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The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences holds diversity, equity, and inclusion as important values. We view diversity broadly, including but not limited to an individual's race, age, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability status, beliefs, and culture, as well as how those identities intersect. Supporting diversity in our faculty, student body, and staff, as well as valuing and respecting diversity in our teaching, research, service, and clinical work, represent important priorities that contribute to the strength of the department. We encourage the open exchange of ideas from a variety of viewpoints in an environment of respect, collaboration, and fairness. We promote the principles of equity and inclusion within our department and beyond through recruitment and retention, graduate training, clinical work, research, service and teaching, as well as through open and productive dialogue.
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Jasmin Cloutier - Much of my research focuses on how race and status-based diversity impacts how we form impressions of others. This work stems from a theoretical framework that systematically investigate the different facets of how social status shapes the perception and evaluation of others. As socioeconomic stratification becomes increasingly prevalent and salient around the world, being able to identify when status-based biases occur and what are the consequences of these biases is vital to prevent discriminatory behavior. My other central research focuses on examining how interracial contact and motivation impacts our impressions of both outgroup and ingroup individuals. For example, my research reveals that perceivers with greater experience with racial outgroup members have differential brain responses to Black familiar faces than those with little contact, indicating a potential threat reduction. We are also investigating how interracial contact broadly shapes brain responses and mentalizing performance towards others beyond interracial interactions.
Chad Forbes - The underrepresentation of minorities in academia and women in STEM fields has deleterious ramifications on the nation’s economy, academic and corporate diversity, national productivity, innovation and quality of STEM products, services and education, and overall quality of life. My research program seeks to identify ways to increase the representation of minorities in academia and women in STEM fields; thus it stands to have broad impacts on future intervention programs, science and our nation. My research has been disseminated to many minorities and women STEM majors in public forums, which has provided an opportunity to educate these groups, as well as majority groups, about the deleterious consequences of stereotype threat on minorities’ academic and women’s STEM engagement and the dire need to promote their retention in these fields. Furthermore, dozens of students, including women and underrepresented minorities, are trained yearly in cutting-edge neuroscience methodologies and have had the opportunity to present findings at national conferences. This is in addition to contributions my research program has made to the University of Delaware’s Center for the Study of Diversity, as well as numerous McNair scholar’s that I, as a first generation college student myself, have mentored in the past.
James Jones (Professor Emeritus) - James Jones has developed the idea of diversity competency—the perspective, attitude and motivation to interact in and benefit from diverse contexts and relationships. The diversity competence model consists of five main features: diversity self-awareness, perspective taking, cultural intelligence, personal and social responsibility and knowledge application. We have developed a 15-item diversity competency scale, which has demonstrated good psychometric properties and is associated with a variety of trait level characteristics integral to prosocial behaviors. Current research explores the ways in which diversity competency is expressed in problem solving, interpersonal relationships and interactions, decision-making and academic success. The research further explores how academic curriculum and co-curricular activities contribute to the development of diversity competency.
Jennifer Kubota - The aim of my work is to identify the factors that reduce implicit and explicit social group bias to better understand how to intervene in discrimination and decision-making. My approach to diversity science underscores my deep commitment to prejudice intervention research by not only identifying how we might decrease discrimination, but also testing these interventions in real-world settings in order to more appropriately inform public policy. I also enjoy serving as a mentor and providing a voice for diverse scholars and strive to include a variety of diverse perspectives in the courses I teach. Throughout my academic career, I have made it a priority to engage fellow members of underrepresented communities with the goals of highlighting resilience and building sources of mentorship to maximize positive academic outcomes. As a multiracial first-generation scholar my personal journey, research, teaching, and service can be characterized by a strong commitment to promoting and creating diversity and multicultural competency.
Peter Mende-Siedlecki - My primary program of research focuses on group-based influences on social perception. In particular, my work examines how the malleability of social perpeption can results in real-world disparities and inequality. For example, we've shown that racial disparities in pain treatment may stem, in part, from a perceptual source. White perceivers show more conservative thresholds for recognizing pain on Black (versus White) faces, and this gap in perception is driven by disruptions in human-typical face processing. Moreover, racial bias in pain perception predicts racial bias in treatment, above and beyond the influence of explicit stereotypes and prejudice. More recently, my lab's work has been focused on how racial bias in pain care is moderated by both bottom-up stimulus features, as well as top-down information regarding gender and social status. Beyond the focus of my research, I am deeply committed to fostering diversity in psychology and neuroscience, in terms of both demographics and viewpoints. In my lab in particular, I've made it a priority to recruit members of groups underrepresented in STEM at all levels of participation in my lab (from undergraduate research assistants to my graduate trainees) and I will continue to uphold this responsibility. Women of color are particularly underrepresented in my field, and thus are strongly encouraged to apply.
Mary Dozier - In our lab, we study the development of young children who experience early adversity. On the basis of our findings and the findings of others, we have developed a parenting intervention designed to enhance child outcomes. The parenting program, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC), helps parents provide nurturing, sensitive care. Through randomized clinical trials, we have been assessing the effectiveness of the ABC intervention over time. We have studied the effects among parents involved in the child welfare system, foster parents, parents adopting internationally, and parents who are dependent on opioids. With the exception of parents adopting internationally, these groups have been diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. We are disseminating the program nationally and internationally, adapting as needed to different cultures while retaining the essence of the intervention.
Julie Hubbard - My research program encompasses both basic and intervention work in the field of children's peer relations and aggressive behavior. At the level of basic research, I am particularly interested in furthering our understanding of the important role that bystanders play in children's bullying episodes, delineating the mechanisms underlying the reactive versus proactive functions of childhood aggression, and learning more about the precursors and outcomes of children's peer rejection and victimization. Over time, these topics have converged and provided the empirical foundation for an implementation and evaluation of a bullying prevention program in Delaware schools. Children and adolescents who are racial/ethnic minorities in the US are particularly likely to be involved in youth aggression as both perpetrators and victims, phenomena driven by cycles of discrimination and poverty that disproportionately affect minority youth in our society. For this reason, a critical goal of the work in my lab is to evaluate the efficacy of our school-based bullying prevention program for minority youth and the modifications that would increase its effectiveness.
Naomi Sadeh - The Personality and Dysregulation Lab conducts research that addresses issues that directly impact the lives of marginalized, disadvantaged, and minority groups, including drug addiction, traumatic stress, suicidal behavior, violence perpetration, and criminal behavior. The main focus of the lab is investigating the causes of these public health problems by studying psychological, biological, and environmental mechanisms that confer risk for impulsivity and difficulty controlling impulsive urges. For example, we are currently investigating what causes individuals with externalizing disorders (e.g., substance use disorders, antisocial personality disorder) to act impulsively in "risky" situations that evoke strong emotions and tax mental resources by looking at the contributions of brain circuitry, emotional and working memory processes, personality, and stress exposure. This research is expected to ultimately aid in the development of new treatments for mental health problems related to impulsivity by leading to a deeper understanding of the brain networks, emotional processes, and cognitive functions that support control of impulsive urges. Undergraduates who assist with research in the lab have the opportunity to directly engage with a diverse group of adults, as the majority of our research participants identify as ethnic minorities, come from communities with high rates of violent and nonviolent crime, report a history of repeated trauma exposure, and meet criteria for a range of psychiatric disorders.
Sophia Choukas-Bradley - The Teen and Young Adult Lab (TAYA Lab) conducts research focused on interpersonal and sociocultural influences on adolescent mental health. Major themes across our research projects include gender, sexuality, social media use, and body image. Much of our work focuses on understanding LGBTQ+ adolescents' identity, development, and mental health. Lab members have explored research questions related to the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in samples of racially and ethnically diverse adolescents. We use a broad range of study designs and methods, including qualitative interviews, which allow us to hear adolescents' own words and inform the development of larger-scale studies; longitudinal school-based studies, through which we can examine a broad range of behaviors over time; laboratory-based studies that integrate eye-tracking
technology; and anonymous online surveys, which allow us to reach understudied
populations. (For example, transgender adolescents who are not out to their
parents.) Visit the TAYA Lab website to learn more. The lab is new to UD as of June 2020 (moving from the University of Pittsburgh) and we will post opportunities for UD students to get involved in the near future.
Ryan Beveridge and Tim Fowles - The Center for Training, Evaluation and Community Collaboration (C-TECC) conducts research evaluating the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices in the community. The main focus of our work is to understand how evidence developed in intervention science laboratories can impact complex and diverse mental health systems of care that serve the public. We explore specific questions such as the effectiveness of laboratory-developed interventions in community settings, whether treatments can and need to be adapted to meet the needs of diverse populations, and how successful implementation efforts are in reaching underserved populations. In partnership with our community collaborators, we have assisted in training hundreds of community clinicians in evidence-based interventions, evaluated these efforts across the State of Delaware, and helped provide mental health services to thousands of individuals, most of whom identify as ethnic minorities and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Our work is informed by a fundamental drive to increase the impact and relevance of clinical psychological science to reducing the burden of mental illness on individuals and society. Community projects are ongoing, and students interested in working with us are encouraged to learn more at Center for Training, Evaluation and Community Collaboration website.
BRIDGE Visit Day: The BRIDGE Psychology network works to promote diversity and inclusion in clinical psychology graduate programs. Our department holds a BRIDGE visit day in which those interested in graduate school can visit UD and learn about our program.
James M. Jones Lecture Series: This lecture series aims to educate our community about the barriers to racial justice and the mechanisms that help us overcome them. The inaugural lecture of this series, entitled "Systemic Racism and Black Survival: A Black History Story," was grounded in Dr. James M. Jones' training as a social psychologist and his decades of living as a Black man in America, along with a focus on the resilience of Black people from their arrival in America in 1619 to their significant and consequential presence in 2022. Dr. Jones, Trustees' Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Africana Studies and director of the Center for the Study of Diversity at UD, is an internationally recognized scholar in the areas of prejudice, racism and diversity.
Project Brainlight: An outreach program led by graduate students in our department, focused on developing interest in psychological and brain sciences to students who may not get exposure to this in the classroom. Projects include visits to local schools and Brain-STEM Day, where local middle- and high-school students come to UD to get hands-on experience with neuroscience.
Scientista Foundation: Katrina Milbocker and Melanie Matyi co-founded a graduate chapter of the Scientista Foundation on campus this September. The mission of this organization is to promote the success of female graduate students in STEM-related disciplines. They are currently working on establishing a mentorship program between their members and those of the undergraduate Scientista Foundation chapter to encourage young women at UD to continue pursuing a career in science.
U.S. Probation District of Delaware Reentry Court: A community engagement program aimed at supporting adults who are on supervised release following a federal prison sentence and are at significant risk for reincarceration. Dr. Sadeh and advanced Clinical Science graduate students provide group and one-on-one cognitive-behavioral therapy to participants in the Delaware Re-entry Court with the goal of helping them successfully transition back to living in the community.
- Persons of Color (POC) Affinity Group
The PBS Persons of Color Affinity Group includes members of the PBS Department (grad students, staff, post-docs and faculty) who self-identify as racial or ethnic minority individuals. The primary purpose of this group is to meet and a foster safe space for connection and community, learning, advocacy, support, and self-care. The umbrella term "Persons of Color" is used intentionally for the purpose of creating a broad space for all people who identify as members of racially and/or ethnically marginalized groups. This affinity space will be realized through regularly scheduled meetings, informal gatherings, as well as community engagement events (e.g. dinners, cultual outings). If you identify as a POC in the PBS community and would like to join the group, please email J-P Laurenceau.
- LGBTQ+ Affinity Group
The primary goal of the LGBTQ+ Affinity Group is to create a community of PBS grad students, staff, post-docs, and faculty who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community - in other words, who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or any other gender or sexual minority. Through monthly gatherings and other events, we aim to create a safe space for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, including those who are not out to the broader department, to come together for connection, community, support, and advocacy. For more information please contact Sophie Choukas-Bradley.
Our Psychology Department is home to an active Equity and Inclusion Committee that was established to understand and address issues regarding diversity and inclusion, both within our own research and teaching and beyond. The Equity and Inclusion Committee welcomes participation from anyone who is part of the Psychological and Brain Sciences community (undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff). For more information on the committee, please contact Dr. Jasmin Cloutier (email@example.com) and Dr. Jennifer Kubota (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Letter to the UD community: Multiple faculty, graduate students, and staff in the PBS department signed a letter to the UD community in support of UD black, Muslim, Jewish, LGBTQ+, Latinx, Asian and Native American communities, along with people without papers, people with disabilities, women and girls, the impoverished, and immigrants and refugees.
Police Brutality and Racism toward Black People: A Letter from PBS Faculty. We are committed to improving the climate in our department for all marginalized groups.
Social Justice Coffee Hour: The goal of the Social Justice Coffee Hour, organized by PBS faculty member Lisa Jaremka and various campus co-sponsors, is to allow students, staff, faculty members, and community members space and time to collectively learn about and meaningfully engage with social issues. Each coffee hour focuses on a different topic, and features 3 speakers plus extensive discussion. Thus far, the coffee hours have focused on intersectional identities, mass incarceration, talking to kids about racism, and the #metoo movement.
Demonstration of Solidarity: Dr. Lisa Jaremka, in conjunction with various campus co-sponsors including PBS, organized a demonstration of solidarity on the UD green to show support for members of under-represented groups.
Jennifer Kubota is a member of the Diversity Scholars Network through the National Center for Institutional Diversity housed at University of Michigan. Diversity Scholars Network | U-M LSA National Center for Institutional Diversity (umich.edu)