Research Assistant: Lizzie Braver 23-24

image of Lizzie. She is wearing a gray shirt and a dark blazer with her arms folded.Lizzie Braver (She/Her) | Research Assistant 2023-2024


Major: Social Ecology; Minor in Global Sustainability

I chose to major in Social Ecology, and even choose to study at UCI because it offered Social Ecology as a major since it has the unique capacity for interdisciplinary study across Psychological Sciences, Urban Planning, and Criminology, Law, and Society. I have always been particularly interested in the field of psychology but I am also very passionate about environmental issues and sustainability. Thus, when I learned about the Social Ecology major at UCI I was very excited to see a way that I could combine and study them both! Additionally, minoring in Global Sustainability was another way that I felt I could further study this more specific interest.

Why the Blum Center?  I was interested in working with the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation because I took several of Professor Matthew’s classes that I greatly enjoyed and learned a lot from. Through these classes, I also learned about the inspiring work being conducted through the Blum Center. I am very passionate about conducting research, especially research that benefits people and the environment, which is clearly a crucial aspect of the Blum Center, so I was excited to see where I could get involved. I also greatly admire Dr. Matthew, and as director of the research center, I was hopeful and eager to work under him!

Why this project? This project is interesting and important to me because I believe one of the most essential ways to address our current global issues regarding the climate crisis is understanding and changing societal/cultural values and behaviors around the environment. This begins with aspects that this project is undertaking: understanding people’s knowledge acquisition around environmental issues, understanding how this information affects their pro-environmental values and actions, and what does or does not motivate people to take positive action.  

 What’s next? My educational and career goals for the future involve hopefully attending graduate school to receive a Ph.D. I would like to follow this path to becoming a professor or another opportunity to conduct research as my main focus. In other words, I am attempting to generally pursue a career as a research scientist! My current research interests involve the intersection of psychology and environmental issues by using psychological research as a tool to better understand the climate crisis and other human-driven environmental issues to help address these with behavioral change solutions. Continuing this focus, I also hope to contribute to the field of climate psychology in the future.