Community psychology is an exciting field that goes beyond
the individual level to enhance quality of life through collaborative research
and action. Thus, we work with communities to co-create knowledge to transform
social structures. Hence, it moves away from traditional psychology by trying
to change the unjust structure of society through the ecological perspective.
By working with communities, we focus on research and action that is important
to communities as opposed to an individual researcher’s aspirations.
I earned my PhD in Applied Psychology with a concentration
in Community Psychology and a minor in Research Methods from Portland State
University. My BA and MS are from DePaul University.
I am a community
psychologist, and ecological theory and action research shape my research
agenda to understand and promote the meaningful community integration of
individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. My current
research spans three core areas:
grounded meanings of intellectual disability
community within inclusive and intentionally segregated spaces
disparities experienced by individuals with intellectual disability and women
with intellectual disability
Working at GSU has provided me with multiple opportunities
to actively participate within the university and larger community. Thus far,
my most rewarding experience has been as the co-adviser of the D.R.E.A.M. club.
As a co-adviser, I have had the opportunity to work with various students as
they work to create a safe space for students with disabilities and raise
awareness of disability issues at GSU. Furthermore, co-advising the D.R.E.A.M.
club with Robin Sweeny has provided me the opportunity to further my
understanding of disability issues within the GSU community while creating a
partnership to contribute our knowledge and unique strengths to bolster the
work of D.R.E.A.M.
Within the larger the community, I spend my time
volunteering for and collaborating with disability organizations, including the
Special Olympics and disability focused organizations in Pakistan. I have
served as a volunteer for the Special Olympics in Portland, Oregon and Nairobi,
Kenya). As part of the Special Olympics research delegation, I have traveled to
the World Games in Greece and South Korea. Participation in both research
delegations allowed me connect and build relationships with intellectual
disability researchers and practitioners from around the world while sharing my
knowledge of intellectual disability issues.
To view Dr. Patka's
Research Gate website, click , here.