Physical Health; Exercise; Physiology; Behavioral Interventions; Distress Disorders; Scientist-Practitioner-Activism; Cultural Humility
Patricia Mejia is a doctoral student in the Psychological Fitness Lab. Prior to attending GMU, she was a Monarch 𓃬 (ODU) and a Ragin' Cajun ⚜️ (ULL).
Her current research focuses on the intersection between psychological (i.e., anxiety, depression, PTSD) and physical health (e.g., pain, inflammation), and the underlying mechanisms (e.g., emotion regulation, experiential avoidance) that may play a role in the relation. Particularly, she is interested in utilizing multi-method approaches including physiological tools (e.g., cortisol, HRV) and behavioral interventions (acceptance-based, exercise) to study the factors relevant in the development, maintenance, and treatment of psychological disorders.
Further, her interest and dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion have always been at the center of her educational career. In her undergraduate and graduate studies, she sought out unique learning experiences with underrepresented communities in clinical and research settings. Specifically, she has worked with individuals with multiple intersecting identities who are; undocumented immigrants, non-native English speakers, military veterans, survivors of abuse, experiencing homelessness, HIV positive, disabled, women, children/adolescents, experiencing a natural disaster, from low socio-economic backgrounds, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Patricia aims to help fill the current mental healthcare gap and address barriers (e.g., adverse social determinants of health) that underserved communities face.
Patricia is interested in a future career in academia as a Scientist-Practitioner-Activist. She has attended numerous workshops/conferences with a focus on intersectionality and inclusivity for students from racial and ethnic backgrounds including African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American to eliminate racism, empower scholars to enter the professoriate, and address healthcare injustice.
If you are a student that is interested in learning more about what it is like to navigate college or graduate school while being from an underrepresented community (e.g., first-gen, immigrant, LGBTQIA+, disabled, military, multi-racial, ethnic), feel free to reach out!☻
In her free time, Patricia enjoys the outdoors, eating doughnuts, and thrifting.
Languages: English (Fluent), Spanish (Advanced), French (Basic)
Patricia is actively involved in the Mason: Health Starts Here transdisciplinary student cohort study to understand and improve the health and well-being of university students.
M.S. in Psychology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
B.S. in Psychology, Old Dominion University