Maeve Sahalie Sievertsen

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Maeve Sahalie Sievertsen

Maeve Sahalie Sievertsen

Health disco academic program
Second year, Human development and family sciences Minor in Spanish
healthy disco cohort year

Hello! My name is Maeve Sahalie Sievertsen and I am currently ending my sophomore year in the College of Health at Oregon State University. I am confident, outgoing and driven to pursue a career in the service of others. Here at OSU, I am completing a bachelor of science degree in Human Development and Family Sciences with an option in child development and a minor in Spanish. When I leave school, I hope to become a pediatric speech-language pathologist. The research I did through URSA Engage was centered around pediatric mental and behavioral health associated with wildfire smoke. In this project, I learned a lot about smoke inhalation and climate-related mental health issues, while also learning how to look for research material that was credible, trustworthy and relevant to my chosen area of study. I chose to conduct a systematic review of existing literature relating to the association between pediatric mental health problems and wildfire smoke.  

When I entered into the URSA program in my first term as a sophomore, I was not quite sure what to expect. I had almost no experience with research at a college level, and I was not close with anybody that was in my research group. As the project developed, my mentor, Dixie Jackson, guided me through the work and introduced me to new forms of research. I was lucky enough to be able to work with Dixie closely on this project, and having her insight and mentorship truly helped to make my final product the best it could be. For my research topic, I wanted to conduct experiments and research on something that was not widely studied, which is how I landed on mental health and climate change. Climate change plays a significant role in our world today, and understanding how it impacts the mental well-being of our children can encourage parents, teachers and friends to spread the word about climate change and why it must be mitigated. My research was done on primary literature that covered topics such as climate anxiety, developmental plasticity in children, and pediatric neuroscience relating to anxiety and depression stemming from climate-related stressors. I chose this area because I am passionate about children’s well-being, especially their metacognition and brain health.  

Through the URSA Engage program, I learned a lot about time management and was able to practice showing up for meetings, presenting my thoughts and ideas, and receiving feedback from peers about my process and ideas. This program gave me the space to balance work and school and encouraged me to be creative and passionate about what I was studying while also ensuring that I looked at behavioral health through a research lens. I learned a lot about proper research methods and the ethical responsibilities that all researchers have when conducting experiments. These experiences taught me so much about who I am as a researcher and someone studying science and health, and the skills I learned throughout my time in the URSA program will be with me wherever I go for the rest of my career in the health and research world.


Maeve Sahalie Sievertsen


Maeve Sahalie Sievertsen


Maeve Sahalie Sievertsen

What was your path to OSU?  

My path to Oregon State was unique in so many ways. I grew up in the suburbs of Portland and have wonderful parents who have supported me through everything, including my desire to do something meaningful with my life.

I applied and was accepted into a college prep school in the heart of downtown Portland, but it was not without hard work, others believing in me, and a lot of scholarships that actually allowed me to stay in high school.

When I first toured Oregon State, I knew it was where I wanted to be for the next four years of my life. I knew that the atmosphere and the environment would help me thrive as I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.

Why are you interested in research?

I was initially interested in research because I am always looking for ways to add experience to my resume and networking opportunities where I can meet people who work in my desired field. Applying for and working on research projects this year has allowed me to do just that.

Research at Oregon State and beyond has given me skills to look beyond my own understanding about how things work, to consider multiple perspectives and to meet people who do work that truly serves the greater community.

Doing research through URSA Engage and Oregon State has also allowed me to become more confident in my writing and time management abilities, as well as allowing me to grow as a student and person.

Why did you want to be part of Healthy Discoveries?

I wanted to be part of Healthy Discoveries because I believe that research is so important and such a great way to meet people throughout OSU.

If I could give one piece of advice to incoming students at OSU, it would be to get involved in some type of research project, whether you are conducting it on your own, through the school or an outside program.

Research will help you grow your resume, as well as being a fun and interesting way to learn about the world around you.

What research will you be working on and with whom?

I am currently working with Dixie Jackson and the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families on a project through URSA Engage.

I am conducting research about the mental, social and behavioral impacts of wildfire smoke inhalation on pediatric health in children under 8 years of age.

I am also currently part of a fellowship called the Cascadia CoPes Hub, where I am learning and researching ways to support coastal community awareness about natural disasters.

What are your future career or academic plans?

I will graduate from Oregon State with a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family sciences, and my goal by that time is to be fluent in Spanish.

After school, I hope to attend either nursing school or a program where I can become a certified speech-language pathologist!

I hope that I can use my Spanish-speaking skills to travel the world and work with children in underprivileged communities.


The Healthy Discoveries undergraduate research program is made possible with the generous support of the Patricia Valian Reser Fund for Experiential Learning.