Her family moved to the United States when she was 4. She came to North Carolina to attend UNC Chapel Hill as a doctoral student. Only then did Dr. Gabriela Stein realize what a robust, growing Latino population this state has.
A disproportionate number of young Latinos have symptoms of depression, she explains. Her passion is to explore why – looking at all the variables – and to help tackle the problem.
While at Chapel Hill, she helped to establish El Futuro. An award-winning mental health care provider focusing on Hispanic and Latino families, it now has locations in Siler City and the Triangle area. The organization is committed to strengthening not just the individual in need, but also the family.
She joined the UNCG Psychology faculty in 2009.
Her current research revolves around three themes:
- understanding the development of depressive symptoms in ethnic minority youth
- examining ethnic differences that impact their getting treatment
- the development of culturally sensitive prevention and intervention programs.
Her lab has three graduate students and 8-10 undergraduates each semester.
“Mentoring undergraduates is very important to me.” She listens and fuels their hopes and dreams. And they learn how to make a difference, as well as the nuts and bolts of doing research.
“I want to demystify the research process.”
Her UNCG students nominated her last year for the Latino Diamante Award in Education, which she won in October. The awards honor individuals or organizations that are making significant contributions to the Latino/Hispanic community of North Carolina. They also honor outstanding Latinos/Hispanics whose success helps to enhance the image of the Latino/Hispanic community.
Interdisciplinary research has been a key part of her work. She has collaborated with Dr. Laura Gonzalez in the School of Education and also with Dr. Andy Supple in HHS.
What drew her to UNCG? The university really values undergraduate education as well as research, she explains.
“I can make an impact – with research, training, mentoring and supporting students,” she says. “I feel privileged to be in this position.”
By Mike Harris