Educational Background

Oberlin College, B.A., 1995 (Politics and International Policy Analysis)

Columbia University, M.A., 2000 (General Psychology)

University of California-Irvine, Ph.D., 2007 (Psychology and Social Behavior)

I am a lifespan developmental psychologist with expertise in the life stage of adolescence. My interest is in capturing how development is an active construction of life meaning and purpose. For example, my research has focused on how youth negotiate independence and interdependence within close and intimate relationships to accomplish their life goals. My research methods include the use of surveys in nonexperimental study designs, and whenever possible, it involves cross cultural or cross ethnic comparisons. Currently, I am interested in best friendships and nonparental important adults, such as older siblings, as social resources for older youth in college.

In the classroom, my main purpose is to provide a climate of honesty and self discovery. I have come to realize that the development of critical thinking can not happen effectively without authenticity and genuine attempts to understand the self; and perhaps the usefulness of critical thinking is lost without such insight.


Faculty Highlights (SUA Founders Magazine, 2017)