M.S.W. (expected 2024), Virginia Commonwealth University
B.A., University of New Haven
Angela Matijczak is a first-year PhD student at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work. Angela earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology, with a double minor in sociology and Latin American studies, from the University of New Haven in 2017. She then worked as a lab manager for two years at the Innovative Interactions Lab at Yale University, where she collaborated on research projects that investigated the influence of dogs on child socioemotional development and the benefits of dogs on stress in adults and children. She was primarily responsible for managing an NIH-funded study on the process of emotional contagion between humans and dogs.
During the past year, Angela served as a project coordinator for a collaborative study with Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) on childhood exposure to animal cruelty and its influence on children’s mental health. This project was under the auspice of the Children, Families, and Animals Research (CFAR) Group, led by Dr. Shelby McDonald.
Broadly, Angela’s research interests focus on risk and protective factors for LGBTQ+ youth. Based on her prior research experiences, she is particularly interested in the role of pets in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth and how pets may influence dynamics between LGBTQ+ youth and their family members.
In her free time, Angela enjoys reading, playing guitar, listening to podcasts and eating pizza. She cites her dog, Penny, as a constant source of inspiration and support.
Notable awards, honors and appointments
- Vice President, Doctoral Student Association - July 2021 - present
- Student representative, School of Social Work Assembly - September 2020 - May 2021