Brenau University Assistant Professor of Psychology Maria Zayas has been working on a research study with female veterans who are participating in the program Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families out of Syracuse University Business School. The research program includes training the women in skills developed by the Institute of HeartMath for increasing resilience and optimal function, and is a collaboration between Brenau, HeartMath and IVMF.
Zayas co-presented “The Resilience Advantage: Skills for Personal and Professional Effectiveness” with Dr. Rollin McCraty, research director of the Institute of HeartMath, and Col. Jill Chambers, IVMF Board member at the VWISE National Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 1-3.The study includes 42 female veteran participants, and several Brenau graduate students, three of whom are research assistants for the study and another three whom are working directly with the population as HeartMath certified mentors providing the training intervention to the women.
The students involved are Susan Baumann, Pamela Corsentino and Jaqueline Martin as mentors, and Jennifer Garciasalas, Nicole Krontz and Stacey Pearce as research assistants.
The study continues through March for result analysis and presentation of findings at the annual Brenau University Research Symposium. It is funded in part by a Brenau University President’s Opportunity Grant. Blaine Schultz, assistant professor of psychology is advising the students in this study.
Regarding how the research will strengthen Brenau’s military and veteran community, Zayas said, “We are hoping to continue our research with the veteran population next year through the M.S. in Clinical Counseling Psychology thesis program and the Psychology Stress Lab. The Lab will be available for Brenau Community to access our HeartMath biofeedback equipment and interactive games for stress reduction and resilience building,” she said.