Dr. Sherecce Fields conducts research on behaviors including smoking, obesity, and eating disorders in adolescents. Her work focuses on the underlying neural mechanisms that contribute to these problem behaviors.
Can you tell me a little bit about what you study?
My research is focused on developing a bio-behavioral understanding of health-risk behaviors in adolescents and emerging adults. Specifically, I am interested in how impulsivity and other family and psychosocial factors interact to affect prevention and treatment outcomes for adolescent addictive behaviors.
How did you get interested in clinical psychology? Did any particular experience spark your interest in this field?
I initially became interested in clinical psychology after working for a pharmaceutical company. I was always interested in drug use and how it affects the body but realized that just working on drug development was boring and I prefer to work on the prevention side of the puzzle.
How do you hope your research will help improve health or mental health?
My hope is that the basic research I have done so far will be translated to behavioral interventions that could be used for a variety of behaviors to improve the health of adolescents, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
From high school through graduate school, who had the biggest influence on you? Who do you think got you where you are today?
I was incredibly lucky to have several awesome mentors through school. I grew up in a very poor family and no one in my family had ever gone to college. I had several teachers in high school who encouraged me to achieve things that I never knew were possible. I was able to go to an excellent university (Go DUKE!) and had excellent mentors there who helped me navigate an academic experience that was meaningful to me.
What undergraduate courses do you teach, and what do you think is the most important thing for an undergraduate teacher to do for their students?
I have taught Introduction to Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Behavioral Disorders in Children. I think that the most important thing any teacher can do for their students is show that you care AND expect the best from them at all times.
Do you have any undergraduates working with you on research? What can you tell us about them? What do they do, and where are some of them now?
Yes. Students in my lab are trained on behavioral and intellectual assessment techniques. I have students who have gone on to graduate school in PhD programs at The Ohio State University and University of Northern Texas as well as Masters Programs around the country. I even had one student study in Iceland (!!) funded by a Fulbright Fellowship