Growing up in eastern Kentucky, in the heart of the Appalachian region of the United States, I was fascinated by questions of meaning in life and devastated by the hardship I witnessed at home and abroad. Education has been my ticket to exploring these two themes: meaning and inequity. With generous support through the Brown Fellows Program, I immersed myself in the liberal arts and sciences at Centre College, studying neuroscience and mathematics as well as philosophy and religion. I lived as a monastic for a summer in a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan, investigated crime scenes and defended the underserved in Washington, DC, and carried out a final-year thesis on spiritual memoirs and autobiographies. After examining the association between the immune system and mental illness through the MPhil in Epidemiology at Cambridge, I joined research teams at Dartmouth College, where we have explored self-regulation as a mechanism of behaviour change and conducted policy-focused research on the US opioid crisis. During my PhD I will address a critical question: Given similar histories of adversity, why do some children do better than others? Studying resilience may help us improve well-being and could lead toward greater health and educational equity. I look forward to working with others in the Gates Cambridge community as we explore fundamental life questions and help others thrive.
University of Cambridge Master of Philosophy Epidemiology 2015
Centre College Bachelor of Science Behavioral Neuroscience 2014