Victoria Plaut, Professor

Closed (1) Mitigating the Double Bind in Computer Science: A Sociocultural Narrative Intervention

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2018 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2019.

This project concerns disparities in education and tech. Dominant stories exist about who is a computer scientist and who is not; however, girls of color do not figure as protagonists of these stories despite the fact that many are involved in science. Additionally, society has historically made it difficult for girls of color to embrace multiple identities simultaneously (Purdie-Vaughns & Eibach, 2008), such as their self-concept as girls of color and as scientists. This project involves a social psychological intervention for increasing the participation of girls of color in computer science and STEM more generally. The researchers partnered with a STEM summer program for kids of color that has succeeded in increasing computer science engagement but with lower rates among female alumni of the program. The intervention implemented within the program uses personal storytelling to alter the structural realities, cultural narratives and psychological processes of girls of color in order to reduce this gender gap. The intervention combines research on value affirmation (Cohen et al., 2006), cultural narrative (Thompson, 2014) and ambient belonging (Cheryan, Plaut, Davies, & Steele, 2009). Encompassing this research, the intervention encourages girls to engage in dynamic discussion integrating science and culture, and allows them to create objects that will be used to signal belonging within STEM and computer science domains. Effects of the intervention on engagement, belonging, and performance will be examined. This project has applications for education, business (e.g., tech), and social science.


As part of a research team undergraduate research apprentices will gain experience coding and transcribing qualitative data, working with data entry and analysis techniques, as well as insight into study design and relevant literature. Apprentices will also participate in project meetings, and may also take part in other activities within the Culture, Diversity, and Intergroup Relations lab, which is located in the Berkeley School of Law.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Kyneshawau Hurd, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Undergraduate research apprentices are expected to have excellent skills in organization and time management, be detail-oriented, reliable, and able to work well with others. Commitment to the lab for more than one semester is desirable. A number of majors and programs are particularly relevant to this study (e.g., Psychology, Education, African American Studies, Chicana/o Studies); however, we will consider and encourage applications from any major. Time commitment per week is approximately 9-12 hours but can be negotiated.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs
Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/victoria-plaut/

Closed (2) Examining Reactions to University Inclusion Policies and Their Social and Legal Contexts

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2018 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2019.

This project seeks to uncover the social psychological underpinnings of the debate around inclusion policies and free speech. As college campuses nationwide have instituted policies designed to promote inclusion (e.g., safe spaces, trigger warnings, hate speech codes, and pronoun usage policies), furor and debate have ignited. On the one hand, proponents argue that inclusion policies foster safe and inclusive environments for individuals from underrepresented groups, or groups that commonly face harassment and discrimination. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that they coddle students and violate the First Amendment. Psychologically this is very rich terrain for empirical investigation. Our research seeks to uncover the psychological correlates of different reactions to inclusion policies and perceptions of free speech violation and test the role of perceptions of group-related threat in attitudes toward inclusion policies. This is important because how people respond to these policies will shape the environments in which people of all backgrounds learn and work.

As part of a research team, undergraduate research apprentices will gain experience primarily in coding qualitative data from national surveys and conducting literature reviews, as well as experimental design, and/or data analysis. They will also gain familiarity with the socio-legal background of this debate. Apprentices will participate in project meetings and may also take part in other activities within the Culture, Diversity, and Intergroup Relations lab, which is located in the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Emily Goldstein, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Undergraduate research apprentices are expected to have excellent skills in organization and time management, be detail-oriented, reliable, and able to work well with others. Commitment to the lab for more than one semester is desirable. A number of majors and programs are particularly relevant to this research (e.g., Psychology, Education, Political Science, Legal Studies, Ethnic studies, Gender studies, Disability Studies, etc.); however, we will consider applications from any major. Time commitment per week is approximately 8-12 hours but can be negotiated.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/culture-diversity-intergroup-relations-lab/
Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/victoria-plaut/

Closed (3) Equity and Diversity Language in Job Advertisements

Applications for Spring 2019 are now closed for this project.

This project examines equity and diversity-related language in job advertisements and how they shape the racial and gender diversity of the applicant pool. Specifically, we are interested in understanding what kinds of language is commonly used and how its presence, absence and/or variation affects applications among underrepresented applicants. Of particular interest is how equity and diversity language may impact the decision-making process of job-seekers with multiple, intersecting, underrepresented identities.

As part of a research team undergraduate research apprentices will play a supporting role to the primary investigators, familiarize themselves with relevant study materials and conduct in depth literature reviews. Apprentices will attend weekly project meetings, and make regular progress reports to the lab manager. As part of the apprentices’ training and mentoring, they will be required to attend weekly lab meetings, but only if meetings do not conflict with scheduled classes.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Emily Goldstein, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Undergraduate research apprentices are expected to be organized and practice time management, be detail-oriented and reliable. Apprentices must also communicate with the lab manager regarding absences, tardiness, or inability to fulfill assignments in a timely fashion. Research apprentices are also expected to maintain respectful relationships with other members of their team, and contribute to an inclusive and supportive lab culture.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/culture-diversity-intergroup-relations-lab/
Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/victoria-plaut/