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My research interests lies in the adverse role racial microaggressions (RMs) play on the mental health and academic engagement of students of color in various academic settings. RMs include communications that consciously and unconsciously convey a derogatory message to a person of color and can adversely affect the mental health, self-esteem, and self-efficacy of students of color. My current dissertation project is extending the work of my thesis where quantitative and qualitative data were collected to investigate whether graduate students in psychology experienced RMs and identified coping mechanisms they adopted. My dissertation is focusing on the development and validation of a RM scale of RMs in academic settings. In addition, it will also evaluate the impact of RMs in student’s contemplation of dropping out of graduate school.
My personal and professional interests are to be professor of psychology and actively participate in retention and attainment initiatives of students of color in different levels of education. I would also like to continue doing research on RM, as well as the creation and implementation of interventions and programs aim to increase student’s coping skills and sense of belongingness to graduate program/university. Finally, as long term ideal, I would like to use my research and expertise to shape public policy as well as diversity initiatives in high school and higher education settings.
Racial Microaggressions (RMs) are a serious problem that adversely affects the mental health and academic engagement of graduate students of color in psychology. Part of the complexity of RMs is that, sometimes, both the victim and perpetrator are not aware of what are RMs and their impact. For this reason, it is important to develop a scale that will assess RMs in academic settings that will assist professors and department directors to assess and develop appropriate interventions. The current project will provide quantitative results describing the development and validation of the new scale assessing RMs in academic settings. In addition, qualitative results will be gathered to assess the personal experiences and thought processes of graduate students of color related to RM experiences and contemplation of dropping-out of graduate programs. These findings will inform psychologists in higher education about RMs and ways to assess them and create scale-based interventions, and their long-term monitoring, for graduate students of color.
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