Member Spotlight: Debbie Rivas-Drake, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Education, University of Michigan; Secretary, SRCD Governing Council (2021)

What words of wisdom might you pass on to someone on their very first day after deciding to get a Ph.D. in developmental science or related?   

Know your "why" - and then hang on [to] it. Don't lose sight of the youth. Keep having experiences that remind you to center young people, especially those who have historically been excluded in our field. 

What’s your favorite aspect of SRCD membership 

My favorite aspect is being part of an intergenerational community of scholars of color. We're engaged and driven to keep SRCD at the forefront of issues affecting children from marginalized communities. I'm proud of what has been accomplished so far though there is certainly more work to do. 

Who inspires you?  

My students inspire me every day. They all have wonderful ideas for how to use research to advance social justice in education, psychology, health, social work, and beyond. They're not afraid to freedom dream! They bring that energy to everything they do, and it is inspiring. 

What is something you learned in the last month?  

According to the NCES, Latinx faculty comprise just 6% of the professoriate, and Latina full professors like me represent just 1%. (Ok, I'll admit I didn't just learn this in the past month, but I revisited the stats just recently and, honestly, everyone should know this!)  

What does the Latinx Caucus mean to you?  

First and foremost, I see the Caucus as a supportive community of scholars who will not only value but challenge you to do work that pushes our understanding of Latinx children and families in ways that honor their complex lived experiences. I also see the Latinx Caucus as an important avenue for spotlighting issues that affect Latinx children as well as professional development and mentorship of scholars whose work focuses on such issues. And at the same time, they model how to work in solidarity with the Black, Asian, and SOGIE Caucuses, and I believe this alliance is really effective in keeping us accountable to marginalized communities both within the Society (SRCD) and in broader society.