Member Spotlight: Carlos Santos, Ph.D.


Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles 


Why did you decide to choose Developmental Science as a course of study or career? 

I consider myself trained in cultural developmental science, meaning I am especially interested in the ways in which culture influence development and vice versa. The science provided the tools, and the larger theme of examining cultural processes in development afforded the conceptual frameworks, particularly in terms of capturing intersecting identities and intersecting oppressive forces, as influences in development. 

Who or what inspires you and why? 

I am inspired by many folks but especially the young folks entering the field who are pushing us to do better, more inclusive work. We need you! Keep pushing the field to change. 

Is there a mentor or mentors who have been instrumental to your career and, if so, who and how? 

I counted on the support of various folks. Both formal and informal. Both within communities I belong to and outside. There are many I should name, some that come to mind include: Niobe Way, Hiro Yoshikawa, Adriana Umana-Taylor, Kim Updegraff, Carol Martin, Richard Fabes...these folks pushed me in directions and I pushed my work in other directions as well but that is, I think, what true mentorship is...they can push you, and then you got to go do your thing. 

What advice would you give to a Graduate student beginning their Ph.D. studies in Developmental Science or a related field? 

Learn to dust off rejections. This field is filled with it. Hold onto your true voice. You truly have a lot to teach your mentors, instructors and people who presumably might be characterized as knowing "more" than you do. We all learn from one another. 

What is something you learned in the last month outside of your field? 

I've been thinking about this idea of social trust and coalition building among communities of color through a sociologist I have discussing these issues with. 

What is your best SRCD memory? 

My best memories are rooted in caucus-driven gatherings. Put a bunch of us together and we usually have a good time. 

What is your favorite social media platform (if you have one) and why? 


What are some of your hobbies? 

Swimming. I walk my dog a lot. He is an 11 year old cranky Shiba Inu whom I love to pieces. 

What publication or book would you say is a must read in the field (and why)? 

Rogoff's the Cultural Nature of Human Development is a great one! 

Why did you join the SOGIE Caucus and how does it facilitate connection among members all year long? 

Because we're family with regards to a shared experience (for many of us) of having heterosexism. Fighting this force should bring us together. 


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