I received my Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following that, I was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago, and I am currently a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University. I also maintain an affiliation as a researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.
A little about my research interests: my research utilizes laboratory and large-scale field experimental studies, as well as longitudinal designs, to better understand the factors which shape motivation and performance. I am particularly interested in how interpersonal relationships, social identity threat, and feelings of social belonging (or rejection) influence motivation. I have conducted several randomized field trials in educational settings, which utilized interventions that were designed to promote a positive sense of identity safety and academic belonging for elementary, middle school, and high school, and college students. A major focus of this research has been harnessing psychological insights to increase equity in educational outcomes between students from more advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds.
My publications in journals like Science Advances, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General reflect my interdisciplinary interests. As a graduate student, I was awarded an IES predoctoral fellowship from Wisconsin’s Interdisciplinary Training Program in Education Sciences, and my dissertation work won a Robert Wood Johnson Dissertation Grant. In 2013, my research was recognized with the Cialdini Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, designated "for the publication that best explicates social psychological phenomena principally through the use of field research methods and settings and that thereby demonstrates the relevance of the discipline to communities outside of academic social psychology.” Support for my research has been provided by the Spencer Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the Overdeck Family Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group, and internal grants from the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. My work has been covered in several popular press outlets, such as The Atlantic, Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Radiolab, U.S. News and World Report, CNN, USA Today, Ed Week, NPR, Forbes, Daily Mail, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, and Yahoo! News.