Dr. Shauna M. Cooper (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Director of the Strengths, Assets, and Resilience (StAR) Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She is also a Faculty Fellow at UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and Center for Faculty Excellence, and an affiliated faculty in Carolina Consortium on Human Development and the Institute of African American Research. Currently, Dr. Cooper is an Equity Scholar at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC.
Dr. Cooper’s areas of expertise include examining how social and cultural contexts shapes development and well-being (e.g., mental health; school adjustment). Highlighting the individual and interactive influences of family, school, and community contexts, her work spans several areas of expertise, including the racial and cultural context of parenting, father involvement and engagement among African American fathers, girls’ health and well-being, rural youth development, and community-level risk and protective factors. Dr. Cooper has published in a variety of scientific journals, including the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Child Development, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Journal of School Psychology, Psychology of Men and Masculinities, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, American Journal of Men’s Health, and Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. Dr. Cooper’s research has been funded by several agencies and organizations, including the National Institute of Minority Health Disparities and National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, as well as the distinguished National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award. Dr. Cooper is also an Associate Editor for Child Development, an Editorial Board Member for several developmental science, psychology, and multidisciplinary journals as well as an ad-hoc reviewer for over 15 journals.
With significant contributions to the field of psychology through research and mentoring excellence, Dr. Cooper has received several awards and recognition, including the Roland Haynes Award for Distinguished Service, Mentorship, and Research in Communities of Color, Thorp Faculty-Engaged Scholar, Andrew Billingsley Research Award. She is a 2021 recipient of the Foremothers Career Excellence in Mentoring Award from Division 35, Section 1 of the American Psychological Association. At UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Cooper has held a number of leadership and advisory roles, including Director of Diversity of Initiatives for the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, serving as a member of UNC’s Building our Community Together (BOCT) Leadership Team, and Advisory Board Member for the Institute of African American Research. Nationally, Dr. Cooper’s service leadership also reflects a commitment to advancing equity and promoting positive development among racial/ethnic minority children and families. Currently, she is Co-Chair of the Society for Research in Adolescence’s (SRA) Consensus Committee, a member of SRA’s Social Policy Engagement Working Group, and a member of the Diversity Committee for the Association for Psychological Science. She was also a Past-Chair of the Society for Research in Child Development’s Black Caucus between 2013-2017. Dr. Cooper is also committed to translational research and fostering strategic partnerships and collaborations to support children, families, and communities. Dr. Cooper is currently a board member for the Council on Contemporary Families, Youth Mentoring Collaborative and The AAKOMA Project.