Principal Investigator

Dr. Jason Okonofua

Assistant Professor, Psychology Department,
University of California, Berkeley, 2016 - present

Post Doctoral Researcher, Psychology Department, Stanford University 2015 - 2016

Ph.D. in Psychology, Stanford University, 2015

B.A. in Psychology and African American Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, 2008

Dr. Jason Okonofua is a professor at University of California-Berkeley. Before assuming this position, he earned his doctorate at Stanford University with the guidance of Dr. Gregory Walton and Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt and currently works with them on a project that investigates psychological barriers to reintegration (return to home and school) for juvenile offenders. Jason’s research program examines social-psychological processes that contribute to inequality. His research has been published in top journals, including Psychological Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; it has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Character Lab, Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education, Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence, Stanford University’s Graduate Research Opportunity and the Diversity Dissertation Research Opportunity; and it has been featured on a variety of popular media, including MSNBC, Reuters, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Pacific Standard, Science Update, Education Week, and the Grio.

  Berkeley Way West

  okonofua@berkeley.edu

  UC Berkeley Faculty Page

  Personal Website

Graduate Students

Helena Karnilowicz

Graduate Student

BA in Psychology with a minor in Child and Youth Studies, University of San Francisco, 2013.

Helena is a fifth year graduate student in the Social/Personality Psychology PhD program at UC Berkeley and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. She received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Child and Youth Studies from the University of San Francisco in 2013. Her research focuses on understanding the role of beliefs about emotion control in teacher discipline and socialization behaviors.

Research Interests: Beliefs, emotion regulation, socialization, & child development.

  Berkeley Way West

  hkarnilowicz@gmail.com

  Download CV

Amanda Perez

Graduate Student

B.A. in Psychology, UC Berkeley, 2014

Amanda completed her B.A. in Psychology at UC Berkeley and directly after graduation entered the Ph.D. program here in the Social-Personality area. She works with Dr. Jason Okonofua in a line of research that explores the impact of biases on disproportionate discipline in Black and Brown students. She also works with Dr. Mendoza-Denton and together they are researching ways of utilizing technology to foster online cross-group friendships and reduce implicit biases.

Research Interests: Implicit biases, prejudice, interventions, intergroup relations, cross-group friendships, & technology.

  Berkeley Way West

  adpc@berkeley.edu

  CV

  Personal Website

Shoshana Jarvis

Graduate Student

B.A. in Psychology and a minor in American Ethnic Studies, Willamette University

Shoshana is a 4th year graduate student and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. She graduated with a BA in psychology and a minor in American Ethnic Studies from Willamette University. Before graduate school, she worked as a research assistant with Geoff Cohen at Stanford University and as a lab manager for Geraldine Downey and Niall Bolger at Columbia University. Shoshana also spent a year serving as a corps member at AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps in New York City. She works with Dr. Okonofua on studies and interventions at the intersection of race and criminal justice involvement.

Research Interests: Stigma, privilege, intervention, & intersectionality.

  Berkeley Way West

  sjarvis@berkeley.edu

  CV

Gold Okafor

Graduate Student

B.S. in Biopsychology with a minor in Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016

Gold is a 3rd year graduate student in the Social/Personality Psychology PhD program. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Scott Grafton's cognitive neuroscience lab at UC Santa Barbara. She currently works with Dr. Jason Okonofua, Dr. Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, and Dr. Iris Mauss. Her work with Dr. Okonofua focuses on intersectionality, discrimination, and stress within interventions in the educational system and prison industrial complex.

Research Interests: Stress, interventions, intergroup interaction, intersectionality, emotion expression & regulation.



  Berkeley Way West

  gokafor@berkeley.edu

  CV

Laura Guzman

Graduate Student

B.A. in Psychology, Pomona College

Laura is a 3rd year graduate student in the Social/Personality Psychology PhD program at UC Berkeley. She graduated from Pomona College with a BA in Psychology. Before coming to Berkeley, she worked as a high school math and science teacher at Josephinum Academy in Chicago. She later moved to the Bay Area to work at Stanford University in two capacities, as an administrative assistant in the Academic Secretary's Office as well as a volunteer research assistant for the College Transition Collaborative. Her research sought to understand how we can create learning environments that facilitate equitable outcomes in higher education.

Research Interests: Understanding emotions, respect, teacher-student relationships, bias, and the development and implementation of interventions.

  Berkeley Way West

  lguzman2@berkeley.edu

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Smriti Mehta

Graduate Student

B.A. in Psychology, UC Davis

A second-year graduate student in the Social/Personality area, Smriti is interested in using social-psychological inventions to build better learning environments for students, especially those from traditionally marginalized groups. After graduating from UC Davis with a BA in Psychology, she completed a two-year teaching fellowship in India, and worked at the Psychology department at Stanford University on the development and implementation of multiple interventions, including growth mindset, social-belonging, and emotion regulation interventions.

  Berkeley Way West

  smriti@berkeley.edu

Sierra Semko

Graduate Student

B.A. in Psychology, Miami University of Ohio

Sierra is a first-year graduate student in the Social-Personality Psychology PhD program at UC Berkeley. Before joining the EDENS Lab, Sierra attended Miami University of Ohio as an undergraduate where she obtained a B.A. in Psychology. After, she worked as a project director in Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes’ EHP Lab. Sierra’s current work with Dr. Okonofua is aimed to better understand how individuals contribute to systemic racism and injustice in educational and health settings, and to create interventions to mitigate differential outcomes for populations affected by inequality.

Research Interests: Prejudice, intergroup relations, inequality, health outcomes & interventions.

  Berkeley Way West

  sierra_semko@berkeley.edu

  CV

Research Assistants

Michael Ruiz

Lab Manager

B.A. in Psychology, UC Berkeley

AA-T at Fresno City College

Michael earned his AA-T at Fresno City College (FCC) and his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). Michael is currently studying the ways in which the racial achievement gap in education can be attenuated via the development and implementation of wise-interventions. More broadly, Michael is interested in designing wise-interventions that improve intergroup relationships (interracial and international), racial minorities educational success and subsequent social mobility, and global behavioral-health issues.

Research Interests: Attitudes, Bias, Behavioral-health, Diversity, Education, Emotions, Interventions, Positive Psychology, Socio-economic Status, Social Mobility, and Teacher-Student Relationships.

  ruiz_michael@berkeley.edu

Zoe Ferguson

Research Assistant

Zoe is currently an honors student in Jason Okonofua's lab. She is finishing her Cognitive Science degree, with a concentration in Cognitive Psychology, and a minor in Ethnic Studies. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in the coming year, studying identity, diversity, and bias. Her honors thesis focuses on how school principals' beliefs may affect disciplinary outcomes for students of color. Zoe is also an undergraduate lab manager for Professor Dana Carney, where she heads a project on stereotype consistency and stereotype violation backlash.

Research Interests: Power Dynamics & Structures, Stigma & Prejudice, Inter, Group Relations, Criminal Justice System, Intervention Science

  zoeberkeley2020@berkeley.edu

  CV

Kimia Saadatian

Research Assistant

Kimia earned her B.A. in 2019 from UC Berkeley, where she worked with Dr. Okonofua on her honors thesis about a series of innovative interventions to improve probation and parole officers’ relationships with people on probation and parole. She continues to work with the lab on analyzing and scaling interventions for actors of the criminal justice system. She is also the lab manager for Diversity Science Lab and Social Perceptions and Intergroup Attitudes Lab at Washington University. Kimia plans to pursue a PhD in Social Psychology in Fall 2021.

Research Interests: policing, intergroup relations, implicit bias, interventions, punitive attitudes, school to prison pipeline

  kimiasaadatian@berkeley.edu

  CV

Trevor Christenson

Research Assistant

Trevor is a Psychology and Comparative Ethnic Studies double major and a senior at UC Berkeley, transferring from Gavilan Community College and Wesleyan University. Trevor is interested in the intersection of psychology, medicine, and intergroup relations. He is working with Michael on two projects: one aimed at reducing racial disparities in school discipline and a separate project that aimed at reducing achievement gaps. Apart from his work in the EDENS Lab, he is currently completing an analysis examining ethnic group disparities in mental health care.

Research Interests: bias, cross-group contact, education, ethnography, intergenerational trauma, medicine, mental health care, prejudice, racial formation, and stigma.

  tchristenson@berkeley.edu

Alyssa Newlon

Research Assistant

B.A. in Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Asheville

Alyssa graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) in 2012 with a degree in Anthropology. Alyssa is currently looking to understand the intersection between stereotyping and dissociation along with intergroup relations and prejudice. Alyssa has a years-long history of working in Asia where she worked with grassroots research and program design. She is also the founder of a collective that collects qualitative accounts of individual accounts of stigma. Alyssa hopes to pursue her Ph.D. in Social-Personality. Besides being an RA at EDENS, Alyssa is also an RA for two other labs focusing on stereotyping, prejudice, and stigma.

Research Interests: Stereotyping and dissociation, Stigma, Implicit bias, Stereotype threat, and Intergroup relations.

  alyssa@stigmacollective.org