Gabriela Ureña Matos

Gabriela Ureña Matos, Research Coordinator


What is one project you’re excited about that you are working on in the lab right now?

Working with Leslie, Lex, and other folks on the Primary Care Intervention study! From getting to interview families and learn about qualitative coding and community based participatory research, I've been able to get a more well-rounded understanding of other forms of research that I wasn't exposed to in undergrad. It's also a really exciting project and am grateful to have seen some of the beginning stages of it. 

What is something that you enjoy doing outside of work?

I really like to incorporate something creative into my life everyday or a few times a week. It usually ranges from making up or adapting a recipe, dancing, writing poetry, or going to art history lectures. I value these moments highly as they offer a moment of pure relaxation as well as a chance to open my mind to other ways of thinking.

What is something that you are personally working on improving (about yourself, about the world, about your community etc)?

Being still! I’m quite restless and always feel the need to be productive. This past year I've been better about dedicating specific moments each week to doing “nothing” or not working on a personal project.

Give us a snapshot of a moment of joy in your life.

I used to walk these two cute, little dogs in NYC. Ellie, Lily, and I would stroll down Riverside Drive four times a week, usually in the morning hour when the late-comers are the only ones still making their way to work. Halfway through our walks, we would loop back around at Grant’s Tomb (it looks like a DC monument and is where Ulysses S. Grant is buried). I would sit down on one of the stone benches right alongside the monument and take in the golden light filtering down through the leaves of the trees directly across from us. Lily and Ellie would unapologetically seek out pets and we’d sit there for a few minutes bathing in the warm glow of the early morning sun before circling back home.

Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what?

I rowed for a couple of years and considering I'm awful at sports, I'd say that's a talent haha

What brought you to work here?

The incredible work that Kate and the lab are doing as well as the opportunity to learn more about trauma research. I also was excited by the clinical exposure I would receive from working on STAR and getting to work with teens who are always a fun bunch!

If you could be anything (outside from your current field) what would it be?

I would start a community kitchen/cafe/bakery or open up a cafe & flower shop. For the community kitchen idea, I’m inspired by organizations like Hot Bread Kitchen in NYC and La Cocina in SF, which both have incubator programs that work with immigrants and under-represented groups to start their own food-related business. As for the flower shop, I always joke that I’ll own a flower shop in southern France when I retire—so both of these are definitely still options I’m keeping open.

What’s important to know about you?

I really value yoga and the mind-body connection. Yoga has been a part of my life for the last few years, but became a more regular part of my life during the pandemic. I'm always looking for new ways to learn about the practice and its roots and have also made a greater effort to do so in the past year. I also love convincing folks to try yoga, so if you ever need a push just let me know :)