Current Projects

Sociopolitical Context and Identity

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Using socioecological models of development, I investigate how the macrocontext of young people’s lives shape their psychological and academic wellbeing (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, Rogers et al., 2021; Destin, 2020). In particular, I study how the sociopolitical context of race, or the social and political discourse that emerges in the form of mass media, governmental policies, and public attitudes shapes the academic motivation, school belonging, and wellbeing of students from racially stigmatized backgrounds. In this line of research, I use experimental methods to test how these forces affect students’ academic motivation and belonging.

Life Narratives and Race

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Humans understand themselves and make sense of the world through stories (McAdams, 2001). Across cultures, humans have used stories to develop and sustain ideas about who they are through time. Integrating life-story with racial identity, I explore how racially minoritized people tell the stories of who they are and how they make sense of their educational journeys. In particular, I ask young people to articulate their stories through a specific social identity and explore what stories become salient, how they connect those stories through time, and how they understand the influence of those stories to their own lives. 

Community-based Research in Chicago

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For the last several years, I have been partnering with a local public elementary school to conduct research on how a school community thinks about and engages with topics of race and the broader societal context. By conducting semi-structured focus groups and interviews with staff, parents, and students, we hope to offer important insights on next steps including curriculum development, after-school programming, and supports for families and educators. In particular, we are trying to answer the question, how do school communities think about race and what influence does the sociopolitical context have in these ideas? This research-practice partnership is dedicated to prioritizing the needs of the community throughout the process from data collection to dissemination.