Mary has just been named a 2013 Rising Star by the American Psychological Society. Look for her profile in the May/June issue of the APS Observer. As noted by APS, the award places Mary "among an impressive cohort of individuals who in the early stages of their career are already making significant contributions in psychological science."
Mary joins previous recipients of this prestigious award from our department, Brian D'Onofrio in 2012 and BJ Rydell in 2011.
One strand of her research seeks to broaden our understanding of interracial interactions and offer strategies to improve them. In work she began this January she examines the challenges faced in one-on-one interracial interactions between White, Black, and Latino individuals. The study examines how two factors--the racial diversity of an interaction partner’s friendship network and the goals they adopt for the interaction--influence both partners' experiences.
Her hope is to "illuminate factors and mechanisms underlying positive interracial interaction so that we can create a diverse society that works together."
A second strand of her research focuses on structural and contextual barriers for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Here she is developing the "cues hypothesis" that suggests that subtle situational cues in the environment can trigger experiences of identity threat, decreased belonging, and decreased desire to persist in these environments. These subtle situational cues may have powerful and far-reaching effects for potential targets of stereotypes and stigma.
Her aims here are to make those cues visible and to understand the mechanisms underlying them so that, through interventions, identity-threatening cues are less likely to hamper the lives of stigmatized people.