Melissa Ponce-RodasTitle: Assistant Professor of Psychology
Office Location: 218 Buller Hall
Phone: (269) 471-3154
BA in Psychology, Yale University
MA in Psychology, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
PhD in Psychology, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Melissa graduated from Yale University, in 2001, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. While in graduate school, she became interested in exploring the ways in which religion and spirituality impact people’s beliefs and behaviors. In 2006, she received a master's degree in Psychology from The University of Illinois at Chicago. Her thesis was titled “Defining church attendance and examining its effects on the school outcomes of Latino high school students”. She earned her PhD in Psychology in 2015 from the University of Illinois, Chicago focusing on "Where should they go for help? Religious women's feelings about different helping resources for victims of domestic violence".
Melissa’s area of specialty is community psychology, which is a field that goes beyond an individual focus to understand and change people and organizations. The ecological framework prominent in the field tries to integrate social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, and international influences to promote positive change, health, and empowerment at individual and systemic levels.
Her professional memberships include: Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA); Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR); Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP)
Current Research or Professional Activities
Ponce-Rodas, Melissa (2015). "Where should they go for help? Religious women's feelings about different helping resources for victims of domestic violence" - Investigates the roles of religion, spirituality, and acculturation on a group of church -attending Hispanic women's beliefs about and experiences with domestic violence and help-seeking behaviors.
Research Interests: Domestic violence, religion and spirituality, education, community-based prevention and promotion programs, race and ethnicity.
Beard, S., Ponce-Rodas, M., Ryerson-Espino, S., & Trickett, E. J. (2005, October). What do these terms mean? Fleshing out concepts that we use every day. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Midwest Ecological-Community Psychology Association, Saugatuck, MI.
Benjamin H., Bothne, N., Collins, L., Conway, P., Langhout, R., Ponce-Rodas, M., Schmidt H. (2007, June). Reflective practice in collaborative community projects. Symposium conducted at the 11th biennial meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action, Pasadena, CA.
Countryman-Roswurm, K.I., Sabina, C., Cuevas, C.A., Lindmar Schally, J., Ponce-Rodas, M., Diaz, T. (2009, June). Sexual Violence Services among Marginalized Populations: Need, Utilization, Method, and Effectiveness. Symposium presented at the 12th biennial meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action, Montclair, NJ.
Njoku, M.G., Jason, L.A., Cole, C., Jordan-Green, L., Miller, T.P., Newbrough, J.R., Dockecki, P.R., O’Gorman, R., Lee Fayter, R.A., Ponce-Rodas, M. (2005, June). The spirit of Community Psychology: Lessons from spirituality. Symposium conducted at the 10th biennial meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action, Urbana, IL.
Ponce-Rodas, M. & Blanton, S. (2007, November). Collaborating effectively with stakeholders in our research. Symposium conducted at the Annual Meeting of the DFI All Fellows Conference, Chicago, IL.
Ponce-Rodas, M. & Hidalgo, B. (2009, June). Tailoring our teaching based on the intersections of diversity. Symposium presented at the 12th biennial meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action, Montclair, NJ.
Oberoi, A., Ponce-Rodas, M., Jeong, A., & Trickett, E.J. (2010, May). Integrating Participant's Religious Beliefs and Affiliations into Contextually Grounded Research. Symposium conducted at the 82nd annual Midwest Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.