| Nathan Grant Smith, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences
Professor, Counseling Psychology
Research/Teaching Interests: I am affiliated with the Counseling Psychology doctoral program and direct the CORE (COping & REsilience) Research Team. I conduct research on health disparities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer adults. My research focuses on the impact of minority stress on mental and behavioral health outcomes of LGBTQ persons, particularly outcomes such as sexual health, substance use and mental health. I am interested in identifying intervenable factors that can promote health and well-being, and my research includes the development of interventions to increase resilience.
What do you enjoy about UH and Houston? Houston is a vibrant city with a diverse population. As such, there are endless opportunities for great food, art and entertainment. New vegan restaurants and dog-friendly bars are opening all the time — two of my favorite things! Like Houston, UH serves diverse students, faculty and staff. I appreciate being able to live and work in a culturally diverse environment. Moreover, I value the College of Education’s shared commitment to ending health and educational disparities.
|Virmarie Correa-Fernández, Ph.D.
Associate Chair, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences
Associate Professor, Health (primary)/Counseling Psychology (secondary)
Research/Teaching Interests: My research and scholarship focus heavily on two main areas: understanding psychosocial determinants of tobacco dependence and cessation outcomes; and developing and testing behavioral interventions that are culturally relevant for Latinx who smoke. I have a particular interest in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and its applicability to smoking cessation and the comorbidity of tobacco dependence and affective disorders.
What do you enjoy about UH and Houston? I definitely enjoy the cultural diversity of Houston as evidenced by its people, culinary options and arts/festivals/music. I like the access to a variety of well-maintained parks, the possibility of enjoying activities outdoors, as well as the relative proximity to other cities/towns of interest. UH is a microcosm of Houston in terms of cultural diversity and I enjoy the environment it creates. I also value UH leadership and its constant goals of being a top tier university and serving the local community.
| Erica Jordan, Ph.D.
Assistant Chair for Student Success, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences
Clinical Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Sciences
Research/Teaching Interests: I am passionate about undergraduate education and feel privileged to empower students with the ability to critically evaluate claims that are so readily presented to them about families in society. My specific teaching interests include courses that expand students’ understanding about the many internal and external factors that can influence family dynamics and courses that expose students to career opportunities within our field.
What do you enjoy about UH and Houston? I was attracted to UH because of the diversity of its student body and the diverse cultures represented within Houston. A variety of perspectives is especially enriching for the classroom when discussing families. On a personal note, Houston is also a wonderful place for families to explore, and it has been a great place for my partner and I to explore with our young child. We live in the Museum District and are regularly taking in much of the best that Houston has to offer, including the parks, food and museums. We also enjoy getaways from the two airports and road trips together.
|Julie Dunsmore, Ph.D.
Professor and Search Committee Chair, Human Development and Family Sciences
Research/Teaching Interests: My research examines what children learn about emotions from important people in their lives; what patterns of emotional communication promote social and emotional skills, positive relationships with friends and family, and healthy outcomes; and what’s similar or different about all of this across contexts. I enjoy providing research experiences for undergraduates.
What do you enjoy about UH and Houston? I was drawn to UH because of the commitment to multidisciplinary research aimed at reducing health and educational disparities, inclusive teaching and mentoring to promote student success, and partnership with the local community. There’s so much to appreciate here — the food for sure, so many museums and other cultural experiences, the beach being just a quick drive away, and simply hearing multiple languages while going about daily life.
|Kara Hurt, Ph.D., LCPC (MT)
Clinical Assistant Professor and Search Committee Chair, Counseling
Research/Teaching Interests: Clinically, my specialty is perinatal mental health — counseling people through the journey of fertility/infertility, pregnancy and postpartum with an emphasis on filial and attachment-based therapies. My research has focused on counselor professional identity development. I have explored how it develops for counselors-in-training, how it is impacted by the accreditation status of master’s programs, and how it is influenced by specific course curricula and teaching practices.
What do you enjoy about UH and Houston? UH holds a fantastic reputation for innovative thinking and community engagement. The rich culture and opportunities to make meaningful contributions to my profession and the community are central to my interest in UH.
Kayce Solari Williams, Ph.D., MPH
Clinical Associate Professor, Health
Research/Teaching Interests: Promotion of active lifestyles through daily, intentional movement and positive body image through acceptance and self-care. Also, prevention of obesity and comorbid diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes. I work with women across the lifespan; however, my priority populations are Black and Latina adolescent females in the U.S. and Caribbean. I teach, train and mentor from the perspective of unlocking and maximizing students’ potential while including them as active participants in their learning and growth journey.
What do you enjoy about UH and Houston? Houston really is home. I was raised in Houston and Missouri City (a Houston suburb) and although I went away for college and also lived in another state, I was always happy to return home. My family is here and so is my heart.