What do you do?
I currently study behavioral addictions (video gaming, gambling) and substance use (vaping) and their association with mental health correlates.
Why did you choose this field?
I took one Psychology elective in high school, and was instantly intrigued. Who knew we could study human behavior and all the nuances it entailed? Then my interest in addictions was solidified while working on my Undergraduate Honors Thesis on gaming disorder (e.g., video game addiction), an emerging new condition that continues to intrigue me.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
As a kid, one of my bucket list items have always been to become a published author. Never would I have thought that it would mean in the form of a published peer-review article in a scientific journal! Reflecting back now, I can still recall the moment I learned a co-authored paper was accepted for publication. I also never would have imagined publishing a first-author manuscript in my first year of graduate school.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working with like-minded, highly motivated individuals, who are also focused on promoting and improving mental health. I look forward to the day when we can talk about mental health openly, in any space, with any person, and have your unique mental health journey appreciated and accepted.
Best advice for next generation?
Pursue what drives your passion. Be it mathematics, working in a lab as a scientist, or studying engineering. You will make mistakes along the way, but it is these, not your successes, that will define you. Give it a try. I dare you.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky