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Highlighting Rachel Blickman for her Accomplishments in Research, and Acceptance into UT-Austin’s PhD Program for Human Development and Family Sciences

Congratulations to senior Psychology Major, Rachel Blickman, for her outstanding achievements in research, and plans for post-graduate education. Rachel recently won the Psychology Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research award, and has also been accepted into the University of Texas- Austin’s Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) Doctorate Program.

In regards to Rachel’s research and grant from the Psychology Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research, she had this to say, “I have had the incredible opportunity to design an independent research project with Dr. Mary Pritchard titled ‘Marks of Motherhood: Body image in the postpartum period.’ We examine the influence of stretch marks on body image in women who have recently given birth and aim to investigate how the Western construct of femininity shapes the internal perceptions of new mothers. We recruited volunteers for an asynchronous online focus group using a screener survey that received 530 responses! It was an incredible indication of how enthusiastic women felt to address a critical piece of new motherhood that remains underrepresented both in the literature and the wider sociocultural conversation. I am extremely excited to be the recipient of the Council on Undergraduate Research Psychology Division Award and will use the grant to fully fund this study and share the findings at an upcoming research conference. As a mom to two amazing toddlers, this work is dear to my heart and I feel very fortunate to represent the voices of new mothers as they navigate the physical and psychological changes following childbirth.”

Rachel also provided a statement on her acceptance into the PhD program at UT-Austin, “I was recently invited to join the Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) Doctorate Program at University of Texas at Austin (UT-A). Yay! I aim to investigate romantic relationships and the factors that make them healthy, meaningful and resilient. I am especially interested in couple communication and the influence of positive expressions on everyday relationship satisfaction, as well as during times of conflict or stress. The HDFS program at UT-A is incredibly unique with a team of three researchers who specifically examine the nuances of intimate relationships. I knew this program would be an amazing place for me to explore my research interests. In fact, one of my research mentors at UT-A currently studies the transition to parenthood and is interested in continuing my examination of body image in the postpartum period. I am still pinching myself that I found such a well-fitting program! It is my intention to stay in academia as a professor of close relationships and continue researching the ins and outs of couple satisfaction. My husband Jeff has been my rock for nearly a decade and his support inspires me every day. The opportunity to contribute to the growing understanding of what promotes happiness in relationships is one that fills me with gratitude and pride.”

To learn more about the University of Texas at Austin’s Human Development and Family Sciences Program, please click this link.

Once again, a huge congratulations to Rachel Blickman for all of her hard work thus far, and best wishes for all future endeavors!