I am an National Science Foundation and Greater Good Science Center Graduate Fellow at UC Berkeley. I have 3 distinct lines of research: 1) Studying implicit biases and the causal effects of cross-group friendship, 2) Investigating the underlying mechanisms leading to and implementing interventions for the disproportionate disciplining of Black and Brown students, 3) Looking at psychological processes in understudied populations. Additionally, I am interested in utilizing statistical methods and coding to improve psychological measurement and scoring algorithms.
Here is my CV.

About Me

Currently, I am a fourth year graduate student in the Social-Personality Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley. I work with Drs. Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Jason Okonofua, and Dacher Keltner. Before graduate school, I completed my B.A. in Psychology at UC Berkeley and received highest honors for my senior thesis investigating cross-group friendships online. Through my thesis I worked with Drs. Mendoza Denton and Jordan B. Leitner to develop an online paradigm to allow for dyad (specifically, cross-group dyads) pairing to be done completely online, expanding our participant pool beyond undergraduates. As a McNair Scholar I worked with Dr. Mendoza-Denton looking at the construction of Islamophobia in America, finding that ethnicity was the strongest predictor of Muslim stereotypes, not religion. In addition, I worked as a research assistant with Drs. Mendoza-Denton, Ozlem Ayduk, and Leitner a project on improving Mentor-Mentee relations. My role on this project was to recruit Black and Latino/a participants from the surrounding communities, collect saliva samples, and conduct saliva assays. Having received training in Dr. Lance Kriegsfeld's lab, I conducted saliva assays for levels of cortisol and IL-6 (hormonal correlates of stress). Prior to transferring to UC Berkeley, I attended community college and worked with Dr. Kimberley Duff. During this time, I was able to fully explore social psychology and realize my interests in studying the underlying mechanisms of stereotyping and prejudice.

Research Interests

Line 1: Cross-Group Friendships
Dr. Mendoza-Denton and I are researching ways of utilizing technology to foster online cross-group friendships and reduce implicit biases. While prior research has shown that contact and friendship can reduce prejudice, the potential role that the internet can play in facilitating contact and friendships has yet to be systematically and empirically explored. In addition, given that less attention has been devoted to outcomes specific to minority group members, there is a dire need for research that explores what happens to them in cross-group friendship interactions. With a grant from the Greater Good Science Center we are investigating this by: 1) Seeing the effects of friendship (vs. control) in an online setting and 2) Examining the effects of online cross-group friendships on implicit prejudice, emotions, and physiological reactivity.

Line 2: Disproportionate Discipline
With Dr. Okonofua, I am working with school districts across the nation to study the critical issue of disproportionate disciplining of Black and Brown students. Okonofua, Paunesku, & Walton(2016) found that implementing an online intervention for teachers to adopt an empathic mindset led to year-long suspension rates to be halved. This impact on disciplinary outcomes is hugely significant because suspension rates have been shown to predict negative life outcomes such as incarceration and unemployment. Okonofua & Eberhardt (2015) looked into the psychological mechanisms underlying the large racial disparities in school discipline. Their studies showed a Black-Escalation effect, i.e., teachers escalate their negative responses to Black (vs. White) students because of underlying racial stereotypes. This previous work guides our current research with Principals, Assistant Principals, and Teachers to assess pre-existing biases and implement an empathy-based intervention in order to observe the impact on student outcomes.

Line 3: Psychological Processes in Understudied Populations
In collaboration with Drs. Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas we are working with data from the Greater Good Science Center's Science of Happiness MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to explore two questions: 1) How do the psychological processes of stress and happiness function in a Latino versus White population? and 2) How does a happiness intervention (i.e. the course) impact cross-group friendships?