Faculty Spotlight: Karina Gattamorta

By Karina Gattamorta

Faculty Spotlight: Karina Gattamorta

By Karina Gattamorta
One of Dr. Gattamorta's biggest drives is teaching difficult courses. She sees it as an opportunity to help her students gain confidence as they tackle challenging content. Get to know Dr. Gattamorta in this faculty spotlight.

Karina Gattamorta

  • Research Associate Professor in the Department of Research Methods and Statistics at the School of Nursing and Health Studies
  • Ph.D. in Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation from the University of Miami 
  • EdS in School Psychology from Florida International University
Tell us about your path to becoming a professor?

As a first-generation college student and a Miami native, I was thrilled to attend UM for my undergraduate studies. I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology and special education in 2000 and started my career as a special education high school teacher. I later earned a graduate degree in school psychology, the perfect blend of my interests, and decided to pursue a Ph.D.

Once in the Research, Measurement, and Evaluation Ph.D. program in UM’s School of Education and Human Development, I was offered a predoctoral fellowship funded by the Institution of Education Sciences. The fellowship allowed me to focus on my education full time, so I was able to engage in research while working on my degree. It also gave me the opportunity to experience life as an academic. I love the balance between teaching, research, and service. There’s always something challenging and exciting around the corner.

What class do you enjoy teaching most and why?

I enjoy the challenge of teaching difficult courses. It gives me the opportunity to help students gain confidence as they tackle challenging content and develop an understanding of, and sometimes even a passion for, research.

How does what you teach your students relate to their life?

Whether they choose to pursue a career in research or not, being an educated consumer of research is a skill that is valuable regardless. For nurses, in particular, understanding research helps create a foundation for providing evidence-based care.

Do you conduct research? Do you involve undergraduate students in your research?

I am affiliated with our health disparities research center, CLaRO, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). I currently work on one of the center’s large research projects, and I am the principal investigator (PI) on one of the pilot grants funded through the center. My research interests focus on the intersection of race/ethnicity and sexual/gender minority status on mental and behavioral health outcomes such as suicide, depression, anxiety, substance use, and risky sex. I am also interested in the way culture shapes family acceptance of LGBT youth. I have had the pleasure of mentoring several undergraduate students in research. Their work contributes to the success of my work from the early stages of preparing grant applications through to the dissemination of the research findings through publications and presentations.

What drives you as a professor?

I enjoy engaging with students—in the classroom, through research, or through mentoring. I like encouraging them to take advantage of the amazing opportunities UM offers, whether it’s the chance to gain research experience, study abroad, volunteer, or so many others!

Karina Gattamorta is a professor at the School of Nursing and Health Studies.