Polina Beloborodova

Polina Beloborodova

PhD Candidate

Virginia Commonwealth University


Polina is a PhD Candidate in Social Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, working with Dr. Kirk Warren Brown. After earning a BS in Management at HSE University (Moscow, Russia) and a double MS, also in Management, at HSE University and ESCP Europe (Paris, France), she started her career in business. However, Polina eventually found her calling in psychology research, completed a PhD in Psychology from HSE University under the guidance of Dr. Dmitry A. Leontiev and is currently working toward her second, quantitative research methods-focused PhD at VCU.

Polina served as Research Assistant for Dr. Ryan Niemiec at the VIA Institute on Character, Dr. Itai Ivtzan at Naropa University, and Dr. James Bjork at the VCU Decision Neuroscience Lab. While at HSE University, she also built and headed the Career Service at the International College of Economics and Finance.

Polina’s research interests lie in the intersection of contemplative science and positive psychology. Polina’s upcoming dissertation study funded by the Mind & Life Francisco J. Varela Grant will explore the effects of a smartphone-based mindfulness training on college students' emotional well-being using the data collected via daily surveys, smartphone sensors, and interviews. In her free time, Polina enjoys reading Russian classics, spending time in nature, and taking long walks around historical neighborhoods of Richmond.

Download CV.

  • Positive Psychology
  • Contemplative Science
  • Sustainability
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods
  • PhD in Social Psychology, expected in 2024

    Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia)

  • PhD in Psychology, 2019

    HSE University (Moscow, Russia)

  • MS in Management, 2011

    HSE Univeristy (Moscow, Russia) & ESCP Europe (Paris, France), double degree

  • BS in Management, 2009

    HSE Univeristy (Perm, Russia)

Research Experience & Leadership

Research Assistant
Jun 2021 – Present Richmond, Virginia
Created an R Markdown-based automated eye-tracking data analysis and reporting pipeline (valid trials identification, saccade detection, first saccade/fixation analysis) and a Shiny app for raw data visualization.
Research Assistant
Jun 2018 – Sep 2019 Remote work
Completed a systematic literature review on the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (73 studies; 18,609 participants), completed literature reviews on mindfulness and character strengths.
Research Assistant
Jul 2018 – Sep 2018 Remote work
Assisted Dr. Itai Ivtzan in publishing the Handbook of Mindfulness-Based Programmes.
Research Assistant
Oct 2015 – Aug 2019 Moscow, Russia
Led a 4-year Russian Foundation for Basic Research-funded project on career calling among Russian students, (1) theoretical analysis, including religious and philosophical roots and contemporary research, (2) exploratory qualitative study, (3) intervention study.
Head of Career Service
Feb 2015 – Aug 2019 Moscow, Russia
Built career services from scratch, (1) developed curriculum for career orientation and job search training, (2) provided individual career counseling, (3) built a network of partner employers and organized several employer-taught elective courses and countless career events, (4) updated and maintained alumni database, (5) launched alumni-student mentor program and networking meetings.

Grants & Awards

Francisco J. Varela Grant
Effects and mechanisms of smartphone-based mindfulness training on emotional well-being in at-risk college students (PI; $20,000)
Russian Foundation for Basic Research Grant
Personality development through the transition from childhood to adulthood: psychological mechanisms, indicators and trajectories (Co-Investigator, PI: Dmitry Leontiev; $18,850), project 17-06-01009


Statistics for Psychological Science I and II (graduate), Lab Instructor
Teaching labs for groups of 13-17 students (incoming psychology PhD programs cohort). In addition to required SPSS labs, interested students can go to optional R labs.
Application of Statistics in Psychology; Perception; Principles of Learning and Cognition; Physiological Psychology (undergraduate), Teaching Assistant
Served as teaching asstant for several large undergraduare courses (over 100 students each). In addition to my main duties (grading and admin work), I conducted test review sessions in the Physiological Psychology course, as well as extra credit workshops and a lecture for Perception and Principles of Learning and Cognition courses.
Psychology of Personal Well-Being (all levels), Primary Instructor
I co-developed and co-taught this elective course in collaboration with Margarita Andreeva, MS. It was informed by positive psychology research and aimed to provide students with an overview of psychology as a science and introduce psychological tools for enhancing academic and personal life. We used a combination of lectures (~20%) and discussions and activities (~80%).
My Calling and Professional Development Strategy (all levels), Primary Instructor
This elective course was based on my dissertation research and was designed to help students find possible areas of professional development and start moving towards them. The format was interactive training sessions with discussions, individual and group work and almost no lecturing. In 2017–2019 the course became so popular that the number of students seeking to enroll substantially exceeded the maximum class size.
Career Orientation and Job Search Seminars (all levels), Primary Instructor
As Head of Career Service at one of HSE University departments, I developed and taught a series of workshops on career orientation and job search (groups of 10 to 100 students, twice a year for four consecutive years), and provided individual career counseling on a daily basis.

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Recent Publications

(2022). Comparing Impacts of Meditation Training in Focused Attention, Open Monitoring, and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on Emotion Reactivity and Regulation: Neural and Subjective Evidence from a Dismantling Study. Coming soon in Psychophysiology.

(2022). Mindfulness and Satisfaction of Basic Psychological Needs. Coming soon in Oxford Handbook of Self-Determination Theory.

(2017). Contemporary international research on the phenomenon of life calling. Voprosy Psikhologii.