Robyn Espinosa

Robyn Espinosa, Graduate student, Occupational and Environmental Health

Sheds light on childhood trauma

• Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Carri Casteel, Associate Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Occupational and Environmental Health, December 2020
• Please describe your research: I am working to better understand how childrens’ past traumas and experiences shape their risks of being prone to deviant and antisocial behaviors leading some to be repeat juvenile offenders. Essentially, showing whether or not direct childhood adversity and community adversity have an effect on the success of juvenile justice programming for rehabilitation.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter?  I hope my research sheds light on the need to understand the full picture of why children are misbehaving and committing crimes. Hopefully this leads to improving the justice system and the programs offered to the detainees. The fact that we all have different backgrounds of experiences and traumas we should take these into consideration when we are prescribing programs for the youth.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I participated in research within a month of arriving in Iowa City. The opportunity presented itself and I was able to be an assistant on a research project within the College of Public Health immediately. It was outside of my department, but I enjoy being exposed to multiple research types and seeing how they address issues with research.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? I’ve learned to plan and prepare for the day and move through tasks more systematically.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I plan to stay in academia, I really enjoy conducting research and lecturing.

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