Name: Micheale J. Marcus
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Major/program: School Psychology
CYFS graduate assistantship: Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Anticipated date of graduation: May 2021
Describe your CYFS graduate assistantship and how it fits with your research goals?
My current assistantship focuses on diagnosing toddlers with autism as well as implementing intensive early interventions in order to prepare them for school. This is my first time working with this specific population; my undergraduate research focused on African American high school and college students. I am definitely learning quite a bit. By working with children at the Autism Care for Toddlers Clinic of the Munroe-Meyer Institute, I am able to combine my desire to work with minority families and my current work with autism. My tentative research will focus on cultural differences in the early diagnosis of autism.
What motivated you to pursue this research field?
Through my assistantship, I learned that minorities are underrepresented in children who are diagnosed with autism and began to wonder what causes that disproportion. Is it because of limited access to the proper resources or unconscious discrimination during the initial screenings? Do certain cultural characteristics mask the early signs of autism? As a first year graduate student I have yet to delve fully into my research, but I am looking forward to finding answers to the previously mentioned questions—and ultimately helping minority children receive the support they need.
What do you enjoy doing outside of school?
Even though most of my time is spent completing assignments, reading for class, or recuperating from the former (I wouldn’t have it any other way), during my down time I like to watch movies, listen to music, and knit. I also like bowling, going downtown with friends, and trying new things.