PhD in Psychology

Claire Niehaus

Claire Niehaus

2020 Dean's Challenge Award Recipient

Claire has shown a commitment to learning about, researching, and practicing in underserved communitieacross her time at George Mason. She believes that it is imperative that as a field of psychology and across disciplines, we learn how to better serve diverse and underserved groups towards a shared goal of a more egalitarian society.

She has worked towards these goals by learning from diverse perspectives through interdisciplinary teams, confronting her biases by practicing in underserved communities, and committing to increasing diversity in research. First, Claire has worked on interdisciplinary teams such as participating in and presenting her own research at ongoing Center for Adaptive Systems of Brain Body Interactions (CASSBI) meetings with colleagues in engineering, biology, neuroscience and psychology and serving as a clinician and researcher on an intervention study of pediatric obesity in Latinx immigrant families with scientists from the nutrition, kinesiology, and psychology departments.

She also is committed to seeking clinical opportunities working in underserved communities, such as her current externship setting working in integrated primary care in a highly impoverished and ethnically diverse area of D.CLastly, she is committed to expanding psychological research, which overwhelmingly focuses on white individuals, to more diverse contexts by collecting her own dissertation data looking at the impact of immigration stress on parenting and the brain in newly-immigrated Latinx mothers, for which she was awarded $18,000 in grants to conduct

It is her vision that as scientists and practitioners we can continue to better understand the needs of underserved groups and create a future where all individuals are able to receive quality and culturally-sensitive mental health care.