- Post-Doctoral Scholar, Africana Research Center
Naila A. Smith earned a PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology from Fordham University. Dr. Smith’s research examines the role of social and cultural risks (e.g., discrimination, microaggressions), developmental resources (e.g., parent and peer relationships), and cultural assets (e.g., ethnic identity) in the academic, social, and emotional development of adolescents and emerging adults (ages 18-25). She explores these processes primarily in immigrant and ethnic-racial minority (e.g., African American) populations across multiple contexts, such as online and in the classroom. In her research, she employs quantitative and qualitative methods to study these processes. This includes advanced longitudinal methods to understand long-term changes in academic and socioemotional experiences and the consequences of risks and assets on development. She also uses person-centered methods such as latent profile analyses to understand how a combination of factors, working together simultaneously, might explain youth development more richly than considering each factor separately. Finally, she is trained in qualitative methodology and uses this in her work to gain an in-depth, nuanced understanding of the experiences of Black/African American youth in their own voice. Dr. Smith has published her work in leading journals such as Child Development, Educational Researcher, and the International Journal of Psychology and presents regularly at major conferences held by the Society of Research in Child Development and the Society for Research on Adolescence.