Dr Emily-Marie Pacheco

Dr Emily-Marie Pacheco

Research Fellow

Clinical, Edu & Hlth Psychology

Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2020

Research summary

Emily is a psychological researcher on a UKRI-ESRC funded project which looks to foster the resilient recovery of the poorest communities of Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, displaced by the 28th September 2018 earthquake and tsunami. Emily works in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of academics and NGO practitioners from the UK and Indonesia. Emily’s primary role comprises of co-developing an intervention that integrates psycho-social disaster support with hygiene measures and physical environment enhancement to better engage and empower the affected communities of Palu. This multi-pronged intervention will recreate not just the former status quo for these displaced communities but a more resilient recovery. It will also play a role in creating an Indonesia-wide School-based Disaster Preparedness Programme.

Emily’s previous research explored the effects of remote exposure to trauma in international students through a psychological lens. Her work specifically focused on the experiences of international Ph.D. students from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) who are affected by conflict in their home countries while studying in the UK. For students who are away from home at the time of conflict, indirect exposure can be an additional concern to their wellbeing considering exposure to political conflicts (i.e. terror attacks, civil unrest) can affect individuals directly and indirectly. Indirect exposure to trauma, exacerbated by life stress and lack of social support, can also become a risk factor for developing stress disorders. Emily's research sought to better understand these experiences, the features of indirect exposure to trauma, and how effective coping methods can be protective and even lead to growth. The products of this research are being prepared for publication.

Research Interests:

As a social psychologist, Emily is interested in researching those features of the social human experience which shape our perceptions, beliefs, values, and behaviours. Emily is curious about how people shape their sense of identity, the practices from which we derive meaning, and the interactions between various elements of our contemporary societies and our psychological wellbeing.

Keywords: Identity, Beliefs, Trauma, Stress and Growth, Wellbeing, Resilience, Schemas, Associations, Social Trends & Norms, Behaviour Modification, Religiosity and Spirituality, Cognitive Dissonance, Mixed-Methods, Tool Development.


Emily-Marie Pacheco is a Research Fellow at UCL in the award winning department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology (CEHP), Division of Psychology and Language Sciences (PaLS). She is also a member of Prof. Helene Joffe’s Public Engagement with Social Issues research group and the Earthquake and People Interaction Centre (EPICentre). Emily submitted her thesis for her doctorate (Ph.D.) in Psychology at the University of Glasgow in August 2020.

Over her academic career, Emily has also been extensively involved in volunteer work in her local and global communities. Locally, Emily has been involved in many projects which support low-income high-risk youth in their academic, professional, and home life, worked directly on-site as a Crew Leader with Habitat for Humanity, and has volunteered in annual Toronto “We Day” conventions organized by the Free The Children & Me to We foundations. She has also traveled internationally to volunteer in projects, such as food rescue missions and youth development programs. Emily's experiences in humanitarian work have inspired her to find ways to utilize research as a catalyst for social justice and social change, such as with her current research role. Emily’s passion for meaningful research has also led her to take on professional positions as a Research Assistant for the non-profit foundation Christian Horizon, which serves individuals with exceptional needs, and within the IMPETuS lab at Wilfrid Laurier University. Emily also formerly held the position of UNESCO Chair Intern at the University of Glasgow, where she worked alongside the UNESCO chair team in organizing and facilitating the UNESCO Spring School of 2019. Emily looks forward to building a career in academia and intends to build a research lab of academics who also have a passion for investigating socially meaningful topics in our global society.