My training and interests are in Community Psychology and Applied Developmental Psychology. I received my PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology from Boston College in 2012. During my graduate studies, I worked closely with the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College, and participated in an ongoing action research project that explores the psychosocial effects of U.S. detention and deportation policies on Central American families in the U.S. and Guatemala: The Human Rights of Migrants Project. After receiving my PhD, I worked as a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University where I directed community-based and evaluative studies of youth settings throughout the U.S., including youth development programs and trade colleges. These studies examined how the strengths of youth could be better promoted in each setting.
I have two main research interests. The first is the experiences of transnational and mixed-status migrant families throughout the U.S., and how family relationships are developed and maintained within such complex families and sociopolitical contexts. I am especially interested in the contributions of adolescents to their families and communities. My second area of research is the development of critical consciousness among adolescents and how critical consciousness and social justice-oriented development may be related to well-being in youth. I employ community-based and participatory research methods, involving families and adolescents, as well as community-based organizations and institutions, as collaborators in the research process.