Brenda is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences and director of the BU Lab for Contemplative Studies. She holds a doctorate in developmental psychology from Boston University and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Saint Michael’s College, Vermont. She completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University, the University of Sheffield, and Vanderbilt University.

Brenda studies how contemplative practice and solitude experiences in nature facilitate mental and physical health. She is co-investigator on a Templeton Grand Challenges for Human Flourishing, which explores the ways individuals and communities cope and thrive under conditions of extreme adversity. Her current studies focus on how women of color address their social and spiritual needs while seeking treatment for cancer. 

Brenda is also the recipient of a 2020 Excellence in Teaching Award and a Social Justice & Sustainability Award (College of Arts & Sciences). She also serves as a mentor to first-generation scholars in the College Access & Student Services Program and leads meditation groups at Marsh Chapel and the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center.