Floods and Equity: A Panel Discussion

1927 Mississippi Flood

Floods are the most destructive natural hazard, both at the national and international scale, and they disproportionately affect people of color and the poor. To understand this uneven exposure to floods requires that we understand the history of land use and institutional structures that have resulted in current exposure and inequitable allocation of resources for flood protection and for post-disaster aid (‘procedural vulnerability’).

One of the most critical agencies is the US Army Corps of Engineers, whose cost-benefit analysis approach tends to preclude flood risk management projects in poor communities.

In this presentation, panelists Danielle Zoe Rivera (UC Berkeley) and Jessica Ludy (US Army Corps) will draw upon their research on these topics and discuss pathways to improving on the current situation.

Co-sponsored by Social Science Matrix, Global Metropolitan Studies, and River-Lab, from the University of California, Berkeley.



Danielle Zoe RiveraDanielle Zoe Rivera is an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning in the College of Environmental Design. Rivera’s research examines movements for environmental and climate justice. Her current work uses community-based research methods to address the impacts of climate-induced disasters affecting low-income communities throughout South Texas and Puerto Rico. Rivera teaches on environmental planning and design, community engagement, and environmental justice. Her work has been published by the Journal of the American Planning Association, Environment and Planning, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. She holds a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining the University of California Berkeley, Rivera taught Environmental Design at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Jessica Ludy Jessica Ludy (she/her) is the Flood Risk Program Manager and Environmental Justice Coordinator for the San Francisco District US Army Corps of Engineers. Through the Army Corps’ “Technical Assistance Programs,” Jessica and her team partner with communities in the San Francisco District Area of Responsibility to identify and implement solutions for equitable, just, and sustainable climate adaptation. Jessica also leads the San Francisco district’s efforts to implement the federal government’s priorities to advance social and environmental justice. Jessica’s work is informed and inspired by collaborations and scholarship of researchers and colleagues both inside and out of the federal government, and by the decades of environmental and disability justice leadership from indigenous peoples, people of color, and other historically-marginalized groups. Jessica is a co-chair of the Social Justice and Floodplain Management Task Force at the Association of State Floodplain Managers. Prior to the Army Corps, she worked on flood risk management and floodplain restoration as an environmental consultant, a Fulbright scholar, and at nonprofits. Jessica completed her Master’s in Environmental Planning at UC Berkeley in 2009 where her thesis was on flood risk perception behind levees sent her down a rabbit hole to change the way we ‘do’ flood risk management… forever.

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Matrix on Point: One Million COVID Deaths

A series of cross-disciplinary conversations on today’s most pressing issues

covid virus

As we approach the grim milestone of one million deaths in the United States, taking stock of the personal and collective consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic becomes an urgent task for social scientists. This Matrix on Point panel will examine the physical, material and psychological toll of the past two years of rampant disease, on and off social distancing, and shifting economic ground. It will analyze the unequal distribution of the pandemic’s burden across the population, discuss the long-term scarring that may ensue, and contemplate the (possibly more uplifting) lessons to be drawn for the future.


  • Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology and Co-Director of the Greater Good Science Center
  • Tina Sacks, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare; author, Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System (Oxford, 2019)
  • Andrew Wooyoung Kim, Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology, UC Berkeley Department of Anthropology
  • Iris Mauss (moderator), Professor, Berkeley Psychology


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The Public University as Growth Machine: Contradiction or Opportunity?

Professor Davarian L. Baldwin, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies, Trinity College in dialogue with Regent John A. Pérez, Regent of the University of California, Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly.

Davarian Baldwin and John Perez

Is it possible to reconcile growing student enrollment with the housing crisis, increased use of lecturers, and reliance on private capital for housing development reliant on debt-financed student rent and non-unionized labor? As a public university, UC Berkeley aspires to be an agent of class mobility and racial justice. Can these roles be served when the university is also a landlord dependent on property developers and philanthropists to meet the housing needs of a dramatically expanding student body? Is the public university as a growth machine a contradiction or an opportunity as the university aims to fulfill its public mission? The Berkeley Faculty Association brings two leading figures in the public conversation on the public university to unpack its public mission, including its relationship to surrounding cities, the environment, Black and Latinx workers and students, and the conditions of teaching and learning.

Davarian Baldwin is one of the country’s leading urban historians and Black radical thinkers, author of several books and recipient of many awards. His most recent book, entitled In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering our Cities, explores the increasingly parasitic relationship between universities and our cities. Through exhaustive research, Baldwin interrogates the deep social costs of turning universities into growth machines that gentrify neighborhoods, deepen urban inequalities, steward police forces, deplete tax coffers and exploit low-waged Black and Brown labor.

John A. Pérez is a Regent of the University of California, former California Assembly member representing Downtown and East Los Angeles, and the 68th Speaker Emeritus. He has a distinguished record in the labor movement as former Political Director of the California Labor Federation, as well as in fighting for the rights of working families. He has championed affordability and accessibility of public higher education, notably in the landmark Middle Class Scholarship Act. He has been President of the National Speakers Conference and has served on the President’s Commission on HIV/AIDS, and on the Democratic National Committee.

Co-Sponsors: Department of Geography, Graduate School of Education Equity Committee and Social Science Matrix

Register for remote access via Zoom and ask questions of the speakers.

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Digital Transformations in Global Land, Housing, and Property

An online panel discussion presented by a Matrix Research Team

digital land and buildings


Since the 17th-century invention of the surveyor’s chain, new technologies have been embedded in real estate market devices. While technologies targeting land are not new, the capture and application of big data, as well as the technological affordances of digital platforms and the structural power of their corporate owners, are catalysing novel processes of claiming and commodifying space globally. This panel discussion brings together members of the Matrix Research Team on Digital Transformations in Property and Development to discuss how state, corporations, and grassroots actors are employing digital technologies to remake global land, housing, and property.

Panelists include Hilary Faxon, Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley; Elizabeth Resor, Phd student in the UC Berkeley School of Information; Julien Migozzi, Research Associate in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford; Luis F. Alvarez León, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Dartmouth College; and Jovanna Rosen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers University-Camden. The panel will be moderated by Desiree Fields, Assistant Professor of Geography and Global Metropolitan Studies at UC Berkeley.

Co-sponsored by Global Metropolitan Studies (GMS) and the Network for a New Political Economy (N2PE).

Image above generated by AI by https://app.wombo.art/, based on prompts from members of the Matrix Research Team. 

The Bitter End: The 2020 Presidential Campaign and The Challenge to American Democracy

Presented by the Citrin Center for Public Opinion Research

John Sides

Register to join us for an in-person lecture by John Sides, William R. Kenan, Jr. Chair and Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University, focused on his new co-authored book, The Bitter End: The 2020 Presidential Campaign and the Challenge to American Democracy. This event is presented by the Citrin Center for Public Opinion Research.


the bitter end image

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Watershed: Putin’s Regime, Russia, and the World

A panel discussion with four marquee figures among the Russian intellectuals who oppose the war in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin


The war of aggression that the political regime in Russia unleashed on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, constitutes a watershed in post-Cold War history. The assault has also been accompanied by an unprecedented tightening of repression in Russia itself. The government rapidly muzzled what remained of the political opposition and completely destroyed independent media. How can this war, and the regime that started it, be grasped in the global and historical context of the post-Cold War? How much longer will the aggression continue? What are its likely political and geopolitical outcomes?

The four participants in this webinar — Ilya BudraitskisArtemy MagunIlya Matveev, and Oxana Timofeeva — are among the foremost philosophers and political theorists in Russia who oppose this war and the authoritarian regime that launched it and who try to understand the conditions that made them possible. Within Russia, they are under the risk of persecution and had to flee or consider emigration. Their distinctive perspectives, not often heard either on the right or the left in the West, will shed a unique light on these urgent topics.

The webinar will be moderated by: Dylan Riley, Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley, and Alexei Yurchak, Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Harsha Ram, Professor in the Department of Slavic Literatures and Languages at UC Berkeley, will introduce the panelists.

This panel is co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Department of Anthropology; the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies; and the Program in Critical Theory.


Ilya Budraitskis is a political and cultural theorist, who until recent events taught at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (Shaninka) and the Moscow Institute of Contemporary Art. He is a long-standing member of the editorial board of Moscow Art Journal, and a board member of Moscow’s Sakharov Center, a prominent human rights and educational organization that has repeatedly come under pressure from the Russian authorities. Budraitskis has published in New Left Review, South Atlantic Quarterly, Radical Philosophy. His book, Dissidents Among Dissidents: Ideology, Politics and the Left in Post-Soviet Russia, was published by Verso in 2022.

Artemy Magun is Professor of Political Philosophy from St. Petersburg, Director of the Stasis Center for Practical Philosophy and editor-in-chief of Stasis, Journal in Social and Political Theory. He is the author of several books of political philosophy, including Negative Revolution: Modern Political Subject and its Fate After the Cold War (Bloomsbury, 2013), Politics of the One (Bloomsbury 2013), and The Future of the State (Rowman & Littlefield 2020). His essays have appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Constellations, Theory and Event, etc. He is a long-standing member of Chto Delat, a group of progressive Russian intellectuals and artists who oppose Putin’s regime.

Ilya Matveev is Professor of Political Philosophy who until recent events taught at the Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in St. Petersburg. He is a member of the research group Laboratory for Public Sociology which critically studies post-Soviet societies and has conducted research in both Russia and Ukraine. Matveev‘s work has appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Europe-Asia Studies, Journal of Labor and Society, East European Politics, Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization. He is co-host, with Budraitskis, of the popular Russian-language podcast “Political Diary,” which provides a unique perspective of the opposition to the current events in Russia.

Oxana Timofeeva is Professor of Political Philosophy from St. Petersburg and Head of its program “Geophilosophy and New Materialism.” Her essays have appeared in Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture; Crisis & Critique; Mediations; Rethinking Marxism. She is the author of several books including Introduction to the Erotic Philosophy of Georges Bataille (NLO, 2009), The History of Animals: A Philosophy (Bloomsbury, 2019), Solar Politics (Polity, 2022), and How to Love a Homeland (Kayfa, 2021). She has been a long-standing member of Chto Delat, a group of progressive Russian intellectuals and artists who oppose Putin’s regime.


Dr. Nina Ansary: The Unknown History of Women’s Activism in Iran

Nina Ansary


In this lecture, Dr. Nina Ansary, an award-winning Iranian American author, historian and UN Women Global Champion for Innovation, will speak about the unknown history of women’s activism in Iran, particularly peace activism, challenging the stereotype in the West of Iranian women as powerless and oppressed after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. She will discuss particular cases and overall trends that will make us think differently about both the challenges women have faced in Iran and about the courageous women who distinguished themselves across many fields and expanded the possibilities for women everywhere.

Dr. Minoo Moallem, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of Media Studies at UC Berkeley, will respond. Dr. Christine Philliou, Professor in the Department of History and Director of the Programs in Modern Greek/Hellenic Studies and Ottoman/Turkish Studies at UC Berkeley, will moderate. This event is co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science and the UC Berkeley Department of History.

About the Speakers

Nina AnsaryNina Ansary is an award-winning Iranian American author, historian and UN Women Global Champion for Innovation. Her books Anonymous Is a Woman: A Global Chronicle of Gender Inequality (Revela Press/2020) and Jewels of Allah: The Untold Story of Women in Iran (Revela Press/2015) garnered multiple awards, including the 2016 International Book Award in “Women’s Issues” (Jewels of Allah) and the 2021 Benjamin Franklin Book Award in “Interior Design” and “History” (Anonymous Is a Woman). She is the Director of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) Global Women’s Lecture Series and the Director of the Cambridge Middle East and North Africa Forum’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI).

Nina is the recipient of the 2020 Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award, the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the 2018 Barnard College, Columbia University Trailblazer Award, and has been recognized as one of “10 Inspirational Women (who) Should be Household Names” by The Hill, one of “Five Iranian Visionaries You Need to Know” by The New York Times and one of “14 Privileged Women to Change the World” by Marie Claire. She has appeared on CNN International, Fox News, Larry King, the BBC, Sky News and been featured in a variety of publications, including Time, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, CNN.com, Teen Vogue and the Yale Journal of International Affairs. She regularly presents her work on women’s rights at universities including Columbia, Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge, as well as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, the UN Social Good and Girl Up Global Leadership Summits.

Ansary holds an MA in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies and a PhD in History from Columbia University. She serves on the International Advisory Board of the Cambridge Middle East and North Africa Forum (MENAF); a think-tank based at the University of Cambridge, the Board of Trustees of the Iranian American Women Foundation (IAWF), and the Board of Directors of My Stealthy Freedom (MSF); an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Iranian women’s actions to secure their rights. She can be found on Twitter  Instagram and Facebook.

Minoo Moallem (respondent) is a professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of Media Studies at UC Berkeley. She is the author of Persian Carpets: The Nation as a Transnational Commodity (Routledge, 2018); Between Warrior Brother and Veiled Sister. Islamic Fundamentalism and the Cultural Politics of Patriarchy in Iran (University of California Press, 2005); and the co-editor of Between Woman and Nation: Nationalisms, Transnational Feminisms, and The State, (Duke University Press, 1999). She is also the guest editor of a special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East on Iranian Immigrants, Exiles, and Refugees. Her digital project “Nation-on-the Move”(design by Eric Loyer) was published in Vectors. Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular, Fall 2007. She was the recipient of the UC Berkeley Chancellor Award for Public Service in 2010. Trained as a sociologist, she writes on postcolonial and transnational feminist studies, commodity cultures, immigration and diaspora studies, Middle Eastern studies, and Iranian visual cultures and diasporas.

Christine Philliou (moderator) is Professor in the Department of History and Director of the Programs in Modern Greek/Hellenic Studies and Ottoman/Turkish Studies at UC Berkeley. She is the author of two books: Biography of an Empire: Governing Ottomans in an Age of Revolution (University of California Press, 2011) and Turkey: A Past Against History (University of California Press, 2021). Philliou teaches courses on the Middle East and Balkans in global context.

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Machine Learning: Uncovering Hidden Structure in Data

Part of the ICPSR 2022 Summer Workshops at Berkeley.

ICPSR Summer Program Logo

Instructor: Christopher Hare, UC Davis

Social scientists are increasingly taking advantage of machine learning methods to gain new insight into their data and expand their methodological toolbox. Indeed, these methods and techniques are revolutionary and indispensable tools for exploring data, learning more deeply about relationships between variables, and ultimately uncovering and visualizing latent or hidden structure embedded in data. This course covers both supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods but will place special emphasis on the (often) underappreciated suite of unsupervised learning tools. These methods are more exploratory in nature, and include cluster analysis, mixture modeling, principal and independent component analysis, manifold learning and multidimensional scaling, self-organizing maps, factor analysis and structural equation modeling, and other latent variable models. Social scientists have also contributed greatly to the development and innovation of these methods, and special care will be given to integrate social science perspectives and applications into the course materials. We will also cover the burgeoning subfield of model interpretability, discussing approaches that can be used to better understand the mechanisms underlying “black box” models.  Software: The course will use R to demonstrate the theoretical properties and empirical applications of these methods, and so participants should have some basic familiarity with R or similar statistical computing environments (such as Stata, SAS, or Python). An advanced programming background is not required or assumed.  Prerequisites: Participants should also have some prior exposure to linear regression models.

UC Berkeley Faculty, Students and Staff are eligible for ICPSR Member pricing.

These workshops will all be held in-person at Social Science Matrix, 8th floor Social Sciences Building, UC Berkeley campus or you may attend virtually.

To register and for further information, go to https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/web/pages/sumprog/courses.html and choose the “Short Workshops” tab. Or contact Eva Seto, Associate Director Matrix via e-mail to evaseto@berkeley.edu

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Machine Learning: Applications and Opportunities in Social Science Research

Part of the ICPSR 2022 Summer Workshops at Berkeley.

ICPSR Summer Program Logo

Instructor: Christopher Hare, UC Davis

The field of machine learning is most commonly associated with “big data”: how we can use massive datasets to make better predictions about things like credit card fraud, Netflix recommendations, and the like. Though machine learning has been most influential in its commercial and medical applications, a growing number of social scientists are taking advantage of these methods for data of all types to: (1) uncover patterns and structure embedded between variables, (2) test and improve model specification and predictions, and (3) perform data reduction. This course covers the mechanics underlying machine learning methods and discusses how these techniques can be leveraged by social scientists to gain new insight from their data. Specifically, the course will cover: decision trees, random forests, boosting, k-means clustering and nearest neighbors, support vector machines, kernels, neural networks, and ensemble learning. We will also discuss best practices concerning tuning, error estimation, and model interpretability. Software: The course will use R to demonstrate the theoretical properties and empirical applications of these methods, and so participants should have some basic familiarity with R or similar statistical computing environments (such as Stata, SAS, or Python). An advanced programming background is not required or assumed. Prerequisites: Participants should also have some prior exposure to linear regression models.

UC Berkeley Faculty, Students and Staff are eligible for ICPSR Member pricing.

These workshops will all be held in-person at Social Science Matrix, 8th floor Social Sciences Building, UC Berkeley campus or you may attend virtually.

To register and for further information, go to https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/web/pages/sumprog/courses.html and choose the “Short Workshops” tab. Or contact Eva Seto, Associate Director Matrix via e-mail to evaseto@berkeley.edu

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Social Sciences Fest / Matrix Open House

An annual celebration of the social sciences at UC Berkeley

red abstraction, alma thomas

The Social Sciences Fest is an occasion to celebrate the UC Berkeley Division of Social Science. We’re thrilled to gather in person again this year! Join us as we recognize our new faculty members and honor this year’s Distinguished Teaching and Service Award recipients. Please come to reconnect, celebrate each other, learn about what’s new at Social Science Matrix, and participate in the amazing community that is Berkeley Social Science!





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(Why) Are Democrats Losing the Latino Vote?

Why are democrats losing the Latino vote flyer

Presented by the Citrin Center for Public Opinion Research, this panel will feature:

  • Amanda Iovino, Vice President, Polling Director, WPA Intelligence, Youngkin for Governor
  • Anaís López, Senior Analyst, BSP Research
  • David Shor, Head of Data Science, Blue Rose Research; and
  • Mike Madrid, Principal, GrassrootsLab

This event will be presented in-person at Social Science Matrix, 820 Social Sciences Building. Register to attend.

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Solving Big Problems: Berkeley Psychology in the 21st Century

Part of the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Berkeley Psychology

Berkeley Psychology 100 Year Event


As part of our ongoing series of events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Psychology Department at UC Berkeley, we are delighted to showcase three of our faculty and their research – Professors Robert Knight, Sheri Johnson, and Jason Okonofua. The cutting-edge research of each of these faculty and their students uniquely illustrates how psychological science can contribute to solving a broad range of big problems at both the individual and societal levels. After each faculty presentation, audience members will have the chance to engage the speaker with questions and comments.

Physiology of Human Cognition: Insights from Direct Brain Recording with Implications for Health and Disease
Robert T. Knight, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

How do we think, remember, speak, and socialize? Discovering the physiological substrate of these human behaviors presents one of the great scientific challenges of the 21st century. Evidence obtained from electrodes inserted into the human brain for treatment of medication refractory epilepsy provides unprecedented insight into the electrophysiological processes supporting human behavior. I will review some of our findings with implications for understanding brain function in health and how these findings might be used for development of neuroprosthetic devices for treatment of disabling neurological disorders.

Understanding and Managing Impulsivity
Sheri L. Johnson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology

For decades, scientists have considered the role of impulsivity in contributing to mental health and behavioral outcomes. In the last 20 years, researchers have shown that one form of impulsivity—the tendency to engage in rash and regrettable behavior during states of high emotion—is particularly related to poor outcomes. I will review some of the outcomes tied to this form of impulsivity, and I will highlight new treatment development work.

Sidelining Bias: A Situationist Approach to Reduce the Consequences of Bias in Real-World Contexts
Jason A. Okonofua, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Bias and bias-reduction have become ubiquitous topics of research, policy, and practice. I will introduce an approach to study and mitigate societal consequences of bias that begins with the presumption that people are inherently complex, that is, including multiple, often contradictory patterns of selves and goals. When we conceptualize the person this way, we can ask when biased selves are likely to emerge and whether we can sideline this bias—alter situations in potent ways that elevate alternative selves and goals that people will endorse and for which bias would be non-functional. My research shows how sidelining bias has led to meaningful improvements for thousands of individuals in real-world outcomes, including higher achievement and reduced school suspensions for youth and recidivism to jail for youth and adults.

About the Speakers

Robert T. Knight, M.D.: Dr. Knight is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at UC Berkeley. His laboratory studies neurological patients with frontal lobe damage and also records electrical signals directly from the brain of neurosurgical patients to understand the role of human prefrontal cortex in goal-directed behavior and for development of neuroprosthetics devices for disabling neurological disorders. Dr. Knight has twice received the Jacob Javits Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for Distinguished Contributions to Neurological research, the IBM Cognitive Computing Award, the German Humboldt Prize in Neurobiology, the Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the Award for Education in Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience and the Howard Crosby Warren Medal from the Society of Experimental Psychologists for Distinguished Career Contributions. Read more.

Dr. Sheri L. Johnson: Dr. Johnson is a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California Berkeley. Her work has focused on two themes: reward sensitivity and emotion-related impulsivity. Her work has been funded by NARSAD, NIMH, NSF, and NCI. She has published over 275 manuscripts, including publications in leading journals such as the American Psychologist, Psychological Bulletin, Current Directions in Psychological Science, and the American Journal of Psychiatry. She is co-author/co-editor of six books. She is a fellow of the Association for Behavioral Medicine Research, the Association for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and the Association for Psychological Science, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (2013-2014), and former president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology. Read more.

Dr. Jason Okonofua: Dr. Jason Okonofua is a professor at the University of California-Berkeley. Jason’s research program examines social-psychological processes that contribute to inequality. One context in which he has examined these processes is that of teacher-student relationships and race disparities in disciplinary action. His research emphasizes the ongoing interplay between processes that originate among teachers (how stereotyping can influence discipline) and students (how apprehension to bias can incite misbehavior) to examine causes for disproportionate discipline according to race. Read more.