Magaela C. Bethune, M.S., M.P.A. is a Ph.D. candidate (November 2019) in the Community Research and Action program in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University. An Augusta, GA native, Magaela earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, a minor in Africana Studies, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Georgia Southern University. Her dissertation research looks at various intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality at the role of adolescent media use and engagement in the sexual socialization, behaviors, and health of youth and young adults.
While at Vanderbilt, she has coordinated or collaborated on several research projects, including the Pathways to African American Success preventive intervention program with Vanderbilt’s Center for Research on Rural Families and Communities, which promotes parent-child communication to reduce sexual risk engagement in rural African American youth. In 2013, she joined the American Psychological Association – Black Entertainment (APA-BET) Research Collaborative to explore the health communication preferences among African American youth for receiving HIV/STI prevention and sexual health information. She also worked as the study coordinator in the Center for Health Services Research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, evaluating the usability of a web-delivered, medication adherence promotion intervention for type-2 diabetes patients. More recently she worked with Centerstone Research Institute and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, to design and implement a community-based research project examining the barriers, challenges and strategies for Tennessee youth and young adults to navigate mental health in their communities. She has served as the entrepreneurial lead on a National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (i-Corps) project, exploring the viability for commercialization of an online networking platform for K-12 social emotional learning.
Magaela’s teaching and research interests lie in the following areas: race & health; race, gender, & sexuality; Black studies; digital media & technology; health policy & policy studies; human development & society; and social justice. She has taught a range of courses, including Introduction to Health Policy, Introduction to African American Studies, a Seminar on Black Women in America, Digital Media Activism, and Introduction to Urban Studies. As a social justice-oriented educator, she emphasizes cultivating, facilitating, and partaking in a co-teaching and learning community that is nurtured through knowledge exchange, reflexive praxis, and real-world applications. A convergence of her teaching and research interests are evidenced in a co-edited published book project with Dr. Venus Evans-Winters, entitled (Re)Teaching Trayvon: Education for Racial Justice and Human Freedom. In her spare time, she is a bibliophile, foodie, and coaches little league basketball for her three sons.