DISI Mentors

*Interested in mentoring a DISI postdoctoral research associate.


*José Causadias - Jose.Causadias@asu.edu

Dr. José Causadias' research focus is on promoting innovation in cultural research that can advance behavioral sciences. One of his research projects is the Meta-Research in Culture Initiative (MARTA), aimed at generating quantitative research synthesis of cultural studies (meta-analyses) and identifying biases in the way psychologists study culture, ethnicity, and race.

*Dawn DeLay - dawn.delay@asu.edu

Dr. Dawn DeLay's research focus is on peer relationships. Key themes include how peer relationships impact child and adolescent adjustment and wellbeing. Complimenting her research focus is an interest in advanced statistical methods, such as longitudinal social network analysis, that allow scholars to understand the complexities and dynamics behind peer relationship processes. Current research projects include the Fostering Adolescent School Transitions (FAST) Study examining the interplay between adolescent peer relationships, identity, and adjustment. Dr. DeLay also collaborates on national and international research teams focusing on how peer relationships impact adolescent development.

*Melissa Delgado - mydelgado@email.arizona.edu

Dr. Melissa Delgado is an Associate Professor of Family Studies and Human Development and the co-chair of the Latino Youth and Families Research Initiative of the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families at the University of Arizona. Dr. Delgado received her Ph.D. in Family Studies and Human Development from Arizona State University (ASU) and completed training as a W. T. Grant Foundation post-doctoral fellow at ASU. Taking a strengths-based approach, Dr. Delgado's collaborative program of research focuses on the mechanisms that reduce racial/ethnic inequality (e.g., educational) and promote Latino's positive development across early to late adolescence, particularly for youth of Mexican origin. Her body of work highlights the adaptive cultural responses in youths' settings which contribute to variation in relations between macro forces, including ethnic discrimination and economic hardship, and psychosocial outcomes. More recently, as a Greater Texas Foundation fellow, she is qualitatively (i.e., using focus groups) and quantitatively (across three waves of data) examining the roles of math and science academic identity and their links to family and school supports, culture, academic success, and overall well-being. Dr. Delgado teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on child and adolescent development, Latino families, and research design and methodology. Including her time as faculty at Texas State University, she has mentored over 50 undergraduate and graduate students.

*Kit Elam - kit.elam@asu.edu

Kit Elam's research examines the interplay between children's genetic predispositions and family environments in predicting the development of child psychopathology. This research embraces diversity and inclusion by examining patterns of family interaction across race/ethnicity, and child and parent gender. Findings are currently being used to inform and develop interventions to promote positive parenting for at-risk children.

Stephen Elliott - Steve_elliott@asu.edu

Stephen Elliott's research focus is on the assessment of children's social emotional learning skills and the design and evaluation of interventions to improve children's social emotional functioning in schools and at home. This work collectively is part of a larger research program on opportunity to learn, academic engagement, and achievement growth.

*Rick Fabes - rfabes@asu.edu

Richard Fabes is interested in the development of positive peer relationships and in the development of strategies that promote diverse and inclusive relationships. His work focuses on the qualities and contexts that contribute to children's success and how positive emotions/behaviors such as kindness, hope, compassion, empathy, and helping can be facilitated and the outcomes associated with these. He works with a large, interdisciplinary team to create positive, sustainable interventions that promote positive change.

*Laura Hanish - laura.hanish@asu.edu

Laura Hanish is interested in how children develop harmonious and compassionate peer relationships that are free from aggression, bullying, and harassment and in the ways in which peer relationships can be effectively supported to enhance well-being for all children. Her work involves breaking down the social barriers that are related to gender, race/ethnicity, and other indicators of diversity and that interfere with building cooperative and inclusive relationships. There is a translational component to her work; she collaborates with an interdisciplinary team to develop, test, and disseminate programs for building inclusive peer relationships.

*Justin Jager - justin.jager@asu.edu

While focusing primarily on the family and peer contexts, Justin Jager's research is devoted to unpacking how complex person-context interactions inform development across adolescence and the transition to adulthood. In terms of developmental outcomes, his research focuses primarily on substance use, risky behavior, mental health, and academic achievement. Consistent with DISI's mission, segments of his research also examine how sources of diversity (e.g., race/ethnic, gender, socio-economic status, and sexual orientation) inform development across adolescence and the transition to adulthood.

Stephen Kulis - kulis@asu.edu

Stephen Kulis' research focuses on cultural processes in health disparities, from several angles: the role of gender and ethnic identity in adolescent drug use and in responsiveness to prevention interventions; rigorous methods of adapting prevention programs for ethnic minority communities; and contextual neighborhood and school level influences on youth substance use. He is currently leading two parallel NIH-funded studies with urban American Indian communities. Each is a cultural adaptation and trial of evidence-based prevention programs—one for adolescents and another for parents—to create culturally responsive interventions that strengthen the capacities of Native families in urban areas to protect their adolescent children from substance use and other risky behaviors.

*Becky Ladd - Becky.Ladd@asu.edu

Dr. Becky Ladd research interest focuses on the role of peer relationships in children and youth's social, emotion and cognitive development. Although she also studies friendship and peer acceptance, her research is primarily focused on peer victimization and it deleterious effects on children's development (and potential mediators and moderators of that association). She has data from two longitudinal studies: one which followed children from entry into formal schooling (Kindergarten) through early adulthood (early 20's) and another that followed two cohorts of children over a four year period (1st to 4th grade and 3rd to 6th).

Roy Levy - roy.levy@asu.edu

Roy Levy's research interests focus on methodological investigations of and applications in psychometrics and statistical modeling, as they play out in the areas of assessment, education, and the social sciences. As these areas acknowledge and become attuned to the implications of diversity, so too should the psychometric and statistical models, recognizing group, individual, and contextual differences. Understanding where such models do and not apply, and how they can be enhanced to better reflect diversity, is a burgeoning area of psychometrics and statistics as they are applied to assessment, education, and the social sciences. He would be glad to help post docs with quantitative methods, but would likely not be a primary mentor.

*Sarah Lindstrom Johnson - sarahlj@asu.edu

Sarah Lindstrom Johnson's work looks at the intersection between health and educational outcomes to understand and intervene upon potential common causes of disparities. To do so, she works with youth serving organizations to implement and evaluate interventions that seek to create supportive contexts to promote developmental competencies.

*Carol Martin - carol.martin@asu.edu

The research Carol Martin conducts focuses on gender diversity and how it relates to psychological well-being, peer relationships, and academic success. She is interested in how individuals view their gender identity, attitudes, and stereotypes; and how gender diversity and inclusion within classrooms (gender-integrated classrooms) promotes academic and social success for students. She is also interested in more fully understanding the diversity that exists in gender identity and gendered expression.

*Carlos Santos - carlos.e.santos@asu.edu

Carolos Santos is an Assistant Professor in Arizona State University's (ASU) Counseling & Counseling Psychology program. He was previously a research fellow at Harvard University's Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and a research faculty member at T. Denny Sanford School at ASU. He serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Adolescent Research, and completed his undergraduate and doctoral degrees at New York University, and a master's degree at Harvard. In 2017, he was selected as the "Emerging Professional Contributions to Research Award," an early career research award given by the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race or Division 45 of the American Psychological Association. In his research, he employs a normative (i.e., by considering not only risks but also resilience and protective factors), relational (i.e., he especially interested in examining psychological phenomena from a relational standpoint; e.g., much of his work has looked at how identities unfold in peer relationships among adolescents) and contextual framework (e.g., he studies diverse adolescents as embedded in diverse settings; e.g., family and schools). Past publications have explored how intersecting social identities (e.g., ethnic-racial, gender, sexual minority identities), as well as related processes (e.g., stereotyping, discrimination), impact well-being (broadly defined) among diverse youth and young adults. Dr. Santos is currently involved in various efforts associated with interpreting the framework of intersectionality to the psychological sciences, including a recently co-edited special section on the applications of intersectionality to counseling psychology research recently published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, and another on intersectionality applications to research in developmental psychology to be published in a new issue of New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. He is the co-editor with Adriana Umana-Taylor of a book on studying ethnic identity from diverse methodological and disciplinary perspectives published by American Psychological Association Press.

*Eleanor Seaton - Eleanor.Seaton@asu.edu

Eleanor Seaton is a developmental psychologist and her research is guided by three areas of inquiry that explore race among Black youth. The first area explores the measurement of racial discrimination, as well as mediators and moderators for racial discrimination experiences. The second area explores the development and content of racial identity, defined as the attitudes and feelings that Black youth ascribe to their racial group. The last area probes the complex relation between racial discrimination and racial identity among Black youth. Dr. Seaton uses approaches embedded in a variety of methodological designs (e.g., daily diary, survey, qualitative) and analytical techniques (e.g., latent class, hierarchical linear modeling). Dr. Seaton's recent project was the DERBY (Daily Experiences of Race for Black Youth) study, which included a survey, experiential sampling and qualitative component. Dr. Seaton's current projects include the development of a racial discrimination measure for use with African American youth that assesses incidents at the nexus of race and gender, and a pilot project examining cortisol levels using biomarker specimens with daily racial discrimination experiences among African American college students.

*Tracy Spinrad - tspinrad@asu.edu

Tracy Spinrad's current research focuses on understanding the development of children's prosocial extensivity. She defines prosocial extensivity as prosocial behavior towards diverse people (i.e., all genders, ethnicity, race, religion) versus prosocial behavior toward those who are similar to themselves (i.e., in-groups). She focuses on development of prosocial extensivity as well as factors such as socialization that may predict individual differences in this behavior.

*Russell Toomey - toomey@email.arizona.edu

Dr. Russell Toomey is an Associate Professor of Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona. He is also the Chair of the Youth Development and Resilience research initiative of the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families, as well as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Adolescent Research. Dr. Toomey received his Ph.D. in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona and completed an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Arizona State University in the Prevention Research Center and the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics. In 2016, he was awarded the Early Career Research Award by the Society for Research on Adolescence. He studies the processes by which youth with marginalized identities thrive and are resilient despite the barriers and challenges they encounter in society (for example, discrimination). His focus is on health outcomes among youth who identify or express non-privileged sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions, and ethnicities, and the intersections among these identities. His research identifies ways to support identity formation, school and family resources, and coping mechanisms that contribute to health, well-being, and educational outcomes. At the University of Arizona, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on adolescent development and advanced graduate-level applied statistics and has mentored over a dozen undergraduate and graduate students.

*Monica Tsethlikai - monica.tsethlikai@asu.edu

Monica Tsethlikai is interested in how children's daily activities shape the development of executive functions and memory with a special focus on American Indian children's active participation in historically grounded cultural and spiritual activities. Her current study explores whether engagement in cultural and spiritual activities buffers the known negative effects of toxic stress on the development of the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain associated with executive function development) and promotes positive developmental outcomes for urban American Indian youth. Her research focused on advocacy and social justice through empowerment by helping tribes develop evidence informed practices based on Indigenous knowledge and ways of being.

Kim Updegraff - kimberly.updegraff@asu.edu

Kimberly Updegraff's research encompasses three areas of the DISI: race/ethnicity, gender, and disabilities. Over the past 15 years, she has conducted longitudinal research on Latino youth to investigate the family, gender, and cultural socialization processes as they unfold across development and shape adolescents' and young adults' psychosocial functioning and physical health outcomes. In a more recent area of research, Dr. Updegraff is also studying sibling and family relationship processes in families raising a child diagnosed with autism.

*Carlos Valiente - valiente@asu.edu

The primary goal of Dr. Valiente's program of research is to identify ways educators and parents can foster children's social, emotional, and educational success. Towards this end, he supervises research projects on the development of children's temperament as well as on the role of parenting in children's social, emotional, and academic competence. He has also been involved in intervention research designed to promote students' readiness for, and success in, early elementary school. Dr. Valiente is currently advancing this line of scholarship in Ethiopia, where he is collaborating with a NGO that serves materially poor families by providing education, job training, and health care.
*Rebecca White - rebecca.white@asu.edu

Rebecca's program of research examines family, developmental, and cultural processes within U.S. neighborhood contexts, with particular emphasis on understanding risk and resilience among ethnic minority families and youths. As a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar, she examines the promoting and inhibiting characteristics of ethnically and racially structured neighborhood environments for development among Mexican-origin adolescents that are diverse with regards to language use, immigrant status, gender, socioeconomic status, and cultural orientations. She also publishes methodological and conceptual works dedicated to advancing high-quality research with diverse groups.

Natalie Wilkens - natalie.wilkens@asu.edu

Natalie D. Wilkens' researches children's social competence, social withdrawal, as well as socio-emotional and school-related adjustment problems. Her quantitative interests involve latent variable modeling of longitudinal data. Her research sometimes connects with DISI themes, in that she researches children's socio-emotional adaptation of children living in countries that have not received sufficient attention in the developmental literature. Furthermore, some of the children are from communities that are disadvantaged or marginalized.

*Katharine Zeiders - zeidersk@email.arizona.edu

Dr. Katharine Zeiders is an Assistant Professor of Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona. She is also the Co-Chair of the Latino Youth and Families research initiative of the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families. Dr. Zeiders received her Ph.D. in Family Studies and Human Development from Arizona State University and completed postdoctoral training at Northwestern University and ASU. She studies stress processes of ethnic and racial minority youth, identifying the ways that salient environmental stressors impact physical and mental health. She examines a number of physiological and behavioral mechanisms underlying stress processes that include HPA-axis activity and sleep. Her research explores cultural values and ethnic identity as factors that mitigate the effects of stress. She is currently a Co-PI on three projects, two that examined stress experienced during the 2016 Presidential election (among immigrant youth and college-attending young adults) and a project focused on weekly discrimination and diurnal cortisol among emerging adults in the Midwest. She serves on two editorial boards: Developmental Psychology and Journal of Research on Adolescence. At the University of Arizona, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on cultural development and advanced graduate-level applied statistics, and mentors undergraduate and graduate students.