The award is a highly prestigious one, given to only a small percentage of applicants, and is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Bera said she cried when she found out she won the award, calling it overwhelming and a huge honor. Her main research focus is on rural mental health and rural access to diagnostic and mental health services, as well as looking at how marginalized identities of school psychologists impact their experience in the field: “Most of my interest comes from personal experiences and observations about the rural healthcare provider shortage and the importance of having a good support system as a future clinician from historically excluded backgrounds.”
“I'm really interested in qualitative research, and I think one of the biggest appeals to my area of interest is the value of storytelling within the lived experiences of rural communities and the mental healthcare providers who work in those settings. I look forward to bringing more of those unheard stories and lives to the literature, which for school psychology is fairly limited,” she added.