Sixty-nine percent of college freshmen at the University of Toronto campuses report that they identify as a visible minority (University of Toronto Mississauga, 2018). The academic and social success of these students hinges on an institution’s ability to support them during this critical transitional period of emerging adulthood. Although researchers and the public recognize the fact that emerging adulthood is a particularly important part of the lifespan, the knowledge required to support racialized students is incomplete because their experiences are not emphasized in the relevant literature. Therefore, it is imperative that theory and research in personality development be modernized to be relevant for racialized people (e.g., Arshad & Chung, 2021). This project will focus on an aspect of a broader research program that examines how racialized emerging adults’ experiences with social structures—political, educational, and social service entities that place value on categories like race and ethnicity and in turn, differentially impact people’s access to education, jobs, and health care—co-occur with personality development and adjustment over the course of university. The specific SROP project will be developed with the student. Some examples of current studies in this research program are focus groups regarding racialized students’ experiences at university, and an experience sampling study exploring the impact of daily experiences with social structures on racialized students’ personality expression.
I am a Korean American personality psychologist, and as an underrepresented minority in the academy, I strongly support the mission of SROP. For example, I strive to include people who are underrepresented in the psychological literature in my research team and as the focus of my research because I believe that psychology absolutely needs more diversity. I value learning together and being in community with my students. I tend to work well with people who are open-minded, patient with the scientific process, and okay with being wrong sometimes. I encourage my mentees to bring their lived experiences to their academic endeavors, and take a personalized approach to my mentoring relationships. We will have one-on-one meetings, which will be supplemented with an occasional lab meeting. You will gain familiarity with literature focused on personality development, emotions, and culture. You will also learn about open science practices, and mixed methods!