Born and raised in Hawaii, I became interested in how racial diversity impacts how we deal with race and identity. Moving to the “mainland” U.S., where I earned my B.S. in psychology at Western Oregon University, was culture-shock for me. As a multiracial individual, I began to question my own racial identity and how one’s environment shapes experiences. I returned to Hawai‘i to obtain my Ph.D. in social psychology at University of Hawai‘i, where I began to investigate these questions. I completed my postdoctoral training at York University in Toronto, Canada, before arriving back to the Pacific Northwest, here at Whitman College.
My program of research examines how increasing diversity in society shapes intergroup processes across contexts and groups. Using a social-cognitive approach, I examine how contexts and social norms influence cognition, behaviors, and social interactions, with a focus on racial diversity, race-related norms, and social perception. My research highlights the experiences of underrepresented racial groups in psychology and builds theories within intergroup relations that are inclusive of these growing populations. I use a wide variety of methodologies in this research, including but not limited to: qualitative interviews, eye-tracking, mouse-tracking, implicit measures, longitudinal surveys, and self-report measures. I am interested in working with students and using our lived experiences to investigate important questions about how we navigate our social world. Outside of the lab and classroom, I enjoy cooking, bicycling, and playing board games with my husband, Rob, and our dog, Gungi.