Rachel Koffer, Ph.D.
My work focuses on developing and testing model-based operationalization of stress process theory: examining the multi-time scale processes that link everyday stressors (e.g., interpersonal disagreements, deadlines) to long-term health and well-being across adulthood.Having graduated from Brandeis University with a double major in psychology and economics, I deeply value examining research issues from the perspectives of multiple fields. During my second and third years at Penn State, I gained a broad understanding of the theoretical approaches, issues, and methodology for analyzing big data, through an NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) on Big Data Social Science. Now, as a pre-doctoral fellow in Pathways T32 program funded by the National Institute of Aging, I study the biological pathways (e.g., corticosteroids, telomere length) that link acute and chronic psychosocial stressors to later life health—the biopsychosocial pathways from intraindividual variability to developmental change. I continue to enjoy an interdisciplinary approach to linking theory and methods, drawing from computer science data mining approaches, developmental growth curve modeling and person-specific approaches, and ecological approaches to studying categorical species abundance.