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News Section: Politics

Terri Wonder Appointed to UCF Research Advisory Board for Study of Combat Stress

Published Friday, August 29, 2014 12:06 am

BRADENTON -- Terri Wonder, candidate for Manatee County Commissioner-at-Large, District 6, has been appointed to the University of Central Florida RESTORES military advisory board for the study of combat stress. Directed by Debroah C. Beidel, PhD, ABPP, Pegasus Professor of Psychology, UCF RESTORES is a clinical research center dedicated to the study of all facets of anxiety, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including etiology, psychopathology, treatment, resilience and prevention.

A unique feature of UCF RESTORES is the development and use of established and emerging technologies to enhance prevention and intervention efforts. Wonder, who holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Education, specializes in applied research about the social psychology of top-down decision-making on vulnerable persons and communities.


Wonder worked as a US Army Civilian social scientist for the United States military between 2008 and 2013. Her work in a “mission-essential” program required her to travel “outside the wire” to assist US combat personnel with social reconstruction programs in Iraq.

No stranger to the sources of extreme stress in violent environments, when asked if she has ever been shot at, Terri said, “Yes, numerous times. But combat stress takes on myriad forms. During war-time, civil-military service personnel work on incredibly high operational tempos. Working full-throttle every day for long hours with very little sleep even when not under fire can cause major changes to a person’s consciousness. Adapting to a slower pace back home can be trying for many people who’ve served in a war zone.”

In 2010, Terri Wonder was given a Superior Civilian Service Award for her high-visibility research for the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq, the Commanding General of Task Force 134, the Joint Fires and Effects Cell, and the Social Reconciliation Cell at Camp Victory, Baghdad. She also has received numerous commendations for her work with the Navy Riverine One Squadron and the Marine Expeditionary Forces in Western Iraq, 2008-9. Terri Wonder’s pre-deployment training took her to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and the National Training Center Exercise, Ft. Irwin, California.

Wonder has numerous academic publications to her credit, the most recent being an article about Pashtun culture and the future of Afghanistan in The Marine Corps University Journal. Currently, she is working as a consultant for a start-up organization, Hafaza International, dedicated to combating human trafficking.

A second-generation Floridian whose grandparents were Polish-immigrant sharecroppers in North Florida, Wonder was born in Gainesville but has lived in the Sarasota-Bradenton area since she was three years old. She has lived in Manatee County since 1987 and currently resides in Bayshore Gardens with her husband, Ray Wonder, a retired community college professor who volunteers as a Guardian Ad Litem child advocate.

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