Psychological & Brain Sciences | Entering Year: 2019
Jaisal Merchant is a PhD student in the Clinical Science program, studying social motivation and effort allocation in patients with psychotic disorders. For the last eight years, Jaisal has pursued her interest in psychological research working in social, cognitive, and clinical psychology labs. After graduating magna cum laude from Tufts University with a degree in Clinical Psychology, Jaisal worked for two years at the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Program at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital. There, she coordinated a study on reward processing in a transdiagnostic sample of patients with psychosis, presented at national conferences, and contributed to scientific publications.
Jaisal’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is reflected in her community involvement. This includes tutoring El Salvadoran immigrants striving to become US citizens, leading workshops for people with Down syndrome in Valparaíso, Chile, and obtaining certification as a Medical Spanish Interpreter. She has helped organize events to raise awareness about socio-cultural disparities and access to mental health resources such as Harvard’s inaugural Global Mental Health Open Day–a large-scale conference that brought together speakers from across disciplines to discuss mental health care as a global and universal right.