New to CLASS: Danica Slavish | College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

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July 25, 2019

New to CLASS: Danica Slavish

A warm welcome to Danica Slavish -- one of our new CLASS faculty members in the Department of Psychology! We are so excited to have her join us in Fall 2019.

What are you most excited to teach your students?

I'm looking forward to teaching students about the importance of sleep for their physical and mental well-being. Disturbed sleep is pervasive among college students: approximately 60% of college students report poor sleep quality and 10% experience chronic insomnia. Sleep loss and insomnia are strongly related to impairments in memory, concentration, and emotion regulation, all of which may affect students' academic performance.

I'm interested in harnessing sleep as a means to improve students' health and well-being. As neuroscientist Dr. Matt Walker says, "sleep is your superpower." It's really one of the easiest things we can do to improve nearly every aspect of life. I'll be incorporating strategies for improving sleep-- as well as exciting new research on sleep and health-- into my Health Psychology course this fall.

What are you bringing to UNT that is new and different?

My research focuses on sleep and health, but I always try to incorporate a feminist and critical race theory perspective into my work. This means we look at not just the biological predictors of sleep and health, but also the societal forces that shape our daily experiences and health behaviors (e.g., discrimination, stress, gender and racial/ethnic identity). We're also really interested in using novel statistical techniques to examine associations between sleep and health across time. I'm excited to discover intersections between our work and the research initiatives of other faculty here at UNT.

What do you tell students or parents of students who are concerned about finding a career after graduation?

My suggestion to UNT students would be to encourage them become involved in independent research. Regardless of a student's desired career path, working in a lab and developing a close relationship with faculty and grad students can open a variety of doors. Students can gain experience in diverse skill sets, such as project management, writing, presentation skills, and data analysis. We make it a priority to train students in our lab on a variety of tasks and expose them to opportunities they can draw on in their diverse post-UNT careers.