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Department ofPsychology


Marcello Vial ‘21 conducts research both at SCU and Sutter Health

Marcello Vial ‘21 is a Psychology major who conducts mental healthcare equity research as well as research on culture and emotion. He describes how he found his path in psychology:

“I wanted to study psychology because I wanted to serve others. I was surprised by how many potential avenues of vocation all intersected with psychology; being someone with a lot of interests, I realized that the best means of determining what I wanted to do after college would be to expose myself to as many experiences as possible and work through a process of elimination, finding a calling by discarding all work that didn’t call out to me. This strategy has led me to my two concurrent work experiences: one as a research assistant in Dr. Koopmann-Holm’s Culture Impacts Emotion Lab (CIEL), and the other as a part-time administrative support clerk at Sutter Health, a title that is definitely more boring than the type of work that it demarcates. 

While taking Dr. Koopmann-Holm’s Cultural Psychology course in Winter 2020, I joined CIEL to learn more about how culture impacts emotion. Taking advantage of the College of Arts and Sciences REAL program, I was able to get some funding to develop an original research project examining the ways in which our motivation to avoid feeling negative interacts with the effect of nostalgia on helping behavior. The REAL program allowed me to conduct a literature search and consolidate current research, crystallizing in the completion of a Qualtrics survey. I am currently working on analyzing the data collected through that survey, something which my labmates have been helping me with, and look forward to completing this project as my senior thesis. My role in CIEL has been really rewarding, and I would strongly encourage anyone looking for research experience to apply to join the lab.

My work at Sutter Health has given me varied insights into the world of mental healthcare. In 2019 I had the pleasure of attending Quartet’s 2nd Annual Mental Health Summit, meeting key players whose work impacts the future direction of mental healthcare; I also shadowed leadership team members in Sutter’s Behavior Health department while conducting research on clinical outcome measures. In 2020, and extending into 2021, I have been conducting mental healthcare equity research, looking into disparities in resource management and intervention outcomes to help shed light on the communities most in need of help and to guide policy reform in the direction of true equity. For the time being, I intend to continue this type of work after I graduate in June.”

psycstudentstory, Class of 2021