early in life, I was fascinated with sexuality and gender. This, coupled with my own life experiences as a member of the LGBTQ community and continued efforts in advocacy work for oppressed groups, fostered my interests in studying sexual and gender minority identities.