San Francisco State University, Dual B.A. in Child Development and Industrial Design, Visual Design
Tell us about yourself and what you are currently doing:
I am a PhD candidate in Social Work in the USC Suzanne Dwork-Peck School of Social Work. My research focuses on exploring how social network and social media can be used to increase HIV prevention among young Black women aged 18-24. My work has examined ego-centric and sociometric networks of young Black women, as well as used artificial intelligences to determine the optimal information diffusion methods using maximum influence approximation algorithms. After completing my PhD, I plan to continue my research examining HIV prevention among young Black women and their social network members, and I plan to develop social network-based HIV interventions for this population.
How has your M.A. in Sexuality Studies helped get you to be where you are today?
My M.A. was essential in getting me to where I am today. Through my exposer to research methods and theories focused on sexuality, I gained the knowledge and skills needed to formulate my own thoughts and theories regarding how sexual decision-making takes place among populations of young Black women. My research with my mentor, Dr. Colleen Hoff, provided me with hand on experience conducting HIV prevention studies and analyzing data that examined sexual health decision-making among MSM couples. Combined, my research experience and my course work prepped me to be a strong candidate for a PhD program.
What advice would you give to someone interested in your profession?
My advice is to seek out opportunities that would allow you to collaborate with others while furthering your knowledge and skills in the particularly research or practice area in which you may be interested. Collaborating across disciplines as well as having diverse experiences in research and practice has assisted me with thinking outside of the box when addressing large issues such as HIV prevention within social networks of young Black women.