Shauna M. Cooper

Associate Professor | Lab Director

Dr. Shauna M. Cooper is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan. After 9 years as an Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Cooper joined UNC's Developmental area in 2017. Her research program examines cultural and contextual factors that contribute to positive youth development, with a specific focus on African American adolescents and families. Dr. Cooper's research has been funded by several agencies and organizations, including the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development. Her work spans multiple areas (e.g., parental involvement; ethnic-racial socialization; gender-related processes; youth community involvement) and has been published in a variety of scientific journals, including the Journal of Research on Adolescence; Journal of Youth and Adolescence; Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology; Family Relations, and Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. Dr. Cooper also is committed to the translation of her research, including the development of culturally specific family-focused prevention programming.

StAR Staff

Jerica Knox

Project Coordinator, FAMILY study

Jerica Knox graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology and minor in Social Work. She is currently a first year doctoral student in the School Psychology Doctoral Program at North Carolina State University. Jerica worked in the African American Youth Development Lab (now the StAR lab) as an undergraduate research assistant and has continued to contribute to lab projects while in graduate school. Her current research interests include resiliency in children, home and school contextual factors that relate to positive youth development. Besides research, she focuses her time volunteering with at-risk youth and advocating for mental health awareness.

Graduate Students

Marketa Burnett

Graduate Student

Marketa is a graduate student in the Developmental Psychology Ph.D Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Also, she received her B.A. in both Psychology and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests focus on how racial and gender stereotypes impact the educational outcomes of African American children and youth. She is also interested in how teacher interactions may influence educational outcomes.

Margarett McBride

Graduate Student

Margarett is a graduate student in the Developmental Psychology Ph.D Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A Saginaw, Michigan native, Margarett received her B.A. from the University of Michigan with a major in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and a minor in Community Action and Social Change. Her current research interest focuses on low income, minority youth and young adult resiliency as they relate to their community, home, and school contexts. In her free time, Margarett enjoys volunteering at community programs/festivals and experiencing/creating art.

Janae Shaheed

Graduate Student

Janae is a graduate student in the Developmental Psychology PhD program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Wake Forest University. Janae is interested in using an intersectional lens to examine the impact of social inequalities and historical trauma on the well-being and identity development of marginalized groups. Focusing on community contexts, she is also interested in researching how inclusive communities and social support can facilitate positive development.

Alexandrea Golden

Graduate Student

Alexandrea Golden is a fifth-year doctoral student in Clinical-Community Psychology at the University of South Carolina. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Spelman College and a Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University. Alexandrea’s research interests include factors (e.g. peer support, school contextual factors, etc) that directly and indirectly contribute to positive adjustment of youth experience contexts of risk. Additionally, Alexandrea has a strong interest in prevention science and identifying ways to translate psychological research to practice in less stigmatizing formats.

Undergraduate Students

Maleek Holmes

Research Assistant

Maleek is a Junior Psychology major, minoring in Neuroscience. With cultural experience in different countries, such as Senegal and India, his interests include cultural factors related to religious perseverance. Also, Maleek is interested in understanding the impacts of discrimination and prejudice in ethnic minorities. His future plans include a graduate degree in Clinical psychology and theological seminary studies.

Anabelle Maya

Research Assistant

Anabelle Maya is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Psychology (B.A.) and minoring in Hispanic Studies. With cultural heritage in the Latino and Black communities, she is interested in identity development in multi-racial/ethnic adolescents of color, and how pressure to belong informs how these youth perform their culture for their peers. At the conclusion of her undergraduate career, she plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Alexandria Organ

Research Assistant

Alexandria is a senior undergraduate student, double majoring in Human Development & Family Studies and Exercise & Sport Science. Alexandria aspires to be a clinical social worker. Through her involvement on campus from organizations such as Healthy Girls Save the World and Project Heel, she is interested in the development of adolescents of color locally and internationally and the impact access and culture have on one’s development. After graduation, Alexandria will take time off before pursuing a Masters in Social Work to be an educator with Teach For America.

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