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Who's Involved

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Lauren E. Gulbas, Ph.D.


As a medical anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas, my research integrates a unique conceptual lens with advanced qualitative and ethnographic methodologies to understand how people navigate complex sociocultural landscapes in the pursuit of mental health. One of the most exciting elements of my research is the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines to address salient disparities in health and mental health.


Chidera Orazulike

Research Assistant

Raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Chidera Orazulike is a third-year at UT Austin majoring in Radio, TV, & Film with a minor in African and African Diaspora Studies. Passionate about amplifying marginalized voices and telling their stories, they are involved in the Queer and Trans Black Indigenous People of Color Agency and Texas Black Lens. Through their work in screenwriting and sound design, they hope to shed the Western perspective of mental health and provide representation to indigenous ontologies and practices. 

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Trinity Ngo

Research Assistant

Trinity Ngo is a second-year English and Rhetoric and Writing major at UT Austin, pursuing a minor in Asian American Studies. She is from Houston, TX and plans to attend graduate school for her Ph.D. in the future. Her focus lies on mental health in Asian American literature, which encouraged her participation in the lab, along with an overarching interest in resiliency practices after her enrollment in Dr. Gulbas’ class. Aside from working in the AQRL, she is a Writing Fellow for Liberal Arts Honors and a Writing Consultant at the University Writing Center.

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Abigail Arratia

Research Assistant

Abigail Arratia is a first-year BS Biology major at UT Austin on a pre-medical track with aspirations of becoming a pediatric oncologist. In Galveston, TX, she is active in a nonprofit organization that aims to provide necessities and support to homeless women and children. With these experiences, her motives for joining the lab surround supporting the mental health of others and making contributions towards their relief. In the Advanced Qualitative Research Lab, she hopes to learn more about UT’s community and collaborate on projects aimed towards assessing the wellbeing of students.


Tessa Whitham

Research Assistant

Tessa Whitham is a first-year Psychology major with a minor in Italian Studies at UT Austin. After graduating, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Her main interests include the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders and the impact/efficacy of CBT and other psychological treatments. Through her work in the Advanced Qualitative Research Lab, Tessa hopes to gain more insight into the stressors that college students face and identify accessible ways to mitigate them.


Kathleen Tiernan

Research Assistant

Originally from Falls Church, Virginia, Kathleen Tiernan is a junior in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. In addition to pursuing a Bachelor’s in Social Work, she is working on a certificate in Human Rights and Social Justice through the Bridging Disciplines Program. Kathleen is interested in the utilization of qualitative research to combat mental health disparities in traditionally underserved communities. She is very excited to be joining the lab this semester!

Past Members

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Adam J Wesevich

Research Assistant

Adam Wesevich graduated from UT Austin with a BS in Psychology and a minor in pre-Health professions, with the hopes of attending medical school. He has worked on the DMHC project for almost three years and is currently in the process of getting a manuscript published, focusing on the different ethical dilemmas faced by medical students in their 3rd-year clerkship. He is also currently working on the Adolescent Self-Harm project, researching a population he hopes to soon be able to assist as he is working towards becoming a psychiatrist.

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