M. Dalal Safa, Ph.D.
Dr. Dalal Safa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill and a Faculty Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. She is also a consulting editor for the Journal of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. Her research, guided by developmental and socio-cultural ecological frameworks, focuses on normative developmental tasks and competencies among immigrant and ethnoracial minoritized youth. Notably, her work seeks to elucidate “cultural bridges” in a multicultural world and has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Society for Research in Child Development.
Dr. Safa’s current work centers on biculturalism, defined as the internalization and development of competencies across multiple cultures. Her research aims to (a) identify key mechanisms contributing to biculturalism development, (b) expand understanding on the link between biculturalism and adjustment, and (c) advance conceptualization and assessment of biculturalism.
Prior to joining UNC, Dr. Safa was awarded and completed an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University. Further, she earned her Ph.D. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University in the U.S. and her M.A. in Social and Intercultural Psychology from the Université Livre de Bruxelles in Belgium. Dr. Safa has also previously worked as a Mental Health Clinical Practitioner serving unaccompanied and undocumented minors. On a personal level, she considers herself a multicultural Latina who has had the amazing opportunity to live in five countries, across three continents, and learn four different languages.
Dr. Safa is eager to grow the BRIDGES lab at UNC and is currently recruiting doctoral students to join in Fall 2024!
Laura Alvarez Rios, B.S.
Laura Alvarez Rios is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology program at UNC Chapel Hill. She earned her B.S. degree in Psychology from Mississippi State University in May of 2023. During her undergraduate studies, Laura worked as a research assistant under the supervision of Drs. Hilary DeShong and Mary E. Dozier contributing to multiple research projects focused on psychopathology across the lifespan. In the BRIDGES lab at UNC, she is interested in exploring the intersection between culture and development, with a particular focus on cognitive development. Laura has lived in multiple countries and enjoys reading, working on designs for her blog, and caring for her plants.
Priscilla Boaheng, B.A.
Priscilla Boaheng is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology program at UNC Chapel Hill. She earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from North Carolina State University in May of 2023. As an undergraduate, Priscilla worked as a research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Vanessa Volpe in the Black Health Lab, where she contributed to research projects focused on the role of online environments and technology on the health and development of Black young adults. In the BRIDGES lab at UNC, she is interested in examining and mitigating the adverse intersecting effects of racism and xenophobia on Black immigrants, specifically concerning their identity formation. Priscilla enjoys reading, writing, singing, and trying new foods and recipes.