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Developmental Sciences


Developmental Sciences faculty and students are brought together by a deep interest in developmental phenomena, throughout the lifespan, in educational contexts.

We conduct research on core problems in development, including:

  • thriving during adolescence and young adulthood, including research on social, emotional, and behavioral skills and positive youth development;
  • setting, striving for, and succeeding at long-term goals; understanding the role of back-up plans;
  • exploring sociocultural factors (e.g., sense of belonging) that impact the academic performance and psychological development of historically marginalized students;
  • informing and developing culturally sustaining interventions for historically marginalized college students, specifically those who are first-generation/low-income;
  • the development of STEM knowledge, for young students, college students, and teachers of STEM content (including development of pedagogical content knowledge for these teachers);
  • understanding how college students, especially those underrepresented in STEM fields, navigate online STEM courses in ways that lead to their success in those courses, in ways that might be surprising given the reported barriers to success in traditional in-person college STEM courses.

Our faculty and students have diverse interests, but we share a commitment to improving lived experiences with education through a creative and rigorous application of psychological theory and research.

Department: Educational Psychology

Who should apply

Graduate level students who want to:

  • Study social and academic developmental and contextual influences on children and adolescents; investigate core aspects of development.
  • Investigate young students’ learning of mathematical concepts along with supports to teachers to aid in their students’ learning of mathematical concepts.
  • Examine ways in which the online space circumvents hurdles faced by students underrepresented in STEM as they navigate introductory online STEM college courses.
  • Examine psychological and physiological connections between emotion and learning.
  • Conduct cutting-edge empirical research based on a strong theoretical foundation.
  • Explore the personal, family, community, and educational predictors and outcomes associated with Positive Youth Development.
  • Improve children’s experiences with education through a creative and rigorous application of psychological theory and research.

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