Exposure to traumatic experiences, such as sexual assault or a natural disaster, is a relatively typical experience—with over 50% of individuals reporting experiencing at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Dr. Alexander’s current projects include examining outcomes of childhood victimization in college students and juvenile justice-involved youth. Further, she also provides community presentations on incorporating trauma-informed practices into various systems, including correctional and educational settings.
Illegal Sexual Behavior
Dr. Alexander has worked extensively with adolescents and adults who engaged in illegal sexual behavior. Her current projects include: examining poly-victimization in adolescents with sexual behavior problems; discussing the impact of registration and community notification laws; and providing evidence-based and trauma-informed treatment to individuals who have engaged in illegal sexual behavior.
Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI)
The implementation of arts programs in prisons has a long history throughout the world. Prison arts programs have been shown to have positive effects on participants’ social skills and relationships, as well as their mental health and well-being. Currently, bipartisan initiatives are exploring ways to improve the restoration and reintegration of incarcerated people into society.
Along with Dr. Ashley Hamilton, Dr. Alexander is a Founder and Co-Director for the University of Denver’s Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI). DU PAI’s proposed project will provide a meaningful response by providing transformative education and evaluating how it improves the personal and social outcomes necessary for successful release and re-entry. Dr. Alexander leads the grant-writing, research, and program evaluation for DU PAI.
Culturally Competent Practice
Providing culturally competent care is one of the major competencies and values within psychology. Cultural competence is embedded throughout the ethical guidelines. Dr. Alexander has conducted presentations and continuing education workshops at national conferences on cultural humility and cultural competence in psychology and forensic psychology.
Public Policy and Social Justice
Psychological science has a lot to offer in addressing important social issues. The need for evidence-based public policy is evident. Dr. Alexander has several projects discussing the need for social justice and advocacy training in graduate programs in psychology in preparation. Further, she is currently involved in several local and national public policy efforts involving juvenile justice-involved youth, disparate treatment of Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ youth in various systems, and addressing educational inequities.
Pop culture is fun! It’s all around us and gives us an escape from reality (sometimes…). Dr. Alexander is an active consumer of pop culture (when she should be focusing on her other research…) and spends time with friends and colleagues discussing the psychology in movies, television, music, and celebrity culture. Beyond the average psychological thriller, psychology is heavily present in all aspects of popular culture.
Dr. Alexander, graduate students, and alum of the Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) at DU have presented at Denver Comic Con for the last two years. Additionally, her team has manuscripts and chapters currently in preparation focusing on representation in the media. Stay tuned!