Mariya (Voytyuk) Vizireanu – Global Health PhD (2017)
Current: Research Associate at StudyLA (Loyola Marymount University)
Lecturer at the Department of Political Science & International Relations (LMU)
2002 when I became a finalist for the FLEX exchange student competition program in Ukraine. I came to the United States then for one academic year and stayed with a wonderful American host family. Eventually, I moved to the U.S. to finish my degree and remained to work and pursue graduate school.
With my international background it was only a matter of time until I began studying cultural variation professionally. Since nutrition has been an old passion of mine (in the past, I have worked as a food co-op manager and organized community classes and workshops on good nutrition), my dissertation research focused on perceptions of healthy eating and dietary risks.
So I asked: What accounts for cross-cultural variation in how people categorize and judge foods and eating situations? How do our cognitive models of “healthy eating” develop, spread across social networks, and how do they translate to health outcomes? To answer these questions, I created my Eating Perception Lab and built a team of undergraduate research apprentices to collect and analyze the necessary data.
More broadly, my research interests are in how people build mental models of complex health phenomena. To complement this focus, I try to stay active in communicating science. Improving science literacy in the general population is an important applied focus of my research (see Media page for examples of recent work). See my latest science communication collaborative project: SciComm Journal Club. Contact: mvizirea (at) lmu.edu.
Get a (not-so-short) overview of my research interests HERE. While at the 2018 American Anthropological Association, I had a fantastic chance to talk to Allen Saakyan about my dissertation work, current research & teaching, all all things in between!