Get to Know Your SECC Representatives

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2021 - 2023 Student and Early Career Council (SECC) Representatives to SRCD Committees
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Sarah E. DeMartini, Co-chair and Incoming SECC Representative to the Governing Council

Sarah E. DeMartini, Co-chair and Incoming SECC Representative to the Governing Council

Description

I am an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at California State University, Chico. I earned my PhD in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. My research has focused on the influence of coparenting on child outcomes across the transition to parenthood. More recently, I have begun to explore differences between mothers’ and fathers’ behaviors within coparenting for first-time parents, as well as parents of two children. My interdisciplinary research background has led me to teach undergraduate courses in psychology and family relationships. I have enjoyed furthering my involvement with SRCD by serving on the Student and Early Career Council, contributing to the development of SRCD’s highly acclaimed publications, and most recently, serving on the Governing Council. You can learn more about my research on ResearchGate.

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Robey B. Champine, Co-chair and Outgoing SECC Representative to the Governing Council

Robey B. Champine, Co-chair and Outgoing SECC Representative to the Governing Council

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I am Co-Chair of the Student and Early Career Council (SECC) and the SECC representative to the Governing Council. From 2015-2017, I was the SECC representative to the Science and Social Policy Committee. I am an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Michigan State University and a Research Affiliate at the Yale School of Medicine. I earned my doctorate in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University and completed my NIH T32 postdoctoral training at Yale and the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut. In partnership with stakeholders, my program of research examines how community programs (e.g., trauma-informed initiatives) help to prevent risk and promote thriving among youth, families, and communities exposed to adversity. Prior to earning my doctorate, I was a Radcliffe/Rappaport Doctoral Policy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and a psychological and behavioral analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 

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Josefina Bañales, Equity and Justice Committee, Incoming Representative

Josefina Bañales, Equity and Justice Committee, Incoming Representative

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I am an Assistant Professor in Community Psychology at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC). I infuse my personal experiences as a Mexican American woman who is a first-generation high school, college, and doctoral student from the Southwest side of Chicago with my community-engaged research with youth of color in Chicago Public Schools and community organizations. My research examines how youth develop beliefs, feelings, and actions that challenge racism (i.e., youth critical racial consciousness development). In collaboration with youth, schools, parents, and community organizations, I create opportunities that facilitate youths’ critical racial consciousness development. I am the recipient of the Ford Pre-Doctoral and Dissertation Fellowships.

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Fiorella Carlos Chavez, Equity and Justice Committee, Outgoing Representative

Fiorella Carlos Chavez, Equity and Justice Committee, Outgoing Representative

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Fiorella L. Carlos Chavez is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science from Florida State University. Her research examines: (1) the implications of family, work, and cultural-related stressors on Latino migrant youth’ mental health and development, and (2) the health effects of household food insecurity among Latino/a families. Her dissertation focused on understanding the individual and family expectations contributing to Latino youth migration and entrance into the U.S. agriculture, and the psychological consequences of that decision. Her postdoctoral work focuses on identifying protective factors (e.g., prosocial behaviors, familism, religiosity, coping mechanisms, and resiliency) for positive development and well-being among Latino migrant youth. At her mixed-methods lab, Dr. Carlos Chavez serves as research mentor for underrepresented college students. She has been awarded with the 2019 SRCD Latino Caucus Dissertation Award.

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Alexandrea Golden, Ethnic & Racial Issues Committee, Incoming Representative

Alexandrea Golden, Ethnic & Racial Issues Committee, Incoming Representative

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I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Urban Education at Cleveland State University and at the MetroHealth System. My work focuses on identifying culturally relevant protective factors for racial minority youth experiencing racial inequities including racial discrimination. Currently areas of focus include school racial climate, racial socialization, particularly among peers, and sociocultural development. I am also committed to translating my research to practice promoting positive development among racial-minority youth. As such, I have worked with more than 20 high schools to implement youth participatory action research with students and have worked with local school districts to improve the schooling experiences for students. To date, my work has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Black Psychology and the Journal of Child and Family Studies.

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Lauren Mims, Ethnic & Racial Issues Committee, Outgoing Representative

Lauren Mims, Ethnic & Racial Issues Committee, Outgoing Representative

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Lauren Mims is a doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science at the University of Virginia. Her work examines how schooling environments influence how youth, particularly Black girls, learn and develop their identities. Her dissertation, Meeting Black Girls on the Moon, employs a qualitative approach to elevate the unique experiences of Black girls in contemporary public schools and to identify key features of Black girl’s social ecologies that relate to psychosocial and academic well-being. Lauren aims to construct policies and practices and develop new theoretical frameworks capable of better understanding and addressing the challenges faced by Black youth, particularly in systems of education. Lauren was formerly Assistant Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans during the Obama Administration. Lauren obtained a M.A. in Child Development from Tufts University in 2014 and a B.A. in English and Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2012.

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Meltem Yucel, Interdisciplinary Committee, Incoming Representative

Meltem Yucel, Interdisciplinary Committee, Incoming Representative

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I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Virginia. I am also a fellow of the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course (LIFE Academy), Student Affiliate at the Center for the Science of Moral Understanding, and Research Affiliate at Cornell University. ​Starting in Fall 2021, I will be a Postdoctoral Associate at Duke University's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. I'm primarily interested in the development of social cognition and morality, specifically focusing on how and when children become moral beings. Using behavioral, eye-tracking, pupillometry, and network analysis methods, my research investigates how children and adults understand and enforce norms, and the role of affect in moral decision-making. I am excited to represent integrative approach to studying child development as a member of the Interdisciplinary Committee.

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Beatriz de Diego-Lázaro, Interdisciplinary Committee, Outgoing Representative

Beatriz de Diego-Lázaro, Interdisciplinary Committee, Outgoing Representative

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I am a fourth-year doctoral student in Speech and Hearing Science in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University (under Dr. Pittman and Dr. Restrepo’s mentorship). My research goal is to identify cognitive and linguistic factors that predict and facilitate language development children with hearing loss. Particularly, I am interested in factors that can be translated into early interventions aimed to reduce the language and academic gap between children with hearing loss and their hearing peers, especially present in children from bilingual or low socioeconomic backgrounds. I believe that impactful research is synonymous with interdisciplinary research and I look forward to building connections among researchers, educators, and clinicians to serve early childhood education.

Learn more about me: ResearchGate

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Shanting Chen, International Affairs Committee, Incoming Representative

Shanting Chen, International Affairs Committee, Incoming Representative

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I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, TX. My program of research seeks to understand the ways in which stress (e.g., discrimination) impacts ethnic minority adolescents’ mental and physical health and identify individual and contextual factors that can promote positive youth development.

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Yang Hou, International Affairs Committee, Outgoing Representative

Yang Hou, International Affairs Committee, Outgoing Representative

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I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky. My program of research seeks to comprehensively understand how contextual factors (e.g., sociocultural, family, school) influence child and adolescent development in socioemotional, behavioral, academic, and health domains. I have developed three main lines of research inquiry, investigating 1) how ethnic minority-related experiences influence family processes and adolescent well-being, 2) how school, family, and peers influence adolescents’ academic and psychological outcomes, and 3) how to interpret and handle parent-adolescent discordance in perceptions of parenting. My research involves diverse populations with a particular focus on ethnic minority, immigrant, and low-income families and utilizes a variety of advanced quantitative methodologies and complex datasets.

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Amber B. Sansbury, Program Committee, Incoming Representative

Amber B. Sansbury, Program Committee, Incoming Representative

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Greetings! I am a 3rd year PhD Student in Education, focused on Early Care & Education (ECE) Policy with Dr. Colleen Vesely at George Mason University. The work with Dr. Vesely has centered on collaboration with local school systems and community-based organizations to identify best practices that alleviate early school readiness gaps particularly with African American, mixed-status Latinx, Afghani, and African immigrant families situated in poverty. I am originally from Columbus, Georgia and came to research later in life. After completing my undergraduate degree in 2009, I thrived in a policy career throughout the east coast and DC area. My previous time in policy strengthened my commitment to public education and social justice, especially for Black families with young children (birth to age eight). I worked with Head Start teachers, public sector human service professionals, clinicians, and licensed and informal family childcare providers. I also analyzed state implementation plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act, traveling to Southeastern districts to advise on policy levers for school readiness and family engagement.

I am deeply committed to shared policymaking and action that structurally challenges anti-Blackness in schools. Through my scholarship, I explore the dimensions of racial socialization across ecological agents (e.g., families, programs, and neighborhoods). My doctoral coursework also has been enriched by ongoing research with Dr. Iheoma Iruka critically examining the developmental role of race and racism in Black-majority Educare sites in the most segregated cities in America. I am also part of the Researchers Investigating Sociocultural Equity and Race (RISER) fellowship, a strong collective which advocates for Black children and families in a meaningful way. I observe a range of ECE experiences for Black families- from families with significant social and navigational capital to the most marginalized. All of these families, in spite of institutional barriers, are agentic in their decision-making about what is best for their children. I deeply believe that family engagement can be a powerful means to build bridges with Black families toward positive early racial identity development. This historic time of heightened racial tension spurs us on.

I have been incredibly supported throughout graduate school. Peers, faculty mentors, and the Society for Research in Child Development have helped me to forge my path. As a SRCD Black Caucus Student & Early Career Committee member for two years, I co-planned our writing groups, 14-day writing challenge, 2021 Biennial Student Poster Session, and Generational Gems conversations. SRCD has truly been a lifeline and community of practice. I have become well versed in SRCD initiatives for student and early career researchers (e.g., the Dissertation Funding Award, Early Career Scholar Small Grant, Policy Fellowships, review opportunities, etc.). I intend to apply my knowledge, communication, and organizational skills as incoming SECC representative on the Program Committee. I aim to create and reify supports for students and early career members with these opportunities in mind. When I am not writing and reading, I enjoy music, time with loved ones, Southern cooking, and a competitive NBA game!

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Michelle Desir, Program Committee, Outgoing Representative

Michelle Desir, Program Committee, Outgoing Representative

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I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in Child Abuse Pediatrics at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Beginning in August 2022, I will be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of South Carolina. I earned my PhD in Child Psychology from University of Minnesota with an emphasis in Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science. My research aims to delineate risk and protective factors that influence the developmental trajectory of maltreated children with a particular focus on the influence of maltreated children’s friendships on subsequent developmental outcomes and factors that influence treatment outcomes for maltreated children receiving evidence-based interventions. Within SRCD, I am an active member of Black Caucus SECC and a 2017 Millennium Scholar. I am excited to continue to serve and represent our students and early career members.

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Miao Qian, Publications Committee, Incoming Representative

Miao Qian, Publications Committee, Incoming Representative

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I am a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Psychology Department at Harvard University. I completed my Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada. My research focuses on how children develop social concepts and how their knowledge of social concepts affects their perception and judgment about others. I am particularly interested in the early emergence of racial biases and interventions to reduce biases and foster social inclusiveness. I’m incredibly honored to serve as the Student and Early Career Representative on the Publications Committee!

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Steven O. Roberts, Publications Committee, Outgoing Representative

Steven O. Roberts, Publications Committee, Outgoing Representative

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I am an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Stanford University. I completed my PhD in Psychology at the University of Michigan. My research focuses on social concepts, and how those concepts emerge across development and contribute to social biases. I am particularly interested in concepts of race and social groups, and how these concepts vary as a function of social experience. I’m excited and honored to serve at the Student and Early Career Representative on the Publications Committee!

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Lorena Aceves, Science and Social Policy Committee, Incoming Representative

Lorena Aceves, Science and Social Policy Committee, Incoming Representative

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I am a first-generation Latina scholar and recently completed my Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. I am currently serving as an AAAS/SRCD Executive Branch Federal Policy Fellow in the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Head Start. I am committed to pursuing a career directed towards policy formulation and evaluation. Professionally, I aim to further leverage developmental science to promote equitable opportunities and resources for students, children, and families from underrepresented backgrounds. Outside of research and policy, I enjoy connecting with and mentoring first generation students of color. I also consistently work to shed light on how developmental science can be applied in non-academic settings.

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Yesenia Mejia, Science and Social Policy Committee, Outgoing Representative

Yesenia Mejia, Science and Social Policy Committee, Outgoing Representative

Description

Yesenia Mejia is a 4th year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, working under the advisement of Dr. Gabriela Livas Stein. She is the incoming SECC representative to the Science and Social Policy Committee. Her current research focuses on exploring links between academic performance and mental health in Latinx youth, and the role that cultural factors play in the development of academic and depressive trajectories over time. More broadly, Yesenia is interested in understanding risk and resilience factors that may help reduce racial/ethnic disparities in mental health, developing culturally informed assessments and treatment interventions for underserved populations, and improving mental health treatment access for ethnic minority youth and their families.

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Sabrina Mendez-Escobar, Teaching Committee, Incoming Representative

Sabrina Mendez-Escobar, Teaching Committee, Incoming Representative

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I (she/ella) am a tenured instructor at Truman College in the Education and Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) department. As a community college professor, and product of community college education, I value offering accessible and affordable education that is rigorous and creates academic and professional opportunities for students. I am also a doctoral candidate in the Child Development program at Erikson Institute and Loyola University Chicago. For my dissertation, I am examining the ethnic-racial socialization practices of Dominican mothers using a sociohistorical context. Growing up in a diverse Latinx community, and later occupying professional and academic spaces where I am often the only person of color, has contributed to my interest in the value of ethnicity and race on development. My interests have also been influenced by my background as an infant mental health counselor where I focused on supporting early relationships and how they serve as a protective factor for child development.

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Stacy L. Morris, Teaching Committee, Outgoing Representative

Stacy L. Morris, Teaching Committee, Outgoing Representative

Description

I am an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at California State University, San Bernardino. I earned my Ph.D. in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology in 2018 from Boston College and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Arizona State University. I research adolescents and young adults who contribute to their communities (civic engagement), how youth understand and combat structural inequities in society (critical consciousness), and how teachers/adult mentors can support youth civic engagement. Through bridging my research, teaching, and service, I aim to foster the development of a generation of critically informed youth who contribute toward the creation of a more equitable society.