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Diversity Science

Human behavior is potentially shaped by numerous influences: differences related to sex, culture, social class, income, race, ethnicity, language, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and ability status, among others. As the study of human behavior, the discipline of psychology is well-positioned to be a leader in research and theorizing on the lived experience of diverse subgroups of individuals. Yet mainstream psychological inquiry has for the most part not sought to problematize how psychological functioning may be affected by the above-noted differences.

The Diversity Science Cluster was formed in 2013 with the aim of foregrounding the study of psychological dimensions of intersectional social identities with respect to sex, gender, race, ethnicity, cultural identity, age, language, sexuality, etc.  This cluster consists of a group of faculty and graduate students (see below). Individually and collectively, members of the group seek to conduct research and engage in other efforts to diversify the questions, conceptual frameworks, methods, and populations studied in psychological research with the goal of making the science, practice, and teaching of psychology more inclusive and more representative.

To facilitate intellectual exchange and build a supportive community of scholars engaged in diversity science, broadly construed, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has allocated dedicated research and meeting space for shared use by cluster members.

Profiles of cluster members as they relate to diversity science are summarized below. For further information, please consult individual faculty website links. Prospective graduate students or visiting scholars are invited to contact any of the members of the cluster.

Core Faculty

Adrienne Carter-Sowell

Adrienne Carter-Sowell (Social & Personality, Africana Studies, & I/O: social exclusion; workplace diversity)acsowell@tamu.edu
My program of research examines how targets of ostracism— being ignored and excluded by individuals or groups — cope with the costs of being “socially invisible” from the target’s perspective. My research on ostracism to date falls into three major categories: (1) scale development; (2) the dynamics of how African Americans as members of a stigmatized group interact with others; and (3) individual differences. Workplace topics related to this research area include outcomes of being ‘out of the loop.’ My scholarly work capitalizes on my jointly appointed faculty position (50% Department of Psychology/50% Africana Studies Program) by addressing empirical questions related to social identity and systems of power across interdisciplinary areas. I primarily teach cross-listed, undergraduate and graduate level courses that service the Texas A & M University campus climate for diversity and interdisciplinary scholarship.

Vani Mathur
Vani Mathur (Social & Personality: pain; empathy; cultural neuroscience) vmathur@tamu.edu
My primary research interests are related to understanding the sources of disparities in pain, and the specific mechanisms by which social and cultural factors alter pain experience and pain physiology. Pain is a major public health problem with significant physiological, psychological, social, and societal consequences. Pain also disproportionately affects certain sociodemographic groups, and disparities exist at every level of the pain experience. I approach the problem of pain disparities from two directions – investigating the different ways social factors influence one’s own pain, and also alter pain perception and empathy for others. To tackle these problems, my lab utilizes behavioral, psychophysical, and neuroimaging methodologies. Other lines of research also include cross-cultural examinations of pain and empathy and studies of social-environmental effects on health. My teaching interests include interdisciplinary courses such as health psychology and social and cultural neuroscience.
Isaac Sabat
Isaac Sabat   (I/O;  reducing unfair discriminatory treatment of stigmatized employees/ remediate workplace obstacles) isaacsabat5@tamu.edu
My current program of research broadly focuses on understanding and improving the working lives of stigmatized employees. I am particularly interested in examining strategies in which these employees can engage, such as disclosing or acknowledging their identities, to effectively remediate the workplace obstacles that they face.   I have conducted various interrelated projects that examine how the effectiveness of expressing one’s identity is impacted by the extent to which stigmas are previously known, visible, or discovered by others over time. This is a novel area, given that disclosures have previously been conceptualized as a dichotomous, all-or-nothing phenomenon.  I look forward to continuing this line of work aimed at reducing unfair discriminatory treatment within and outside of the workplace.
Idia Thurston
Idia Thurston(Clinical Psychology) idiathurston@tamu.edu
My research aims to understand why certain groups of people experience a greater health and disease burden and to promote health equity among youth and families. Our CHANGE* lab engages with communities to understand individual, familial, community, and cultural risk and protective factors among marginalized and underserved populations. We develop strength-based, culturally-responsive programs and interventions that consider intersectional identities of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and sexuality to enhance well-being, reduce stigma, and promote self-empowerment.
*Challenging Health disparities in Adolescents and Nurturing Global Empowerment

Jyotsna Vaid (Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience:  multiple language experience and cognition; social construction of merit in academia  jvaid@tamu.edu
My research examines cognitive, neurocognitive, and psycholinguistic aspects of membership in linguistically and culturally diverse communities. One line of inquiry examines longterm repercussions of the widespread practice of language brokering in immigrant or refugee families, in which children act as linguistic and/or cultural intermediaries for family or community members. More broadly, my research seeks to explore new ways of theorizing language competence beyond a privileging of “the native speaker”.  An emerging interest is on the social construction of mainstream scholarship in psychology and its implications for evaluating merit.
Associate Faculty Members

Mindy Bergman
Mindy Bergman (I/O:  stigma; organizational climate; well-being) mbergman@tamu.edu
My research examines the organizational causes and psychological consequences of harassment and discrimination in the workplace and whether these processes differ across sex and race. My work also focuses on the experiences of women in the workplace, especially the in masculine work contexts such as the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, police work, and the military. I have also combined my research program with service to the university by developing, leading, and delivering training to faculty search committee members on implicit bias and its role in the faculty selection process.


Rebecca Brooker  (Developmental Psychology) rebeccabrooker@tamu.edu
Emotional and Biological Risk Factors for Anxiety Problems in Early Life >Neurodevelopmental Correlates of Risk for Psychopathology>Identifying Normative and Atypical Developmental Trajectories of Emotion Development>Gene-environment Interplay in the Development of Risk for Anxiety Problems

Paul R. Hernandez (Teaching, Learning & Culture) prhernandez@tamu.edu
Broadening Participation in STEM among Historically Underrepresented Groups>Career Development>Longitudinal Experimental & Quasi-experimental research designs>Mentoring Relationships>Motivation.Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)>Social Influence>Undergraduate Research Experiences.

Daniel Howard (Sociology) dhoward@ppri.tamu.edu
Opioid Use, Substance Use, Cultural Competency and Workforce Diversity>Minority Health and Racial Health Disparities Research>Health Services Research>Health Policy, Program Development and Evaluation>Epidemiological Patterns of Disease among African Americans and the Minority Elderly.

Raul Medina (Entomology) rfmedina@tamu.edu
My research interests center on the role that ecological factors play in the population genetics of insects.

Leann Smith (Educational Psychology) lvsmith@tamu.edu
Race & Culture>Academic Motivation, Engagement & Achievement>Youth of Color>School Climate

Graduate Student Members
Jonathan Bailey at bailey@tamu.edu

Jaren Crist at jdc@tamu.edu

Devin Guthrie at guthrie27@tamu.edu

Theresa Hernandez at thernandez@tamu.edu

Whitney Howie at wchowie@tamu.edu

Caitlyn Maye at cemaye@tamu.edu

Polet Milian at milianp@tamu.edu

Jordan Schueler at jschueler1@tamu.edu

 

INTERESTED IN JOINING THE DIVERSITY SCIENCE CLUSTER?
Faculty and/or graduate students in any area of psychology and other faculty or graduate students at the university who wish to affiliate with the cluster in the coming year are invited to contact Dr. Jyotsna Vaid, the convenor of the cluster. Please provide a brief bio and a 1-page statement indicating how your work aligns with the goals of the cluster and how you foresee your contribution to the cluster. Faculty affiliates are expected to contribute to the development and functioning of the Diversity Science Cluster on at least two out of three levels – research, teaching, or service.

To receive notifications of events related to Diversity Science, you can subscribe to our listserv by sending an email to listserv@listserv.tamu.edu and in the body of the message put SUBSCRIBE diversity-science-psyc Your Name. (insert your first and last name)