1. First, list your current professional title. Second, describe your background, experience, and research as it relates to Quality-of-life studies. Feel free to describe this in detail.
I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts Boston in the School of Global Inclusion and Social Development. I also work as a research assistant with the Think College National Coordinating Center. Both my undergraduate and master level degrees focus on social work and non-profit work. I have always felt drawn to working with and helping people. Before entering my Ph.D. program and being introduced to quality-of-life studies, I did not connect the two. Before this program I had the opportunity to work with different populations in different roles such as social work, healthcare, and higher education. My master’s research centered around the experiences of LGBTQ+ college student experiences at a more conservative university. This research was twofold. First, it allowed me to examine if the university is enriching and empowering LGBTQ students personally, academically, and professionally. Secondly, the research helped provide the university with useful recommendations on how to promote greater inclusion and support services for LGBTQ students. Out of this, I was able to advocate for students to provide more LGBTQ+ campus programing, events, and resources. These changes all contributed to improving the quality-of-life and well-being of LGBTQ+ students at this campus. My dissertation research focuses on LGBTQ+ college student experiences finding support during the Covid-19 Pandemic. It is through this that I was first introduced to quality-of-life and well-being studies. Dr. Patsy Kraeger encouraged me to explore these areas as it would significantly influence my research. As I work though analysis and embark on writing, these two areas will continue to influence my analysis and findings. I have also had the opportunity to submit a book chapter for the edited volume Social (In)equality, Community Well-being, and Quality of Life. Titled, Reimagining LGBTQ+ Student Inclusion and Support, explores how to better promote LGBTQ+ inclusion and support of youth in grades K – 12 in the United States.
2. What initially attracted you to the field of quality-of-life studies?
In the School of Global Inclusion and Social Development we are trained to think and research transdisciplinary. As I was doing this for my dissertation research, a mentor introduced me to quality-of-life studies, and it just made sense. I try to approach my area of research holistically, and that is what quality-of-life helps me do. When I was creating my approach and framework for my study, I was piecing together ideologies from different disciplines and quality-of-life tied everything together while giving me the ability to pull from student development theories and queer theory.
3. What are some areas of quality-of-life studies you feel are lacking attention? Any advice for future QoL researchers?
Being new to the field of quality-of-life, I am curious about studies that apply QoL frameworks qualitatively to minority populations. Further, how can QoL and well-being frameworks be applied and used to advocate for intersectional minority populations.
4. How long have you been a member of ISQOLS? Why did you choose to be a member of ISQOLS? How has your involvement in ISQOLS impacted your career/research/advancement in your knowledge of QoL studies?
I became a member of ISQOLS in 2021 when I was accepted to present at the ISQOLS annual conference. Though remote, it was a wonderful experience. The conference was virtual, and I expected to have limited engagement based on other virtual conferences, but I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone was welcoming and engaging, folks gave great feedback, and it was so valuable because of the vastly different experiences and backgrounds of everyone present. Being a member also gave me the opportunity to audit the ISQOLS Psychology of wellbeing certificate course. I believe this course will help strength the foundation literature of my dissertation in QoL and wellbeing studies. I am excited to meet folks at the 2022 conference in Vermont.
5. Feel free to include any other important comments or things you'd like to share with the ISQOLS community.
The members of ISQOLS are some of the most welcoming groups of individuals. I truly appreciate kindness and thoughtful feedback shown to one another. I will continue to explore and be a student of the QoL and well-being field. I hope to have the opportunity to connect with folks from this field that conduct research in the LGBTQ+ community.
The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS)