Rebecca Trenz

  • Associate Professor, Psychology
Dr. Trenz presenting at Faculty Development Day 2019

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Dr. Trenz is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Program Director for the MS Psychology Program at Mercy. She is completing her 13th year of teaching, research, and service at the University.

Dr. Trenz is a recent recipient of a federally funded project from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This award is for the Maternal Health Research Network (MH-RN) for MSIs - Research Awards. Dr. Trenz is a Co-Investigator on this project that aims to develop the Hispanic Mothers of New York Research Training Center (Hi-MNY-RTC) at Mercy University.

Dr. Trenz is also a Co-Activity Director on the Metacognition Fellowship at Mercy University, a part of the STEM Ready grant. STEM Ready is a U.S. Department of Education HSI Title III grant-funded initiative designed to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining degrees in one of six Mercy University STEM majors. Dr. Trenz works directly with training faculty on implementing metacognitive strategies and growth mindset skills into their course design.

Post-Doctoral Certificate, 2011, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Drug Dependence & Epidemiology

Ph.D., 2009, Fordham University, Educational Psychology

M.A., 1997, St. Bonaventure University, General Psychology

B.A., 1997, St. Bonaventure University, Psychology

Dr. Trenz often works with students on research either in her research lab or through the undergraduate directed research in psychology course. Dr. Trenz is currently a Langston Fellow in the Langston University, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities. This grant project intends to develop the HiMNY-RTC as a capacity building center for training and research to increase both the number of faculty conducting research and Hispanic student scholars who address the mental health needs of Hispanic mothers with serious mental illness.

Research interests span across three main areas in which she is currently engaged:

1) Maternal mental health among underrepresented mothers with children

2) Substance use and risk behavior among vulnerable populations

3) Social media use and identity development among emerging adults


Dr. Trenz has over 20 years of teaching experience in both undergraduate and graduate courses, in-person and online. Her specialty is in psychology statistics, research methods, directed research, and developmental psychology. Dr. Trenz also mentors students from the graduate psychology program on their master theses, career development, and pathways to PhD programs. 

     Substance Use and Risk Behavior Among Vulnerable Populations

Trenz, R. C. (2023). A thematic analysis of expressive writing narratives from college women that drink. In preparation.

Trenz, R. C. (2020). The effect of expressive writing on sexual risk behavior among  college women. Journal of American College Health. DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2020.181875

Trenz, R. C., Scherer, M., Whitehead, N., & Latimer, W. (2016). Differences in alcohol use and sex risk behavior among female drug users. Substance Use & Misuse, 51, 1716-1723.

Scherer, M., Harrell, P., Trenz, R., Canham, S., & Latimer, W. (2015). An exploration of alcohol use severity and route of drug administration among persons that use heroin and cocaine. Substance Abuse, online ahead of press. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2015.1080207.

     Parenting After Stroke Among Women From Underrepresented Groups

Seruya, F. M., Trenz, R. C.,  Brooks, K., Hasan, N., Owens, W., & Veretennikova, Y. (2023). Mothers with serious mental illness: A scoping review. In preparation.

Trenz, R. C., Brooks, K. & Seyura, F. (2022). A descriptive analysis of health and well-being of mothers with stroke. Journal of Rehabilitation, special issue.

Trenz, R. C. Seyura, F. M., & Dondorf-Brooks, K. (2020). Predictors of employment among underrepresented women and TANF recipients that completed vocational rehabilitation services. Accepted in Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 53 (2), 249-256. DOI:10.3233/JVR-201101

Dondorf-Brooks, K, Seyura, F., Stanton-Koko, M. & Trenz, R. C. (2020). Parenting with a disability: A descriptive analysis of socioeconomically disadvantaged women in vocational rehabilitation. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 51(2), 134-145.

     Social media use, identity development, and risk behaviors among emerging adults

Trenz, R. C., Zavala, J., & Calistro, T. (2023). Social media self-presentation positivity and ruminative identity among emerging adults. Under review.

Zavala, J., Trenz, R. C., Tzanis, D., Malette, C., & Monsalve, N. (in press). The impact of social media use for news on academic performance in undergraduate college students. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking.

Online Teacher of the Year, May 2022

Tenure, Mercy University, May 2019

Excellence in Teaching nominee, Mercy University, May 2019

Promotion to Associate Professor, Mercy University, May 2017

ECAC Scholar Athlete, 1996

Gus Diehl Award 1996 - Outstanding Academic Achievement in Athletics

St. Bonaventure University Merit Award, 1996

General Excellence in Psychology Master’s Program, 1997