I am a fourth-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Program at USM. I was primarily raised in the small town of Shubuta, MS, before moving to Clinton, MS to finish high school.
I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice at USM
before being fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to pursue my doctorate also at USM under
Why did you join the BAR Lab?
As a sophomore undergraduate, I was curious about research opportunities to pursue within
my department to obtain exposure to what research looked like and to potentially prepare myself
for applying to graduate school. I happen to stumble upon an undergraduate research opening in
the BAR lab and, as they say, the rest is history. Nearly seven years later, the BAR lab remains one
of the favorite parts of my professional life.
What excites you about working in the BAR Lab?
The research we do in BAR has such salience and relevance, given that we study alcohol use
among college students. It is pretty cool that we can take what we research in our lab and be able to inform and develop intervention and prevention efforts to encourage safe drinking and promote harm reduction among college students. The real-world implications of what we do feeds my enthusiasm to keep exploring variables associated with college student alcohol use and potentially enact change in the grand scheme of things.
What interests you about college student substance use/misuse?
What interests me most about college student substance use are the many different theoretical explanations for and factors that contribute to it. There are so many opportunities to find your own research interests or niche within this subject area. Take my research focus for instance... Drinking refusal self-efficacy (DRSE), or one's confidence in their ability to refrain from drinking, is a cognitive variable that has only just begun to be fully explored within the context of college student alcohol use. Having the opportunity to not only explore DRSE through my research but to also potentially further our understanding of what contributes to safe and harmful drinking behaviors makes me excited and keeps me motivated to continue doing what I do.
What are your future educational/career plans?
As of now, obtaining an internship at the Department of Veterans Affairs is the primary goal. Following completion of internship and obtaining my doctoral degree, I anticipate pursuing postdoctoral training opportunities centered on providing substance use treatment and assessment to military service Veterans in some shape or form. Hopefully, this will lead to a career as a psychologist with an emphasis in substance use treatment at the VA. Also, given my passion for academia, I would not rule out serving as an adjunct professor teaching a class or two and mentoring students that will eventually become the next generation of mental health professionals.
What are your hobbies/things you like to do outside of the lab?
As a steadfast advocate for self-care, there are many things I like to do outside of research. I love being outdoors, especially when it comes to gardening or landscaping. Moreover, I like participating in recreational sports such as disc golf and racquetball. I am also an avid gamer and spend my time promoting mental health awareness as a Twitch moderator on popular Rocket League and Fortnite streams. But, most of all, I love spending time with my wife, my family, and my friends. Without them, I certainly would not be in the position I am today personally and professionally.