I am a social science researcher with experience in qualitative and quantitative approaches to addressing complex questions. With training in anthropology, public opinion work, and science communication, I conduct rigorous original research and present findings in easy-to-understand formats for diverse audiences.
Arizona State University: PhD, Global Health 2017
Indiana University - Bloomington: M.S., Health Promotion 2012
Goshen College: B.S., Business Administration 2007
Areas of Expertise (9)
- American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR)
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- American Anthropological Association (AAA)
The ultimate goal of the course is to bridge the "student identity" with the "young professional" identity. The course helps students obtain skills, experiences, and contacts that enhance employment prospects and options after graduation. By the end of the semester students will have gained experience working in a field related to political science. Additionally, a key aspect of the course is professional development, which covers such topics as professional phone and email etiquette, self-branding through appearance and conduct, job search and creating successful application materials, and even managing one's presence on social media.
Survey Research on Race & Ethnicity
[This course was co-taught with Professor Crowder and StudyLA's research team] The goal of the course is for students to understand how public opinion research can address issues, inform decisions, and impact policy. As a member of the StudyLA research team, I virtually taught sections of the course on data analysis and interpretation. Students in the course learned how to use STATA to analyze results of StudyLA's latest public opinion survey and incorporate them into their class projects and conference presentations.
An Agricultural Wealth Index for Multidimensional Wealth AssessmentsPopulation and Development Review
Hackman, Joseph V. & Hruschka, Daniel & Vizireanu, Mariya
Social scientists have increasingly used asset-based wealth scores, like the DHS wealth index, to assess economic disparities. However, current indices primarily capture wealth in globalized market economies, thus ignoring other forms of prosperity, such as success in agricultural activities. Using a simple extension to the standard estimation of the DHS Wealth Index, we describe procedures for estimating an Agricultural Wealth Index (AWI) that complements market-based wealth indices by capturing household success in agricultural activities.
Lay perceptions of healthy eating styles and their health impactsJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Vizireanu, M., & Hruschka, D.
This study examined perceptions of healthy eating styles among US respondents to determine whether eating styles are defined as a distinct set of people's healthy eating beliefs and how different aspects of eating styles are perceived to affect health.
Cognitive differences accounting for cross-cultural variation in perceptions of healthy eatingJournal of Cognition and Culture
Voytyuk, M., & Hruschka, D.
What counts as healthy eating varies both within and across cultures. While people often focus on specific foods and nutrients, the timing and style of eating (eating context) can also be an important consideration, and one that appears to vary across cultures. One possible explanation for this variation is differences in basic cognition, with holistic thinking in collectivist cultures favoring contextual factors. We assess this hypothesis by examining perceptions between two cultural groups that vary in collectivism.
Social mechanisms for weight-related behaviors among emerging adults.Health Behavior and Policy Review
Bruening, Meg; Huberty, Jennifer; Skelton, Kara; Brennhofer, Stephanie; Voytyuk, Mariya
The purpose of this research was to assess young people's perceptions about how friends impact eating and physical activity (PA) behaviors. Methods: Emerging adults (N = 52; Mean age = 18.7±0.6 years; 50% female) attending a large 4-year college campus in the southwestern United States were enrolled in focus groups (N = 10).
Psychological Aspects of Food BiodesignJurimetrics
Michael J. Saks, Alexander F. Danvers, Roselle L. Wissler, Mariya K. Voytyuk, Keelah E.G. Williams, Denise A. Baker and Ashley M. Votruba
In light of what is known of the cognitive, social, developmental, and evolutionary psychology of human food choice, the anxiety and resistance prompted by genetically modified (GM) foods is unsurprising. The underlying psychological mechanisms that govern food preferences suggest why GM foods have become so controversial so easily. Views of government regulation and business practices also play a role in the public reaction to GM foods.
Brain Evolution Resulting from CookingEncyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science
The disproportionately big human brain is a conundrum – it is larger than would be expected for a primate of our size, and it is a very energetically expensive organ. Since human basal metabolic rate (BMR) is not elevated to match such a big brain, the extra energy needed to sustain it suggests a dietary explanation. Feeding the large brain would likely require a shift to a high-quality diet: one comprised of energy-rich, easily digestible foods. This hypothesis is supported by a number of anatomical features: smaller teeth, jaws, stomachs, and a shorter large intestine. Two key elements of human subsistence – cooking and meat eating – have been proposed as a possible means of achieving this high-quality diet.
Human Food PreferencesEncyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science
Humans occupy a multitude of habitats on earth – a success possible due to our dietary flexibility, among other things. As omnivores – animals that eat both plants and other animals – we are able to consume a wide range of foods, which is evident in the great variability of diets worldwide. While omnivores or food generalists are not programmed for any specific diet, humans display universal tendencies such as an innate aversion to bitter tastes or fear of new foods – these preferences protect the organism from ingesting possibly dangerous items. Challenging this tendency for caution is the need to explore new edibles in order to vary the diet and prevent nutrient deficiencies. This conflict between an interest in novel foods and a fear of them is a dilemma with which omnivores must deal.