Our lab strives to understand, and promote, the factors that support positive peer relationships in elementary school-age children (occasionally also in adolescents and emerging adults). As part of this mission, we aspire to create a lab that values, includes, and learns from people with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences.
This means that we seek to recruit, support, and retain lab members from diverse backgrounds and groups that have historically been underrepresented in psychology and in academia. It is important that we create an equitable environment for learning and working where all lab members feel supported and welcomed, including for the diverse perspectives they bring to the table. Another implication is that we are committed to seeking and including input from diverse research participants in terms of the data they provide for our research studies. It is a priority for us to understand how participants’ diversity in backgrounds shape their experiences with their peers. We view the process toward reaching our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals as dynamic and evolving, and we are continually reflecting on how we can do better as a team.
We value these goals for several reasons. Most simply, promoting inclusive and supportive peer relationships is the primary goal of our research program, and the work from our lab (and others) have underscored the many ways children benefit from these types of relationships. However, the need for a positive and inclusive social climate does not end in elementary school. Therefore, we strive to apply such a climate in our day-to-day lab culture as well. Second, peer relationships are complex and multi-faceted. An aim of our research program is to uncover some historically neglected and understudied factors that affect the peer relationships of children (especially those with ADHD). Diversity in our research team and participants, and an environment where that diversity is valued and supported, will help us to solve the puzzle of peer relationships by giving us novel ways of looking at the picture, and new intervention tools to address peer problems. Finally, we believe it is important to ensure that our lab and our research are representative of what society looks like today, and reflect the larger community outside of academia. This will help us to do research that matters, and to do research that benefits members of society more equitably without leaving certain groups out.
If you are considering joining us as a lab member, or volunteering as a research study participant, we greatly appreciate this and hope that this statement helps to explain how we value your contribution.