Welcome! I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Human Development and Quantitative Methodology Department of University of Maryland.
Broadly speaking, I seek to understand how and why we become the unique individuals that we are! How come some of us manage to become well-regulated and resilient individuals (sometimes despite going through challenging life experiences), some of us experience social or mental health problems such as anxiety for many years, while a group of us happen to change our mental health trajectories over time? Thanks to developmental and clinical science, we have some answers to these questions, but there is so much more to uncover!
In my research, I examine how our early temperament (whether we were fearful or sociable as toddlers/children), physiological responses (whether we get startled easily and/or experience high levels of stress), the extent to which we can regulate our emotions and thoughts flexibly, and the everyday social interactions we have with our caregivers and peers shape our socioemotional lives and mental health trajectories within the sociocultural context we are embedded in.
My motivation to answer these questions stem from my hands-on experiences with children and families, first as a classroom teacher in Istanbul/Turkey working with families from many different countries, and later as a family-focused clinical counselor working with families from a range of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds in Baltimore, Maryland. The research I do has translational value with potential to guide strategies used to prevent and reduce mental health problems.