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Mentoring Matters: How to support students of color in academia

 Investing In Quality Mentoring Relationships Can Contribute To Success In Graduate Programs, Especially For Students Of Color.

The graduate student experience can be a time of great stress and uncertainty for many. One of the most important aspects of graduate school, that can help alleviate that stress, is securing a mentor. It can determine success in program of study and your readiness to access postgraduate or postdoctoral opportunities. This is especially true for students of color because they have additional stressors due to navigating white-dominated institutions. This experience can oftentimes be alienating. Mentors of color are crucial to students success because they provide cultural and social capital in fields where women and minorities are underrepresented. In addition to focusing on the individual development and growth of your student, graduate mentors of color also have an important role of focusing on institutional change.

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My First International Data Collection Trip

When I Agreed To Help My Mentor With A Data Collection Trip To Mexico, I Learned What Really Went Into International Data Collection.

With international data collection, there are different obstacles to overcome compared to research conducted in an American college campus. When my mentor asked me if I wanted to help her collect data in Mexico regarding adolescents and sexual behaviors, I agreed. I was unprepared for how much work really went into the process or how much time I was truly investing— almost three years. While I would have been satisfied with just an interesting point on my CV, I learned about the pressure to be right the first time, passive consent, and being the recipient of romantic attention (yes, really).  

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Is Social Comparison on Social Media Detrimental? It Depends on Whether You Are Comparing Abilities or Opinions

Social Media Comparison Based On Opinion, Rather Than Ability, Is Adaptive For Youth.

In the digital age, social media makes social comparison easy by providing rich materials for comparison. Social comparison is a self-evaluation process in which people compare themselves with others. Social comparison comes in two forms: comparison of ability and comparison of opinion (see herehere, and here for additional details). Ability comparison is competition-based and thus inherently judgmental. It focuses on determining the superiority or inferiority of one’s performances and achievements, relative to others. Opinion comparison is information-based. It centers on identifying similarities and differences in ideas, values, and attitudes between oneself and others.

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New Special Issue on Intersectionality and Its Applications to Developmental Science

What Does Good Intersectional Research Look Like? What Questions Should Researchers Be Grappling With?

There is growing interest among developmental scientists in the applications of intersectionality to the study of adolescence. Although definitions and descriptions of intersectionality vary, this body of work is generally believed to argue that systemic oppressions (e.g., racism, able-ism, heterosexism, etc.) overlap to create unique conditions for individuals; conditions that are bound by the social contexts one is embedded in, and with implications for one’s well-being and development. This perspective raises critical and important questions about the study of adolescence. For example, How do we best theorize and measure overlapping oppressions among adolescents? How are overlapping oppressions experienced and how do they contribute to adolescents’ lives? Despite intersectionality’s increased popularity and presence in various fields, developmental scientists’ grappling with the emphasis on systemic overlapping oppressions has been limited.

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Retaining Black Faculty: 3 Mistakes Even Good Institutions Make

A Pre-Tenure Job Is Like Dating. Here Are Three Dating Mistakes Even “Good” Institutions Make That Contribute To Black/African American Faculty Leaving. 

In her weekly newsletter the Monday Motivator, Dr. Kerry Ann Rockquemore, President and CEO of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, wrote a post entitled “Don’t Act Like You’re Married When You’re Only Dating!” In this post, she cautions new faculty against overinvesting in their institution to the detriment of making progress in their research. Likening the pre-tenure years to a prolonged, dating relationship is apropos. Tenure represents an unparalleled level of job permanence but there is no guarantee you will get “the ring”, and your institution spends many years figuring out if you are “the one”. Moreover, in the first few years of “dating”, you are also trying to figure out if you can live with “this person”. Do they meet your needs? Do they value you the way you value yourself? Can you be happy with them for the long-term? As with dating, there is no perfect person or, in this case, job, and sometimes even “good” institutions make mistakes that contribute to faculty leaving.

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5 Ways Sexual Objectification in Mainstream Media can Impact Adolescent Viewers

The Science On Sexual Objectification, Its Impact On Teen Girls, And How They Can Push Back.

Adolescents learn about themselves, their bodies, and how to be a person in the world in many ways — from each other, from their families and schools, and also from popular culture. While most of these sources of influence can be facilitated intentionally by parents and educators, what happens in popular media cannot be controlled. However, parents and educators and other people supporting the positive development of adolescents can take an active role in helping young people understand and navigate the impact of popular media. To contribute to that process, this blog post examines one aspect of sexism in popular media: sexual objectification.

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Highlights from SRA 2018 Emerging Scholars Events

We are so grateful to the panelists and presenters who made the Emerging Scholars events for SRA 2018 such a huge success! As in years past, the events were engaging and well-attended.

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March Madness and the Making of a Winning Team

You Need To Have The Right Team Chemistry – In Sports As Well As In Academia. Find Out Why Camaraderie, Mentorship, And Professional Development Are Essential For Winning As An Assistant Professor.

If you’re anything like me, you have been hoarse, anxiety-stricken, and anticipating the end of this thing. No – I’m not talking about March Madness (who am I kidding, I am!!! #GoBlue!!!!). I’m talking about the sprint to the end of the semester and thriving – not just surviving – in academia.

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Questions from First-Time Conference Attendees

I would like to thank the students from the University of Nebraska who took the time to come up with these questions.  They’re great questions I wish I had thought to ask before I went to my first conference because I remember feeling pretty overwhelmed my first time.

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How Can Intersectionality Advance Developmental Science?

As the population of young people in the U.S. has become increasingly culturally diverse, the need for an interdisciplinary and contextualized approach to understanding the complexity of their lives is a critical next step. An intersectionality framework offers a promising starting point (e.g., Crenshaw, 1995; Grzanka, 2014; Lewis & Grzanka, 2016).

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Unequal Applications of School Disciplinary Policies Among Racial/Ethnic Groups

In 2014, the Society for Research on Adolescence Civil Rights Data Collection Emerging Scholars Grant was offered to researchers interested in studying potential ethnic/racial disparities in how disciplinary policies are applied in American schools. When I heard about the grant, I did not have much expertise in education policy. However, I decided to apply because the grant offered an opportunity to explore issues important to adolescent development using the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC).

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Why you should care about #BlackPanther and #WakandaWeek

I  put Black Panther on my calendar months ago. When they announced the opening date, primed for the middle of Black History Month, I proclaimed that–come hell or high water–I was going to watch it on Friday, February 16.

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How to Support the Adolescent Activists in your Life

We are watching them mobilize across the country: youth fighting for gun control; youth fighting for a Clean DREAM Act; youth fighting against police brutality and structural racism. Here are ways you can offer support to the adolescent activists in your life — and maybe also help a young person along the pathway to plugging into these social movements for change.

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Discerning and Decoding Campus Culture(s): Questions Early Career Professionals Should Ask

My first faux pas as a faculty member happened in my first semester during a department meeting. We were having an animated discussion about our curriculum and it became clear the room was split on the issue. As the meeting approached its end, I, being helpful of course, quipped, “will we be voting on this before we leave today?” I then learned that in my department, we made most decisions by consensus— a revelation of department culture.

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5 Things to Know about Race even if Race is not the Point of your Research

After posting the SRA Black Lives Matter Syllabus, Part 1, we’ve engaged in several formal and informal conversations with colleagues about what racial justice means for us as scientists. We’ve heard one question in particular weaving throughout these discussions:

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Heading to Minneapolis: The SRA Black Lives Matter Syllabus, Part 1

We will be heading to Minneapolis for the SRA 2018 Biennial Meeting. Minneapolis is about a 15-minute drive from Falcon Heights, where, last week, a policeman killed Philando Castile (July 16, 1983 – July 6, 2016), the day after a Baton Rouge policeman killed Alton Sterling (June 14, 1979 – July 5, 2016). Both were 30-something year-old Black men. Grief and protest followed, across the U.S.

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“We’ll come to you”: Reflections on the #BlackLivesMatter pre-conference community panel

When planning the SRA preconference “#BlackLivesMatter: Can Adolescent Researchers Contribute to Racial Justice,” our priority was to connect adolescent researchers to racial justice organizing within Baltimore. The central focus of our preconference was a panel discussion in which four Baltimore community activists shared their perspectives on adolescent development and adolescent research. The outstanding panelists were Abdul Salaam, C Harvey, RaLinda Wimbush, and ShaiVaughn Crawely. The panel was co-facilitated by Qiara Butler, a Baltimore activist and also the keynote speaker for the preconference, and Elise Harris, preconference co-chair.

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#BlackLivesMatter Baltimore Pre-Conference: An opportunity for connection, critique, and collaboration

Weeks after we left SRCD last spring, 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of spinal injuries he sustained while in police custody. The SRA membership had already been engaging in conversations about the deaths of Black adolescents and young adults in encounters with the police, on the President’s Blog and in SRA News. Now, the SRA membership will be gathering one of the central hubs of the grassroots movement to address these issues: Baltimore Maryland. We don’t want to miss this opportunity to engage with each other, and to connect with local community organizers, around dismantling structural racism and promoting social justice. We have designed this preconference to address how structural racism manifests both in the lives of the young people we study, and in the ways in which we study them. We hope you will join us.

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Our Genes, Our “Chemistry”: The Search for the Perfect Match

Imagine that you are speed-dating. You anxiously sit in your chair, scanning the other speed-daters and wondering how you will fare tonight. Will you find your perfect match? Your first partner approaches you. This person is simply gorgeous. However, once they sit down in front of you, everything changes. They smile charmingly and say all the right things, but you feel nothing for them. You begin to question your judgment.

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Predictors of Adolescents’ STEM Career Aspirations: Illuminating the Contours of Friendship Group Norms

Our interest in understanding how friends shape adolescents’ career aspirations evolved from our background in studying children’s gender development. Children’s peers play a critical role in socializing adherence to gender-role norms. Indeed, many gender-sensitive parents are dismayed to realize that their attempts to raise gender-flexible children are undone soon after their children begin interacting with peers at school. Among other things, children’s peers are responsible for transmitting messages about what types of academic pursuits are appropriate for girls and boys.

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