Salomon Villatoro is a senior research assistant on the youth development team at Child Trends. He received his BA in the Biological Basis of Behavior with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. His story starts in Houston, Texas where he was born to two immigrant parents from El Salvador. Not one to stick to a traditional path, Salomon’s time in college highlighted his multi-faceted approach to research. He worked as a research assistant at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, where he coded popular English and Spanish media for risky and pro-social behaviors. He then worked at the Mahoney Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, where he worked under Dr. John Dani and Dr. William Doyon to determine the causal role of dopamine in addiction using animal models. He recently ended a summer fellowship at the NYU Steinhardt School in their Applied Psychology program under Dr. Anil Chacko where he wrote and presented on the possible comparative effects of mindfulness and behavioral parental training on the academic performance of children living with developmental disabilities.
Growing up in one of the most diverse cities in the United States, Salomon developed a passion for the mental wellness of minority communities. Having experienced living in different regions of the United States as a Latinx person, Salomon’s interests cover a wide breadth of subjects such as the role of Community Based Organizations in Latinx communities, erasing stigmas surrounding mental health in Latinx communities, cognitive development, language development, public policy, and public health policy. Outside of academia, Salomon’s interests include soccer, photography, running, cooking and hiking. He hopes to obtain advanced degrees in positive psychology, public policy, health policy, and data science and wants to diversify his career path as much as possible.