Sylvia Lawler joined the Kinesiology Department at Rice University in 2020. Her research interests are in mental health, adolescents, sexuality, and recovery.
Dr. Lawler earned her B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health and Graduate Certificate in Health Disparities from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.
During her doctoral program, Dr. Lawler worked at Baylor Teen Health Clinic, assisting with an intervention targeting pregnant and parenting adolescents. Her dissertation research was conducted through the Montrose Center's Hatch Youthprogram, which is a drop-in education and support group for Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) children and adolescents. She has assisted in many graduate-level courses at UTHealth, with a particular focus on health behavior theories and sexual health. Most recently, she has worked at The Council on Recovery as a program evaluator for Choices, a school-based adolescent risk reduction program.
Dr. Lawler views sexual health as a complex, multi-faceted subject that is impacted by biology, psychology, and environment. She is a mental health advocate and aims to reduce stigma around mental health issues in university settings.