A Little (Actually Sort of A Lot) About Me!
My research journey has been a long and winding one! I began my research journey during high school, when I did a summer of research at Brown University. I was particularly interested in genetic susceptibility loci for anorexia nervosa, and I was excited about working in a lab. My interest in eating disorders is, admittedly, a personal one as much as it is a professional one. I struggled with anorexia for many years of my life until finally getting treatment in my early twenties. My experience of anorexia motivates and informs the work I do.
I continued my education at Villanova University. During my second year at Villanova, I was required to take a course on gender, and it completely shifted my worldview. I started reading more research and pop psychology books about gender and eating disorders and developed a profound fascination with the intersection of the two. I completed my master's thesis through the combined BA/MS program at Villanova University, where my work focused on the role of employment in eating disorder onset, maintenance, and recovery. I conducted a grounded theory analysis of interviews I conducted with 88 men and women living with and recovering from eating disorders while employed. The results from this massive project, the first qualitative thesis out of Villanova, have been published in Psychology of Women Quarterly (women's experiences) and Psychology of Men and Masculinities (men's experiences).
I transitioned to Western University, where I completed my doctoral studies under the supervision of Dr. Rachel Calogero. I began my PhD right around the time of the #MeToo movement, and I was fascinated by people's resistance to support the movement, particularly when it would benefit them. Therefore, my dissertation focused on feminist identity ambivalence, or the uncertainty many people feel about their involvement and alignment with feminism. To date, two papers have been published from this work: a critical analysis of instruments used to evaluate feminist attitudes and identity (Sex Roles) and a qualitative analysis of cisgender men's feminist identity growth and development (Psychology of Men and Masculinities).
As the coordinator for the Stigma, Objectification, Bodies, and Resistance, I found myself involved in a variety of additional research projects related to feminism, eating disorders, and sexual objectification. With my outstanding team of mentors and collaborators, I published work on topics such as: the validation of a new measure of body shame (Body Image), an examination of personal safety anxiety among women (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology), an analysis of college-aged men's definitions of rape (Psychology of Men and Masculinities), a review of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on eating disorders (Eating Disorders: Journal of Treatment and Prevention), and a thematic analysis of fathers' conversations about body image with their young daughters (Body Image) . During this time, my scholarship was supported by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship and a Network for Economic and Social Trends Doctoral Fellowship.
I also found myself involved in conversations about the Open Science Framework, particularly the intersection of open science and feminist science. In particular, as a qualitative researcher, I found several of the core tenets of open science to be at odds with some of the more post-positivist work I was doing. With the support of fabulous mentors, I decided to pitch a special issue of Psychology of Women Quarterly on the topic, and it was an incredible experience. The special issue has been awarded the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology, and I have presented this work at conferences, in classrooms, and to the UN Department of Global Communications.
I transitioned to the Body Image, Sexuality, and Health Lab at San Diego State University in 2021 to work as the project director of the PRIDE Body Project. The PRIDE Body Project is an NIH-funded R01 clinical trial of an eating disorders prevention for sexual minority men. I have loved my time as a postdoctoral research scholar in the BISH lab! I spend my days mentoring students, teaching classes, leading a team of researchers on the R01, and conducting my own research. My most prominent stream of research during my time as a postdoc has been a large grounded theory analysis of eating disorders in diverse romantic relationships. Specifically, I have interviewed dozens of women, men, and nonbinary people about the ways in which the eating disorder affects their relationship (and visa-versa!) and the strategies they and their partners use to combat the difficulties that the condition poses for the relationship (and other areas of life). I adore this project, and I can't wait for us to finish coding and get it out in the world!
I also hold a courtesy postdoctoral assistant position at Florida International University, in the Power, Women, and Relationships Lab. There, I work closely with Dr. Asia Eaton on projects related to sexual violence, particularly image-based sexual abuse. We have been analyzing the data from an NSF-funded study on image-based sexual violence victimization during the COVID-19 pandemic, which will hopefully be out in the world soon.
Today, I live in Southern California with the love of my life and our dozens of plants. Together, my partner and I enjoy traveling, photography, and seeing every musical we can (our favorite so far has been the gender-flipped version of Company on Broadway -- we were devastated when it closed).