Maya Hernandez

PhD Candidate, Critical Scholar, Creative

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I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological and Brain Science from the Johns Hopkins University and Master of Arts in Social Ecology. I have vast experience in clinical research at top-tier research institutions in the US. Outside of academia, my professional skills include floristry and design and non-profit organization leadership.

I am currently entering my final year at the University of California, Irvine as a PhD Candidate in Social Ecology. This interdisciplinary program has enabled me to focus on critical approaches to understanding the relation between social technology use and adolescent development and mental health. Specifically, I study ways in which racial-ethnic identity centrality during adolescence impacts the way young people seek out mental health support in online social ecosystems and potential solutions for creating evidence-based, accessible and culturally competent digital mental health resources. I leverage a multi-method approach by analyzing and interpreting cross-sectional and longitudinal data with multilevel modeling and structural equation modeling. I also conduct qualitative studies to assess research integration of youth voices through participatory action and youth advisory structures.

Growing up in a military family with numerous experiences across the world, I am inspire by the diverse environments that have surrounded me and has shaped me to be the biracial critical scholar that I am today. The evolution of the digital age in my own upbringing also inspires me to help reinforce digital ecosystems that supports wellbeing and enables young people to feel empowered.


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