Umara graduated with highest distinction from the University of Ottawa in 2020 with an Honours B.Sc. in Psychology. Her interest in clinical psychology and research began when she was accepted into the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program as a research assistant to conduct fMRI research with the Brain Imaging Group. Under the supervision of Dr. Smith she worked on two projects: 1) investigating the neurophysiological effects of mindfulness on students suffering from Musical Performance Anxiety, and; 2) exploring how differences in early life sociocultural experiences, such as trauma and stressful events, contribute to neurological changes. In the summer of 2020, she worked as a research assistant with Dr. Stewart’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Clinic as part of the Summer Student Research Education Program at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Umara’s passion for psychology has also led her to seek leadership and volunteer positions with mental health organizations in Canada. She is currently an outreach lead for the National Youth Committee of Anxiety Canada and has volunteered with Best Buddies Canada for over 6 years as well as at the Child, Adolescent and Family Centre of Ottawa and the Alberta Hospital Edmonton in the Mental Health and Addictions Centre.
Umara aspires to become a child clinical psychologist focusing her practice on the adverse neurological and psychosocial effects of early life stress in order to implement interventions which foster positive growth and build resilience in youth. In addition, Umara is interested in exploring how early life deprivation, specifically the lack of a caregiver’s cognitive and emotional support, may hinder cognitive flexibility, emotional regulation and healthy child development. When not in the lab, Umara loves to get out in nature with friends and family whether it is surfing, running, biking, skiing or hiking!