Personal Background: Steven (he/they series) is a second-year Ph.D. student in the clinical science area. He was born and raised in Ferguson, Missouri and around other parts of the greater St. Louis area. Steven is a first-generation college graduate and will be the first person in his family to earn a doctorate as well. As a multiracial individual born to a Black father and a White mother, Steven’s journey with and experience of race is complex and ongoing but fulfilling. Additionally, he identifies as gender-fluid and queer and finds immense joy existing in and contributing to these communities. Though he does not want to be defined solely by his background and identities, Steven appreciates the intersectional identity-space he finds himself in and recognizes the importance of highlighting his background as a signal to others who are underrepresented in these spaces that there is indeed space for them to show up as their full selves.
Current Research Interests: Steven's research interests have converged on questions related to neural and behavioral mechanisms underlying associations of exposure to violence in childhood with the development of impulsivity, aggression, and self- and other-directed violence in adolescence. He is particularly interested in how aberrations in reward processing may contribute to these associations. Further, Steven is interested in bridging the worlds of clinical science, affective developmental neuroscience, and social psychology to better understand how children who have experienced violence classify novel individuals as either “in-group” or “out-group” members, such as how much and what types of information they require to make these classifications and what kinds of biases, behaviors, and mental health difficulties may result.