Mariya (Voytyuk) Vizireanu – Global Health PhD (2017)
Research Associate at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles (StudyLA)
Lecturer at the Department of Political Science & International Relations (LMU)

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Short Version. I am a mixed methods social science researcher with backgrounds in medical anthropology, health promotion, and public opinion work. I am also an active proponent of (1) building effective science communication skills across fields and (2) developing strong professionalism skills for undergrad and graduate students alike.

Long VersionMy life-long fascination with cross-cultural differences in how people think and feel began in 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.

At Arizona State, I focused my dissertation work on how individuals in different cultures perceive healthy eating (see my Publications), which then inspired me to find ways to help the public understand complex nutrition/health research better. After all, I pursued advanced degrees in health promotion because I myself used to follow and share a lot of pseudoscientific health advice.

First, I found myself co-authoring a collaborative (and quite interdisciplinary!) paper on how people perceive foods that use genetic engineering. While drawing from evolutionary psychology, anthropology, and legal fields was fascinating, I realized not many people outside of academia will read such work.

Later, while still working on my dissertation project, I reached out to Arizona State University’s Risk Innovation Lab and found an opportunity to both (1) write guest blog posts for Michigan State University’s Center for Research on Ingredient Safety, and (2) create white board videos with the lab’s Dr. Maynard, who trained me on science video making and even provided me with his equipment!

During the last year of my PhD, I documented all these activities on my Instagram account (with the goal of demystifying PhDlife for anyone willing to follow along). This is how Dr. Sherry Nouraini noticed me and told me about her new creation – Science Communication Journal Club (ScicommJC) and invited me to join. ScicommJC became a large part of my professional identity since that summer in 2017 – from meeting people at conferences that listen to our podcast to discovering new fascinating areas of scicomm that I myself knew nothing about (like gamification; see a recap of my Twitter chat on the topic here).

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, and all things in between!

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Interview at the 2018 American Anthropological Association meeting




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