Mary Dawson headshot
Mary Dawson
Ph.D. Student, HDFS


M.S. Auburn University, Department of Human Development and Family Science, 2020
B.S. Auburn University, Interdiscipinary Studies B.S., Emphasis In Human Development And Family Science And Psychology, 2018

Clinical interests
• Child, adolescent and young adult development
• Mental Health Behaviors and Disorders
• Depression, Anxiety and Developmental Transitions
• Emotional Regulation
• Academic Adjustment
• Social and Political Policy
• Risk, protective and resilience factors

Samek, D.R., Dawson, M.R., Reeves, B. (2020, November). Close relationships and health: Insights from the college experiences study. National Council on Family Relations, Virtual Conference due to Covid-19.

Dawson, M.R., Samek, D.R., (2020, April). Parent and peer social-emotional support as predictors ofdepressive symptoms in the transition into and out of college. This is Research: Student Symposium, Auburn, AL, United States.

Dawson, M.R., Samek, D.R. (2020, March). Parent-social support, peer-academic support, and instrumental support as predictors of depression in the transition into college. Society for Research on Adolescent Development Bi-Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, United States. (Conference cancelled due to Covid-19)

Courses taught
Instructor Adolescent Development in the Family
TA Adolescent Development in the Family
TA Lifespan Development
TA Marriage and Family in the Global Context

Research projects
I work with Dr. Diana Samek in the College Experiences and Beyond Lab

Fun Facts
Favorite books/movies?
Educated, Tara Westover
Horse Crazy, Sara Maslin Nir
Invisible Women, Caroline Criado Perez
Becoming, Michelle Obama

Hobbies/hidden talents?
Hiking with my dogs
Going to horse shows--dressage
Spending time with my family traveling

Hero/someone you look up to?
Both of my parents are heroes to me. My mom has regularly defied social norms in order to pursue her career goals and has always pushed me to make my own destiny. She started her career in a field with almost no women whatsoever and has worked tirelessly up the ladder to her own success. My dad has worked his whole career with a self-less mindset. He has worked in Afghanistan for 8 years trying to improve conditions for those there. Neither one of them have ever doubted my abilites and my earliest memories of my dad are him telling me that I could do and be absolutely anything that I put my mind to and he has always aided me in those trial and error and success processes with nothing but positivity. Women and men like my mom and dad make it possible for the women and girls of my generation to pursue their destiny despite sterotypes and social norms.

Me and my boyfriend share five dogs; Charlie, Blueberry, Jax, Chance and Tucker who are all our wild rescue babies ranging in age from 2-6. Additionally, I have a 9-year-old Oldenburg horse who I compete with in dressage competitions across the southeast U.S.

High school superlative?
Number one sports fan. I used to throw poster making parties at my house every thursday night before football (and baseball, and basketball) games to get people involved in the sporting events with me. I am still an avid sports fan.

If you could study any random thing other than hdfs/mft, what would it be?
If i was studying anything else or had gone down a different road educationally, i think i would be a vet because of my close relationship and understanding of animals and their theories of mind.

What has surprised you about being a graduate student?
Graduate school has been the hardest, but most rewarding experience I have had thus far. Over time I have learned that I have my own strengths that I bring to the table as does everyone else. Being a graduate student at Auburn has played a huge role in teaching me who I am.