Newsletter Article

Student receives NRSA support to examine risk factors for intimate partner violence perpetration

Natasha Gulati
Natasha Gulati

Natasha Gulati (Adult Clinical Area with Bill George) is our latest student to receive predoctoral funding through the National Research Service Award (NRSA) and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) for her research on intimate partner violence and alcohol. The background of this research award was covered in a previous article. Learn more about Natasha below!

Let's start with the basics, where are you from and where did you complete undergrad/masters?

I grew up in Austin, TX and Portland, OR. I completed my undergrad degree in Psychology and General Business at Gonzaga University and moved to Seattle afterward.

How did you wind up at UW/why did you apply here? What do you think about living in Seattle?

I worked at UW for two years as a research assistant prior to applying to UW for grad school. I knew I would receive excellent research mentorship and clinical training at UW, and staying in Seattle where my family lives is a perk! I absolutely love it here – the summers are unparalleled.

What is your research interest and how did you get into it (what inspires/motivates you)?

I am interested in understanding risk factors for alcohol-involved physical, psychological, and sexual aggression perpetration. Ultimately, I aim to conduct research that can inform intervention and prevention efforts for both perpetrators and survivors of violence. I became interested in alcohol and violence research in college after volunteering at a community organization that supports survivors of domestic abuse. I then attained a post-bac research position where I helped design an online intervention for survivors of sexual assault. I started to wonder – why do individuals aggress in the first place and how can high rates of violence be reduced? Working clinically with survivors of sexual assault inspires me every day and motivates me to continue this work and use my research to answer these questions.

How did you learn about your funding opportunity and tell us about the application/waiting process?

I had heard about the NRSA since I was a post-bac research assistant and many of the students in Dr. George’s (my advisor) lab had previously applied or had their work funded. The writing process was demanding and took lots of time. I could not have applied without the help of my labmates and mentorship team (Drs. George, Larimer, Stappenbeck, and Davis) who provided tons of guidance and edits to my research proposal. The UW grants team was also extremely helpful when submitting my application and offered invaluable support.

How did you feel when you learned that your application was accepted and that you will receive funding?

Surprised and excited with a little bit of disbelief thrown in there. The funding process takes a long time so when I finally received it I questioned whether it was real or not!

What is the name of your project and the funding source?

“An Event-Level Examination of Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration: Effects of Alcohol, Instigation, and Regulatory Mechanisms” funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

How might your research change the world?

Physical, psychological, and sexual violence are public health crises. I hope that this research is one small step toward understanding the risk factors that contribute to alcohol-involved aggression. My goal is not only to understand how and why individuals perpetrate violence, but also to create evidence-based intervention and prevention programs that can reduce violence perpetration among individuals, partners, and families.

Do you have any advice/tips/suggestions for others who may apply to this opportunity? About graduate study in general?

Start planning early, as you will need some time for the inevitable revisions that come your way. Ask to see examples of successful grant applications if you can. Welcome critical feedback even if it’s hard to hear in the moment.

What do you hope to accomplish with the funding and/or while in the UW Psychology graduate program?

The NRSA will fund my remaining time in the UW Clinical Psychology program before heading off to internship and completing my degree! My time will be spent conducting my dissertation and continuing my clinical work and teaching.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I spend my free time binge-watching crime documentaries on Netflix, organizing my home, cooking Italian food, and snuggling with my cat Eddie.

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