Cindy B. Veldhuis,
PhD Postdoctoral Research Scientist
School of Nursing
Columbia University
(pronounced Veld-hice)

Dr. Cindy B. Veldhuis is a research psychologist and has an individual NIH/NIAAA Ruth Kirschstein Postdoctoral Research Fellow (F32AA025816). Dr. Veldhuis’ K99/R00 (pending administrative review; Dr. Hughes is co-mentor with Dr. J. Pachankis at Yale), will examine associations between individual- and couple-level stressors, depression, and alcohol use among women in same-sex relationships. Dr. Veldhuis was recently invited to serve on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health COVID-19 Mental Health Measurement Task Force, which has been working with existing panel studies to include mental health measures to assess the impact of the pandemic on mental health. She also is PI of an international study on mental health and relationships during the pandemic.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?

Pro-pun

3 Do you have any pets?

I have one very nerdy kitten named Frizzy.

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I have a few science-related lego sets and am coveting some pie chart decor I’ve seen on etsy. I love charts and graphs.

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Baking

6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?

Both

7 Do you speak any other languages?

I studied French for 8 years, Spanish for 3, German for 1, and Italian for 1. I now speak what I call Franzospangertalian.

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

My dream job is working in a think tank – and by that I mean that I sit and read and think of ideas and other people make them happen. I also would love to be a political commentator or a political strategist (I love politics).

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Medicine – Emergency Medicine, to be specific.

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

I just went to China in October, which had been a longtime dream. Next I’d like to go to Morocco. Or Spain. Or the Arctic. Or Japan. Anywhere, really.

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

I want to know everything.

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

There are two TV shows that few people have seen, but that everyone should:
Wonderfalls (a show about a recent Brown Philosophy graduate with massive inertia and a job in retail)
and
Enlightened (Laura Dern plays a woman who just returned to work from rehab – she is unlikeable at first, but you come to love her). Listening? Everyone should listen to Pearl and the Beard – I was super excited that one of their songs was the theme song for Hannah Gadsby’s new video, Douglas (which everyone should also watch).

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

I desperately want to go see a Broadway musical. It has been very hard for me to not get to see live theatre.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Broadway, my kitten, my macbook pro.

15 What beverage gives you life?

Chai with soy milk.

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Their eyes were watching god. Majorly paradigm shifting.

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a psychiatrist when I was really little. In 7th grade, I became obsessed with the idea of being a linguist. I saw a film in history class that had a linguist and decided that was the job for me. That obsession persisted until my freshman year in college, until I took a class on musical theatre and changed my major to theatre (and added psychology a bit later).

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Radical social change.

19 What got you excited in science?

Theatre and psychology both have at their core the deep desire to get to know the very depths of humanity. What are people really like on the inside? The parts of themselves they rarely — or never — show others are of huge interest to me. Both also share the possibility for true social change – which I love.

20 What excites you about science now?

Really what excites me hasn’t changed.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Lego sets. Love them. Am obsessed with them. I want them all – and the space to store them.

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can make paper dolls from straw wrappers and sing “Yellow Submarine” in Japanese.

23 What is your favorite game?

Exploding kittens.

24 What is the last book you read?

The last book I read was the final book in N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth series. To be frank though, since Nov 2016, I have had a hard time reading books.

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

I think I have way too many interests and worry at times I come across as a dilettante. A mentor of mine told me that everything I am interested in comes from inside me – so there is a thread between all of them. There is a story connecting them all – I just have to figure out what that is and it will make sense. This helped me tremendously in my NIH individual fellowship/training grant applications.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Karaoke

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Oh goodness. I think sometimes that if I had just believed in myself a little more – liked myself a bit more maybe things would have been more ok.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Baking shows, making/creating things, live theatre, walking around NYC.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on the Black lives matters protests and police violence. It was stunning – I was in tears.

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

When I was in high school, I traveled to Europe as part of the German American Partnership program. We stayed with host families in Berlin, then traveled around Europe. My grandfather collected rocks and people got him rocks from all over the world. So, I got him rocks from every country – and even convinced a guard to get me a rock from the grounds of Buckingham Palace for him. So, I packed all of those in my bag when I returned to the US. I had to go through customs and they x-rayed my bag bc it was so heavy and – well, rocky. They didn’t believe me that I had rocks. I had a bag of rocks.

31 What is your favorite animal?

Penguins. Or pandas. Or tigers. I also love squirrels and skunks.

32 What is your favorite book?

There’s an illustrator named Gyo Fujikawa. When I was little I had her Mother Goose book which has the most stunning illustrations of diverse children from all over the world. I would pore over the illustrations in that book. I still love them – and recently learned she was quite the trailblazer for her diverse depictions of children.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Mashed potatoes.

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

The perfect fall day – I call it a “7-up day” because it is crisp and clean.

35 What is your favorite plant?

Basil

36 What is your favorite science fact?

There really aren’t that many facts in psychology. I was trained partially by someone who espoused a postmodern view of psychology which fit well with my theatre background. Pervading this is the idea that there is no objective truth – there are many subjective ones. This is, I think, critical in psychology.

37 What is your favorite season?

Fall

38 What is your favorite smell?

Vanilla

39 What is your favorite sound?

A happy baby

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I’m very curious and like to take in disparate things and find connections between them.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Right now it is “evince” bc a reviewer on a manuscript disliked my use of the word – so as my act of rebellion, I want to use it everywhere.

42 What is your proudest moment?

Getting my PhD.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Weeping Willow

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Everything – I love NYC

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I’m 1/2 Bohemian. Most people don’t know that – and don’t even know that Bohemia was once a country.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Ivy Onyeador @Ivuoma (twitter)