Dr. Kimberly Lawrence

Health Psychology
Virginia State University

About Me

I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Old Dominion University prior to starting my PhD journey at Virginia State University. I thought I was going to be an engineer just like my cousin. I have always admired the amazing woman that she is and wanted to be just like her. I just defended my dissertation and very excited to be ending one journey and starting a new one!

How was your experience with STEM classes and teachers in middle and high school?

My experience was alright. I have always liked science and technology. Once I understood math, that was a breeze. But I also knew I wanted to help people and give a voice to the outsider.

What’s next for you?

Let’s see, first and foremost find a job. I have taught for the past four years so I would love to continue that. At this point, I do not want to limit my options because the world is mine for the taking.

What do you do to unwind?

I LOVE CRAFTING!!! Painting, sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, cooking, you name it I’ll try it. I also have found a love of working out. It makes me feel so good after even though it sucks while doing it.

My Research

Tell us about your graduate research

I’m working on my PhD in Health Psychology with a focus on Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. My current research focus looks at intersectionality theory, gender roles, and gender consciousness and mental health – that’s my dissertation work which I will defend next week, last step to being a Doctor!! I have a Masters in Clinical Psychology as well.

What motivated you to pursue this line of research?

After taking my first gender studies class, I felt like I had found a home to express myself in a way that I could have never done before. I decided that I had to find a way to combine both my passion for Psychology with my love of gender studies.

What is the coolest thing about your research?

Through my research, I feel I am able to give a voice to topics that are near and dear to me.

What is the most challenging part of research for you?

The hardest part of research, in my opinion, is the research. Finding every piece that you need that matches with your ideas and direction can be time consuming and difficult.

My Grad School Experience

Why did you choose to go to Grad School?

My mom actually influenced me to go. She encouraged me to not take a break because it makes it harder to want to go back. Looking back, I am glad I listened to her. Now I am almost done!!!!

Do you ever feel discouraged? How do you get around that?

YES!!!! I would be lying through my teeth if I say there were not times where I wanted to give up. What helped me though was my faith, my AWESOME support system, and sheer determination that I could conquer the beast.

Who are some of your biggest cheerleaders?

My mom has always been my biggest cheerleader hands down! My family is super amazing. I know I can always go to them when I feel like giving up, crying, and during the happy times.

I have also developed a great support system from friends in the research lab I work in. There are some special professors that I know I can go to. There are 2 in particular has been there for me ever since I have started grad school and have given me guidance and even that swift kick in the butt when I needed it.

What has been the most useful life advice you have received?

Be ready!!!! It becomes easy to get stuck in one area and not see the world around you. When you become so focused on one thing, you do not allow the freedom that comes along with life to guide you through the ups and downs. Will you always be ready for what life has to throw at you….nope. But believing in your abilities to conquer what is before you will make it easier to keep pushing.

What do you want to say to up and coming Melanin Genius?

JUST BE YOU!!!! Too many times, I have tired to fit into molds that people had set for me. I tried to be what society said I should be. After years of failing at this I realized that the only way for me to be happy with myself is to just be me. There are times when I look and say I wish I was different…I am human. Then I remind myself that there is someone out there who might feel just like I did and do. It is okay to feel like an outsider because that is when the door opens for true creativity.

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