People

Lab Members

Image of Eunjin Seo

Eunjin is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Research Center and the Department of Psychology. Eunjin received her B.A. and M.A. in Education from Seoul National University, M.Ed. in Quantitative Methods, and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Eunjin’s research examines youth’s beliefs about themselves as psychological antecedents of educational achievement and school adjustment. Her research often utilizes a daily diary and a large-scale longitudinal design to reveal the complex nature of students’ motivation and emotion.
Cameron A. Hecht, PhD, is an NSF postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin in the Population Research Center. He conducts laboratory and field experiments to understand the motivational dynamics that influence students’ engagement, interest, and performance in academic contexts. He also tests interventions designed to enhance motivation and remove psychological barriers in these settings. In his research, Dr. Hecht examines how social-psychological interventions can promote equitable outcomes, attending to the mechanisms that explain these effects and evaluating whether and how these effects persist over time. He also studies the contextual factors that amplify or reduce the effects of these interventions. He earned his PhD in social psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020, his MA in the social sciences from the University of Chicago in 2013, and his BA in philosophy from the University of Vermont in 2012.
Kyle received his Ph.D. in Management & Organizations from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and studies how the way we view ourselves affects the way we connect with others, with a focus on authenticity, feeling humanrelationships, and empathy. His work on organizations is primarily with the police but has expanded to schools and other organizations. With police, he studies how police view themselves and how this affects the way they connect with others. With schools and other organizations, he studies how teachers and other leaders can create supportive environments that encourage people to bring who they are into these contexts.
Eric Smith is a postdoctoral fellow in the Population Research Center at UT Austin. He received his PhD in social psychology from Stanford University. His research examines how students’ perceptions of teachers can promote identity safety and motivation, and the role teachers can play in boosting the effectiveness of social-psychological interventions. One current line of research examines how instructors can provide messages of broad regard—communicating that multiple dimensions of a student’s identity are acknowledged, welcomed, and valued—to promote academic success.
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Hae Yeon Lee is a recently graduated PhD student in Developmental Psychology and currently an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University / NUS. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Seoul National University in South Korea, and a M.A. in Developmental Psychology at the UT Austin. She is interested in how adolescents come to learn and mentally represent social status from various environmental cues, and how such social cognitive understandings may impact social stress, mental health, and behavioral outcomes during adolescence and beyond. Her research also implements psychological interventions to intervene in these processes at the levels of social cognition, hormones and behaviors.  CV
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Melanie Netter is a sixth-year PhD student in Development Psychology at UT Austin. She received her B.S. and M.A. in Human Development from Cornell University. Her research interests lie in investigating the benefits of purpose for adolescents’ educational and social outcomes and how social institutions can better support adolescent purpose development. She is passionate about helping students, especially those from underserved backgrounds, discover how to engage with and contribute to their world in ways that are both personally and socially meaningful.
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Fortunato “Nick” Medrano is a fith-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology area. He received a B.S. in Education and Social Policy with a double major in Psychology from Northwestern University. His interests lie in the development of belonging, values, and motivation in adolescents as well as designing large-scale interventions to promote positive academic, social, and behavioral outcomes. Currently he is investigating the effects of belonging and mindset interventions in school transitions and the role of purpose and autonomy in classrooms.
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Julia Chafkin is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology with Dr. David Yeager of the Adolescent Development Research Group, Dr. Bob Josephs in the Clinical Neuroendocrinology Lab and Dr. Caryn Carlson. She is interested in the various hormonal profiles of adolescence and how they compare to the subjective experience of stress and anxiety, and in the influence of oral contraceptives on the endocrine system and the risk for depression, anxiety and postpartum mood disorders.

Collaborators

Carol Dweck; Jon KrosnickGregory WaltonGeoffrey CohenMarlone HendersonChristopher BryanAngela DuckworthSidney D’MelloJeremy Jamieson; Valerie Purdie-Vaughns; Barbara Schneider; Chris Hulleman; Rob Crosnoe