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Washington State University

Meet Our Prevention Science Graduates

Yadi Olivera Guerrero, PhD

Domestic Violence Housing First Yakima Regional Study Coordinator

Michigan State University 

2017 WSU Prevention Science Graduate

Dissertation Title: Preliminary Evaluation of a Program to Help Low-Income Latina Mothers Help Their Children Cope with Stress: A Mixed Method Approach

Primary Advisor: Thomas Power (Human Development)

Committee Members: Yoshie Sano (Human Development), Paul Strand (Psychology), Louise Parker (Human Development)

What is your current job title?

Domestic Violence Housing First Yakima Regional Study Coordinator.

What organization do you work for?

Michigan State University

What do you do in your current job?

I currently coordinate the study’s data collection. My tasks include conducting detailed interviews with domestic violence survivors, training and supervising study interviewers, relationship development with the three domestic violence site agencies, providing weekly and monthly data reports for each agency within my region, and collaborating with Michigan State University colleagues towards publication.

How did WSU’s Prevention Science program prepare you for that job?

I remember the many discussions we often had in class about community research and how difficult it can be for researchers to accommodate to stakeholder’s expectations of the study. With my experience working in Dr. Thomas Power’s lab and my classes, I felt more prepared than some of my colleagues when it came to navigating these “real world research issues.” The Prevention Science program provided me with a strong knowledge of research methodology. Even though I did not have a domestic violence educational background, my preventions science research background helped me quickly become knowledgeable about the gaps in the literature as well as the risk and protective factors associated with domestic violence. I am now fortunate enough to be part of a potentially policy-changing study where domestic violence agencies nationwide can improve their services and meet domestic violence survivors needs.

What words of wisdom do you have for our students?

I think one of my “protective factors” of surviving the rigor of graduate school was that I had an amazing advisor, Dr. Thomas Power. I was very fortunate to have had my academic advisor and research assistantship advisor be the same person. Coming into the program I made him aware of my educational and professional career goals and he guided me towards those opportunities. The hands-on experience I received in being in his lab gave me every advantage when it came to applying to research-based jobs. Publishing was important, but my priority was to be involved in program development, data collection, and data analysis. Although I would often become overwhelmed with my different academic and work responsibilities, my amazing relationship with my advisor allowed me to be able to communicate these struggles with him and modify what I was doing in order to meet my educational and professional goals. All in all, when it comes to choosing an advisor(s) make sure it is a good fit and communication is strong because this can truly make or break your ability to meet those important milestones in the program.