Javier graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Cognitive Science in 2021. At UCF, Javier’s initial steps in psychology began with an internship in a K-8 school program based in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Here, he found an initial love for working with adolescents. After this experience, Javier worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in Dr. Kimberly Renk’s Understanding Children and Families Lab. The Understanding Children and Families Lab examined the connection between caregivers and their young child struggling with various complications such as changes in caregivers, substance use disorders, trauma, and abuse or neglect issues. Based on the application of Circle of Security, the lab aimed to understand better how these complications afflict the strength of the relationship between caregivers and their young child.
While working within the lab setting and completing his undergraduate education, he additionally gathered clinical experience as a Mental Health Technician at La Amistad Behavioral Health Services. This role entailed maintaining a safe milieu for patients in an adult residential psychiatric facility. Alongside this, Javier gained ample experience processing through intense emotional states, de-escalation, and conducting therapeutic group activities for a plethora of diverse patients. Working as a Mental Health Technician later prepared Javier’s transition into a Milieu Counselor role in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. He expanded his clinical skills at Boston Children’s Hospital within a more acute psychiatric setting. Javier worked alongside treatment teams to assist patients through the difficulties of psychiatric treatments.
This culmination of experience helped shape his passion for diligent research in trauma and social disadvantage afflicting developing adolescents while assisting patients in inpatient psychiatric settings. With this sentiment in mind, Javier intends to strengthen and explore his research curiosities while working in the Stress and Development Lab. During this time of exploration, he will be looking into Ph.D. programs in Clinical Psychology for his next educational endeavor. Outside of the lab, Javier loves to spend time skateboarding, learning guitar, doing photography, and being lost in the woods.