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Sarah Gaither



Sarah is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Duke Identity and Diversity Lab in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and a faculty affiliate with the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and The Center on Health and Society at Duke University. She received her B.A. in Social Welfare and a minor in Spanish Language and Literature from U.C. Berkeley, earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Tufts University, and completed a Provost’s Career Enhancement Postdoctoral Fellowship focusing on Developmental Psychology at The University of Chicago and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. In line with the goals of SPSSI, her research emphasizes the need for psychological science to be representative of minority groups.


Being Biracial herself, her publications largely focus on the role our multiple social identities play in shaping our behavior and perceptions of others in diverse settings from childhood through adulthood. Her work has been funded by agencies including NSF, The Russell Sage Foundation, and The Spencer Foundation. She also currently advises three joint Psychology and Public Policy PhD students who benefit greatly from SPSSI research.


She has been a SPSSI member since 2011, received Clara Mayo and Grant-in-Aid awards as a graduate student, and recently two of her underrepresented minority (URM) Ph.D. students received Clara Mayo awards and two first-generation URM undergraduates had posters accepted to this year’s conference. She was an invited early career speaker for SPSSI’s 2019 conference where she discussed the need for research to consider Multiracial identities, served on the College Teaching and Mentoring Excellence Award Committee this past year, and has been an ad hoc reviewer for Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy (ASAP). Additionally, she has co-authored one paper in ASAP and three papers in The Journal of Social Issues, including a top-shared paper focusing on the implications for media coverage and criminal proceedings in cases of police violence against racial/ethnic minorities.


Outside of SPSSI, she teaches courses focusing on social identities and diversity issues in psychological science and was voted as a top 5% instructor by undergraduates at Duke. She is currently on the review boards for Psychological Science, Social Psychological and Personality Science, and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, while also serving as an ad hoc reviewer for NSF. Importantly, she is ending her term this year as the first ever elected co-chair of SPSP’s Early Career Committee where she and her colleagues submitted proposals to expand the definition of early career to be more inclusive of postdoctoral scholar years in addition to pushing for needed awards for truly junior scholars within their first three years after earning their Ph.D.