• 1994 B.A. Stanford University (with Departmental Honors)
  • 1996 M.A. Ohio State University
  • 1999 Ph.D. Ohio State University (Social Psychology with a Minor in Quantitative Psychology)
Current Employment:
  • Associate Vice-Provost, Faculty Equity and Inclusion, UC Davis
  • Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, UC Davis
Relevant Experience:
  • Past-President and Current Vice-President, Birch Lane Montessori Parent Advisory Committee
  • Past-President and Current Vice-President, Davis Montessori Education Foundation
  • 2017-19 Member, DJUSD Parcel Tax Oversight Committee
  • 2015-17 Member, DJUSD Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee
  • Past Chair and Current Member, UC Davis L&S Educational Policy Committee
  • 2018 Member-at-Large for Education, Society for Personality and Social Psychology,
  • 2018 Review Panelist, National Science Foundation Science of Learning Program

Although I consider myself to be a life-long Californian, my early years were pretty nomadic. My mother was born and raised in the Philippines in a family of eleven children. My parents met while my father was in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Clark Air Force Base in Manila, Philippines.  Through some match-making by my aunt, my parents eventually married and from there, our family moved from air force base to air force base until we settled in San Diego when I started elementary school.

As a child, I was drawn to school. My father (3rd from left) was fortunate to attend Howard University on the GI Bill, and he showed us firsthand how education opens doors and also demonstrated the value of hard work. But more importantly, my father loved thinking about people and human nature, and I credit him with my decision to major in psychology when I attended Stanford University (1990-1994) for my undergraduate degree. After college, I went on to pursue a doctoral degree in social psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

After holding assistant professor positions at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago, I was thrilled to make my way back to California to join the faculty at UC Davis in 2004. I fell in love with the charm and values of Davis and knew that it would be a great place to work and raise a family.

My daughter was born in 2006, and my son was born in 2008. They currently attend North Davis Elementary School and Birch Lane Elementary school (respectively). I have volunteered regularly both at the schools and at the school district. As President of the Birch Lane Montessori Parent Advisory Committee and President of the Davis Montessori Education Foundation, I participated in fundraising, budget oversight, teacher hiring and interviews, and strategic planning. I am currently a member of the DJUSD Parcel Tax Oversight Committee where I work with a team of other individuals to ensure that the community’s school parcel tax dollars are being properly spent.

During the 14 years that I have lived in Davis, I have been actively involved in the community. I have served as a U-8 and U-10 referee for AYSO for several years. And at different points in time, I have proudly held the roles of Team Parent, DLL Team Snack Shack Coordinator, and Birch Lane Raffle Chair. My newest volunteer activity is serving as a teacher’s aide in my son’s Hebrew class at Congregation Bet Haverim where my children, their father, and I are members.

Finally, as a psychology professor at UC Davis, I have taught thousands of students over the years and personally mentored dozens of others. Being able to ignite students’ passion for learning and watch them develop confidence in their own abilities has been one of the biggest highlights of my career. It has also made me acutely aware of the importance of ensuring a high quality education during the K-12 years.

My Research:

As a social psychology professor at UC Davis, I direct the UC Davis Self and Social Identity Lab. My students and I study social rejection and belonging, group identity, and intergroup relations. You can learn more about my work here.