Sci-Tea Talks Policy: Childhood Exposure to Violence and Risk For Psychopathology

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Steven Kasparek (he/they) is a graduate student at Harvard University pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Science. He graduated Summa Cum Laude (with the highest honors) in Psychology from Middlebury College. Steven has participated in numerous research opportunities at various institutions, including Middlebury College, Stanford, the National Institutes of Health, University of Washington, and now Harvard. Steven's current research interests converge on better understanding factors related to risk for aggressive and self- or other-directed violent behavior in adolescence following experiences of exposure to violence in childhood. He is also interested in how aberrations in reward processing behaviors and neural circuitry may contribute to these associations. You can follow Steven on Twitter @swkasparek

Nirva LaFortune moved to Rhode Island from Haiti when she was three years old. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Temple University and an M.A in Urban Education Policy at Brown University. Currently, Nirva is a Providence City Councilwoman as well as Assistant Director for Scholars Programs and Diversity Initiatives at Brown University. She has over 15 years of experience in academic advising, program management, student recruitment, and community engagement. Some of the topics Nirva advocates for are affordable housing, support for minority and women-owned businesses, community development, prudent financial planning, and increasing transparency and community engagement in municipal affairs. She is also very passionate about having great public schools available for every child as well as making Providence safe for immigrants. Nirva has officially announced her bid to run for Providence mayor in 2022! You can follow Nirva on Twitter @Nirva_LaFortune or on IG @nirvar_lafortune.


Join us (Nanci and Ryan) in a conversation with Steven Kasparek and Nirva LaFortune about childhood exposure to violence, risk for psychopathology⁠, and how we can support children who have been exposed to violence. We discuss Steven's research on how violence exposure in childhood relates to social information processing biases that can affect how children perceive and react to others. Nirva relates and applies Steven's research to her job as a policymaker, and discusses the demographics and school system in Providence. We all discuss how Covid-19 has had an impact on these topics, and we end the conversation with insights on how everyone can help support children who have been exposed to violence.