Laura Plybon, PhD entered the field of research as an arts major, becoming fascinated with studies on children’s art while an undergraduate and later, when obtaining her MA in child development from Sarah Lawrence College. She went on to receive an MS and PhD in experimental developmental psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University, where her interest in childhood disabilities led to a certification in developmental disabilities from the Medical College of Virginia. Upon graduation, Laura was post-doctoral fellow at VCU’s Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention and later served the center as a primary investigator on a grant-funded research project that examined cultural protective factors against tobacco use among African American youth. Laura has spent the majority of the past 15 years in academia, where she has held the positions of tenure-track assistant professor of psychology, a visiting assistant professor of research, and most recently, director of assessment. She is a co-author on a book on violence prevention published by Springer Press, and has over 35 conference presentations, both refereed and invited, as well as numerous publications, including white papers, web-based resources, and peer-reviewed journal articles, the most recent co-authored with one of her dissertation students. Her unique approach to understanding statistics as a language and a visual art led to a love of statistics and resulted in an extensive knowledge of advanced statistical analyses (i.e., ANOVA/MANOVA, logistic regression, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, SEM), complimented by her qualitative research skill set, especially regarding the various types of phenomenological research methods. Her research interests are diverse and span the disciplines of psychology, counseling, public health, epidemiology, nursing, education, and business. She holds a special interest in the behavioral health and health promotion of ethnic minority populations; socioeconomic, ethnic, and gender disparities as they relate to education, health, and mental health; and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) across the lifespan. She currently works as a full time consultant for The Dissertation Coach, a position that allows her to assist clients at all stages of their dissertation with compassion, humor, patience, and understanding.
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