Cierra is a graduate student interested in intergroup relations between host society members and migrant communities as well as resilience as a sociocultural framework. As a McNair Scholar at Boise State University, Cierra has pursued applied research opportunities with migrant populations through her field work with the West African AIDS Foundation in Accra, Ghana as well as through research with refugee populations in the Human Development & Ecology Lab. Cierra is also passionate about increasing access to higher education for underrepresented students and is a part of a variety of community outreach activities as a Yale Ciencia Academy fellow.
Brooke is a graduate student whose research interests include international justice mechanisms, reconciliation processes, how the human rights framework impacts conflict resolution, and understanding conflict as a source of meaning across varying cultures. Brooke has pursued research projects in Dharamsala, India evaluating how human rights rhetoric has influenced members of the Tibetan Exile Community in both their personal and political ambitions as well as in Southern Louisiana working with the Biloxi-Chitimacha Tribal Council for the creation of a needs assessment to address climate change-based migration. As a previous Peace Corps Armenia Community Development Volunteer and an AmeriCorps Project Conserve Member in Western North Carolina, Brooke is invested in the application of research to better understand and address the needs of vulnerable communities facing an increasingly connected but also resource-stressed world.
Trisha is a graduate student in the Intergroup Relations and Social Justice lab. She received her B.A. in Psychology at Rutgers University –Newark in 2015. Broadly, Trisha’s research centers around intergroup relations, prejudice reduction, and conflict associated with social justice efforts. Her research examines how people’s social identities impact their interpretations of intergroup contexts and their experiences while interacting with members of other groups. She is specifically interested in understanding how these interactions enhance advantage groups’ psychological investment in equality. She is working on interventions to bridge group differences in the U.S., Rwanda, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. She also serves as an intern with the Psychological Study of Social Issues' United Nations NGO Committee (https://www.spssi.org/), which advocates for the use of psychological research for U.N. policy.
Gorana is a graduate student in the Cognition Across Development Lab (CAD lab) led by Dr. Tara Mandalaywala. She received her B.S. in psychology from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL in 2015. Since then, she has worked as a lab coordinator at Boston College in the Cooperation Lab investigating the development of fairness and cooperation in young children. Gorana is interested in understanding the development of racial social cognition. That is, how are children learning and thinking about race and applying that knowledge in their daily lives? How does race influence what children think of others and how they expect others to behave? Currently, Gorana and Tara are collaborating with Linda on an adult study investigating changes in Asian prejudice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liora is a graduate student who is passionate about asking questions on underlying psychological reasons of social-political conflicts and finding interventions informed by social psychology research with the goal of achieving a more just, equal and peaceful society. She received her B.A. in psychology and international relations at Brown University and her master's degree in conflict mediation at University of Barcelona. During her studies, she volunteered in organizations that bring together members of groups in conflict for educational workshops and community mediation sessions, in Israel and Catalonia. She is specifically interested in exploring alternative real-life positive intergroup contact situations such as language exchange programs, music groups, cooking/sharing food as interventions to reduce prejudices, change attitudes and improve intergroup relations.
Dr. Christina Rucinski is a postdoctoral researcher in the Intergroup Relations and Social Justice lab. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from Fordham University. Christina’s research examines how the social interactions children experience with teachers and peers in school impact their development. In particular, she has focused on how exposure to racially/ethnically diverse schools and classrooms influences elementary students’ development in social-emotional, executive function, and academic domains. She is also interested in understanding factors that promote K-12 teachers’ confidence and effectiveness engaging in race-related discussions with students, as well as factors that increase equity in school discipline.
Nicole is a senior at UMass Amherst pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Certificate of Social Work. She was drawn to this research after coursework broadened her focus in Psychology from counseling and therapy to include intergroup relations. Her particular interest in the IRSJ lab’s research is working toward identifying methods of prejudice reduction or prevention. Nicole combines this passion for social justice work with a love of the performing arts as a member of a peer education theater troupe at UMass, Shaha The Storytellers, which focuses on issues of social justice and diversity on the college campus.
Illuminating human connections and helping people speak their emotional truth drives Sam to do the work she does. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a self-designed B.A. in Emotional-Linguistic Articulation and a minor in Psychology, she began her social justice work earnestly as a staff member at the UMass Stonewall Center, the campus’ LGBTQIA+ resource center. She is continuously made strikingly aware of the need to disengage from performative allyship and to be accountable to one’s own community as well as other historically marginalized communities; she hopes to further delve into these goals through intergroup relations psychological research. When Sam is not pursuing research, she can be found bopping to bachata and ballet, savoring a buzzy synthpop beat, and trying really dang hard not to be too verbose in composing bios.
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