For Meghan Goyer, a Ph.D. candidate in Clinical and Community Psychology, a passion for studying social connectedness and resilience grew from personal tragedy.
When Goyer was 16, a time when most teens are thinking about prom or plans for life after graduation, her mother was killed in a car accident.
“It was sudden and traumatic, but the way I got through it was by having an amazing youth group that provided me with support and community connection,” Goyer said. “I was able to get through it and persevere.”
Since then, Goyer has flourished in her academic career. Recently, she was named as one of 100 doctoral students in the U.S. and Canada to receive the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Scholar Award for academic achievement and potential for having a positive impact on society.
The $20,000 P.E.O. Scholar Award is a competitive, one-time, merit-based award designed to recognize and encourage academic excellence and achievement by women in doctoral-level programs.
Goyer’s research centers around emerging adults, mental health and how social connectedness can help promote resilience. After completing her doctor’s degree, she would like to find employment that allows her to pursue a mix of clinical work, research, science communication, and program development and consultation in the community.
“I want to see how we can help people, not just from a theoretical sense,” Goyer said. “I study evidence-based interventions that use positive psychology to prevent and treat anxiety and depression and promote resilience from childhood to emerging adulthood.”
Goyer is also a fellow for the Educating Psychologists in Innovative Care: Child and Adolescents Research and Empirical Services (EPIC-CARES) project. The project trains graduate students in Georgia State’s clinical psychology program in ways to help disadvantaged children and adolescents in high-need and high-demand areas cope with mental health issues.
In her downtime, Goyer works on a digital resource she created called One Neighborhood at a Time (ONAAT). ONAAT is a website designed to reduce the stigma of mental health in Black communities by offering links to resources, including mental health literature, community providers and hotline numbers.
Goyer said she’s humbled by receiving the P.E.O. Scholar Award and is glad to have found her passion.
“This experience contributes greatly to my passion for mentorship of other women and minorities in pursuing the seemingly impossible,” she said.
— Photo by Raven Schley