By: Liz Inman
EDUCATION: BA in Psychology with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from the College of the Holy Cross. PhD student in Social/Health Psychology at Stony Brook University.
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Intimate partner violence, and sexual/reproductive health
CURRENT RESEARCH: My current research looks at the potential relationship between rejection sensitivity and intimate partner violence, and how that relationship might differ by gender. I am also working on a review of treatment outcomes for opioid use disorder in pregnant women.
FUTURE GOALS: To become either a professor at a small liberal arts college or a researcher at a nonprofit dedicated to sexual and reproductive justice and health.
Why did you want to be a part of GWiSE?
I received an email from GWiSE about their book club meeting, and I noticed that I already had the book! I attended that first meeting and was excited to meet women in other fields and build some interdisciplinary friendships.
What/who got you interested in your field?
My undergraduate mentor showed me that it was possible to use the research process to define and measure the social inequalities that drive my activist spirit. Under her guidance, I was able to take my anger surrounding sexual assault on college campuses and channel it into data collection and analysis, which ultimately yielded concrete suggestions for improvement. That was an awesome experience, and planted the idea of pursuing a PhD in psychology.
What do you think needs to happen for there to be more women in science/engineering?
Oh, so many things! Real, structural change is necessary to fix the ‘leaky pipeline’ that keeps women from advancing in science. This includes ensuring all qualified candidates are offered equal salary, lab space, and sabbatical opportunities in their hiring packages, guaranteeing paid family leave to allow scientists to take time off for childbirth and to care for ailing relatives, and implementing programs to increase awareness of and consequences for harmful behaviors like sexual harassment and abuse. Women want to be in these fields, but the data are telling us that there are too many roadblocks that we need to break down – especially for women of color and queer women.
Most interesting place I have visited:
After college, I spent a semester teaching in a boarding school in rural Kenya. I experienced a lot of loneliness, encountered dozens of really big insects, and confronted my dependence on mindless distraction (instagram!) as a coping mechanism. But I also experienced so much kindness and generosity, learned a little bit of Swahili, and learned how to be a stronger, braver, and more self-reliant person. And I met several giraffes, which was unreal.
Name one thing you started in the last year that you are glad you did and why:
I have never been an impulsive person, but when my lab mate found 3 stray kittens, I knew I needed to take the quietest, shyest one. It was not the best time in my life to suddenly get a pet (I had to hide her in my apartment for 2 months before my lease was up) but she is an awesome little weirdo and a great companion.
If you were given two million dollars, how would you spend it to benefit the most people?
I would use it all to fund contraceptive initiatives for marginalized women. A recent book by Melinda Gates includes research that suggests that the ability to plan and space births increases maternal and newborn health and improves nutrition and education for the other children in those families.
If you could only live in one area (city/beach/mountains/desert/plains) for the rest of your life, where would you live and why?
I will always choose the beach – I’m a pisces!