Lauren Ortosky

Psychological & Brain Sciences

Research Interests

I have ​multiple areas of research. My dissertation investigates the impact of passive exposure to different political ideologies on individual attitudes towards conflict with outgroups. I am also heavily involved in a project exploring entrenched veteran underemployment. As part of another large-scale project funded by the NSF’s AGEP initiative, I also study ways that graduate school can influence career choice for under-represented minority (URM) students, with the goal of improving diversity in faculty positions across the STEM disciplines.

Mentoring Experiences

Mentorship has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in grad school. Four years ago, fellow Goodchild winner Payton Small and I started a mentorship program in the psychology department to secure extra support for URM and first-generation students who are interested in graduate school. Our short-term goals were to demonstrate that there is no one “type” of person who can be a researcher, and to lift up those who may face systemic hurdles on the way to their dreams. Long term, we hope to contribute to the important goal of diversifying the voices contributing to scientific knowledge. This program, Access Grads, has now served over 200 aspiring researchers and engages more than half of the graduate students in the department.

Meaning of the Award

The Access Grads mentorship program is a labor of love, and will be held among my proudest accomplishments from my time at UCSB. For both Payton and I to be awarded this prestigious honor feels like validation for the broader effort put forward by all of the graduate students who have donated their time as mentors. I am humbled and grateful.