Meet Tina Soma, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

October 18, 2022

What is your job at Lyssn?

I’m a post-doctoral research fellow at Lyssn. The idea is that by working with Lyssn I will get research experience and mentorship at a higher level, while helping them to improve the Lyssn platform.

That means I conduct research, write papers and help with grants. I also interface with Lyssn customers and people involved with mental health at the community level to find out how the Lyssn platform translates in real world settings. We take that feedback to modify and tweak the platform to make it better.

What did you do before joining Lyssn?

I come from a counseling psychology doctoral program, meaning that I’m trained as both a scientist and a practitioner. I’ve been a graduate student for the last eight years. Through that, I taught and conducted research, and practiced therapy in university counseling centers and the Department of Veteran Affairs. On the research side, I had a fellowship in Norway and worked at a research institute for two years.

What drew you to Lyssn?

Zac Imel was my PhD advisor, and I had a chance to meet and work with the founders in the past for other things. Part of what drew me to Lyssn was the people, they are really cool, and I really enjoy working with them! But more than anything Lyssn’s mission and the way that they approach science appealed to me. The core is that we’re always asking: How can we improve mental health care? How can we make the process better? We challenge ourselves every day to find ways to make wellness and behavioral care better. 

What’s one of your favorite things about Lyssn?

I just feel really valued as an employee. Diversity of people and thought,  and making sure all voices are heard is at the forefront here. The commitment to inclusion and equity is something I really value.

What do you like most about working at Lyssn?

A lot of what I mentioned earlier applies here, but I also love working from home and not in a traditional office environment. Lyssn is also really flexible about my work schedule. They understand that life happens. It all feels very human in a way that you wouldn’t expect from a tech company.

Before working at Lyssn, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I definitely think working and being able to do research in Norway was one of the most profound experiences I’ve had in my career. I wouldn’t trade those two years for anything.

What animal best represents you?

The marmot. They’re little mountain creatures that like laying on rocks and baking in the sun. They’re just cute outdoor critters enjoying their alpine life.

What are your favorite hobbies?

I enjoy being outside. I got into rock climbing during the pandemic. I’m from Colorado, and I’ve been skiing for a long time. I also love backpacking and ultimate frisbee, and I enjoy almost any activity that you can do with a group of people outdoors          .

What was the most recent outdoor activity you did?

I played in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament last weekend in Durango, Colorado. It’s called a “hat” tournament, meaning that teams are chosen at random. It’s a great way to meet new people and form connections with others. We went camping afterwards which was also really fun!

What is the last book you read?

I’m currently reading “Persuasion” by Jane Austin. It’s been on my reading list for a while and I’m slowly making my way through it. I did re-read the Harry Potter series (again) pretty recently.

What is your favorite food?

Spaghetti. Any pasta with a really good marinara sauce.

What is something people are surprised to learn about you?

I studied math as an undergraduate, so I did a psychology-math dual degree. Most people never knew that I was also studying math. It made a lot of sense to them that I did psychology, but I also spent a lot of time doing word problems and writing proofs. I even considered being an engineer for a little while. Math really taught me how to be a better writer, thinker, and communicator.

What is one thing you like people to know about you?

Above anything else, I really value connection and human relationships. Having meaningful conversations is important to me, and I’m not very good at small talk. Building those kinds of relationships, to me, is the essence of what it means to be human. I look for authenticity and human connection in anything that I do.