Each summer, Lafayette College students have the opportunity to participate in academically meaningful experiences outside the classroom. Students selected as EXCEL Scholars engage in collaborative research projects with Lafayette faculty, enhancing their academic skills as well as developing other skills that will be useful in post-graduate education and careers. This summer, we are highlighting several scholars who are working on hands-on, collaborative research projects with faculty and other students.

Lafayette student Nadia Manasfi sitting at a desk in a dark room with a brightly lit computer

Nadia Manasfi ’23 is studying the everyday health experiences of trans individuals

Student researcher: Nadia Manasfi ’23
Majors: Psychology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies
Adviser: Abbey Mann, assistant professor of psychology
What is your research all about? 

“Transgender individuals experience what we call ‘minority stressors,’ in which they face additional stressors alongside everyday tensions every human being faces. These stressors give rise to mental and physical health concerns because trans folks do not have access to resources that privileged individuals have. My fellow student researcher Annika Murray ’23 and I looked at data from 50 interviewed transgender folks about their health care access and experiences. The goal of our research was to understand everyday health experiences of trans individuals and generate resolutions for change recommended by our participants. Recommendations provided by those affected by this issue the most are the most effective to start tackling this systemic issue.”

What appealed to you about doing summer research for this project?

“I am personally interested in the lived experiences of trans folks across different organizations (e.g., health care, education, incarceration, etc.) and how we could advocate to improve their everyday lives. I am doing this project because health care is a basic human right that not all marginalized individuals get to have. The trans community is an understudied population that needs all the advocacy it could get.

How did you connect with Prof. Mann?

“I got involved in this project after being introduced to it during Dr. Mann’s Psychology of Gender class. My adviser is a great mentor. She was very excited and welcoming once I mentioned my interest in her research, and I soon started working with her right after. She gets me involved in work I had no direct experience in before, because she knows it is a great learning opportunity for me. She has given me new perspectives on trans topics because she is very experienced in this field.”

What is the expected/hopeful outcome of your research?

“Broadly speaking, trans individuals experience a lot of discrimination in the health care system. We hope our results would add to the literature addressing this issue in order to advocate for their rights and needs.”

Will you be continuing the research beyond this summer?

“I will be continuing to work on this project next year for my joint honors senior thesis.”

Why is this research experience valuable to you?

“I am hoping to apply to public health/health psychology Ph.D. programs that focus on trans folks’ health care access, and this experience is definitely of great help.”

Categorized in: Academic News, Class of 2023, Faculty Research, Featured News, Global Impact, Innovation and Research, LGBTQIA+, News and Features, Psychology, Research, Women’s and Gender Studies