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M. Dalal Safa, Ph.D.

Lab Director

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 ethnic-racial 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 2023!