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Elise Vesta-Dowdy, Ph.D.

 

Psychology 2003

Area of Doctoral Study:  Human Services Psychology
Undergraduate Institution: Hampton University
Research Advisor: Kenneth Maton, Ph.D.

Current: Contractor, Lockheed Martin

Description of Research

As a Meyerhoff Graduate Student, Elise Vestal has access to the resources that lie behind the first U.S. presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. “Working with Dr. Maton and his evaluation of the undergraduate Meyerhoff program, I have had the opportunity to assist in the collection process and use some of the data for my master’s thesis,” says Elise. Her advisor, Kenneth Maton, professor of psychology, is collaborating with President Freeman Hrabowski, Geoffrey Greif, associate dean and professor in the School of Social Work at UMB, and senior research associate Monica Greene, on a companion book to the group’s nationally acclaimed¬†Beating the Odds, Raising Successful African-American Males. Their second book will focus on raising successful African American women. Research for both projects centers on the Meyerhoff Scholars Program for undergraduates which supports minority involvement in math, the sciences and engineering and which was recognized by the presidential award. As a research assistant to Maton, Elise has had the opportunity to work with female Meyerhoff undergraduate scholars through interviews which form the basis for the new book. Also, she has been involved in administering questionnaires to the Meyerhoff students. The questionnaire data include scales from Elise’s master’s thesis, “Perceived sources of socialization for achievement in a sample of African American women in college.” Specifically, Elise is interested in critical events that are perceived to be instrumental to academic success for these women. She says the Meyerhoff Graduate Program has been supportive of both her personal and professional growth, “The Meyerhoff Program provides a social support network to minority students pursuing graduate degrees at UMBC.”