One of the most influential courses during my undergraduate studies in psychology was “An Introduction to Stress” by Dr. Jim Blascovich. In this course, I was especially intrigued by Dr. Elissa Epel’s research on stress and its impact on telomeres. Dr. Epel found that chronic stress could shorten telomere length and effectively accelerate a person’s aging process. The impact of stress on cellular structure that can lead to changes in person’s physical appearance, health and life expectancy peaked my interest. I was also intrigued by a course called “Intimate Relationships” by Dr. Nancy Collins that explored the relationships that we make. In this course, the topic of the neural bases of compassion spurred me on combining two fields of psychophysiology and social relationships. Stemming from this research, I would like to further study the impact of emotion regulation on social relationships. For example, how does social pain motivate individuals to prompt emotion regulatory responses such as cognitive reappraisal? In addition, I am interested in the neural bases of social rejection and pain.
Having been diagnosed with hydrocephalus since birth and undergoing multiple brain surgeries throughout my childhood and adolescence, I have a personal understanding of physical and psychological stressors that can impact a person’s well being. For example, why do certain patients get worse during post-operative periods when they are under stress? I was fascinated with stress and their impact on health recovery and resilience and these interests led me to pursue a major in psychology. My long-term ambition is to be a researcher that focuses on stress, emotion regulation and anxiety disorders using psychophysiolog...
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...University of Pittsburgh for several reasons. I am attracted to the University of Pittsburgh’s interdisciplinary approach to psychology and the outstanding faculty. Particularly, the strong focus of the Biological and Health area of emphasis is one that meshes well with what I am looking for in a program. In researching University of Pittsburgh’s Psychology program, the work of Drs. Tristen Inagaki and Peter Gianaros particularly piqued my interest. Dr. Inagaki 's research in social affective neuroscience and her work with social relationships and the correlation with health is very much what I am interested in doing. I would be very excited to join the incoming class at the University of Pittsburgh for 2016. I feel I am well prepared to enter graduate study, and my strong motivation and career goals is a good match for what University of Pittsburgh has to offer.
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