Dr. Victoria C. Plaut, Lab Director

Dr. Plaut is Professor of Law and Social Science at Berkeley. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Harvard University in 1996, an M.Sc. in Social Psychology at the London School of Economics in 1997, and a Ph.D. at Stanford University in 2003. She taught at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts for two years before joining the faculty at the University of Georgia in 2005, where she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. She moved to Berkeley in 2009, where she held a visiting position from 2009-2010 at Berkeley Law and then became Assistant Professor of Law and Social Science in 2010. Dr. Plaut was a member of the founding leadership team of the Center for Research and Engagement for Diversity at UGA and served on the Board of Trustees of the Center for Advancement and Study of International Education in Atlanta, GA. Having lived in New York, Paris, Atlanta, Boston, London, San Francisco, Athens and now Berkeley and Oakland, and having grown up in a bicultural family (Colombian-American), Dr. Plaut is fascinated by cultural and identity group differences. Moreover, she seeks to understand how differences are psychologically, structurally, and culturally constructed and matter for people’s lived experiences. Her research aims to uncover ways to foster successful and inclusive diverse environments.

Alem Tecle, Lab Manager

Alem is from Arizona, where she attended the University of Arizona, Honors College and earned her B.S. in Psychology in 2009. While there, she joined the Culture Collaboratory, and worked with Dr. Stephanie Fryberg on various projects investigating minority disparities in health and education. As a first generation African American, Alem has always had an interest in the intersection of different cultures, and the consequences this has for individuals and society. She is currently exploring these topics with an applied focus on law and social policy through her position with CDIRL.



Graduate Students


Kyneshawau Hurd

Kyneshawau is from Texas and earned her B.A. of Psychology from Baylor University in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core. After undergrad, Kyneshawau became a lab manager at a social psychology lab at UCLA, where she managed studies related to stereotyping, stereotype threat, social identity and stigma. Now a Ph.D. student in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy program at Berkeley, Kyneshawau continues to research social identity as it relates to diversity and educational policy. Her interests include diversity and inclusion, belonging, identity and the influences of organizational and institutional structure/processes on intra-group relations. 

Celina Romano

Celina, originally from Chicago, earned her B.A. with honors from the University of Michigan. She graduated with a double major in Psychology and Women’s Studies and a minor in Law Justice & Social Change. While at Michigan, Celina was a research assistant in Denise Sekaquaptewa’s Stereotypes and Prejudice Research Interest Group (SPRIG). In the lab, Celina conducted an honors thesis that investigated a psychological intervention to mitigate stereotype threat effects for women in STEM fields. Currently, Celina is a Ph.D. student in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy program at UC-Berkeley, specializing in social psychology. Celina’s research interests include intergroup conflict, diversity & inclusion, discrimination and intersectionality. More broadly, Celina is interested in both how and why social identity impacts the way individuals and groups experience law.

Asad Rahim

Asad Rahim is a PhD candidate in Berkeley’s Jurisprudence and Social Policy program. Before coming to Berkeley, Asad graduated from Harvard Law School and Babson College–where he won the Roger Babson Award, given to the top student in the graduating class. Between college and law school, Asad worked for a global finance firm in Hong Kong. Today, race is at the heart of his research interests. He is currently working on projects that examine racial identity performance, gender performance and mechanisms of informal social control.

Christina Stevens Carbone

Christina is a native San Franciscan and earned her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in psychology with highest honors in 2006. During her junior year she was invited to become a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 2010, Christina received her J.D. degree from Berkeley Law School and was admitted to the Order of the Coif. She is currently working towards completing a Ph.D. degree in Jurisprudence and Social Policy at Berkeley Law. Christina was a 2010-2011 recipient of the Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies Fellowship and received an Emerging Implicit Bias Scholar Award from the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice in 2012. Her research interests lie at the intersection of law and psychology and integrate both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Her areas of interest include judgment and decision-making, race, discrimination, diversity, and organizations. Current projects include the role of classified information in decision-making, the effects of diversity ideologies on hiring decisions, diversity and the military, jury reforms, perceptions of law firm diversity initiatives, and the effectiveness of accountability in addressing bias. Christina is also an active dancer and choreographer.

Carla España

Carla grew up in a Spanish/English bilingual household in California and her own bicultural upbringing has influenced her interest in studying issues involving intergroup relations, culture, and diversity. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in both Psychology and French, where she was nominated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society and earned Highest Honors at graduation. Carla, a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, obtained her Master’s Degree in Psychology at UC Berkeley and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the UC Berkeley Social/Personality Psychology program. Her research interests encompass a variety of topics, including: intergroup contact, prejudice, intergroup emotions, diversity training, implicit theories, and stereotypes. In collaboration with Dr. Victoria Plaut, Carla is currently exploring how individuals perceive the emotional legitimacy (the extent to which someone finds another person’s emotions to be reasonable and valid) of various social groups and how these perceptions affect issues pertaining to intergroup relations.

Mayra Feddersen

Mayra is a Ph.D. student in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She also holds an LL.M. from Berkeley Law, and a law degree from Diego Portales University, Chile. In the Culture, Diversity, and Intergroup Relations Lab she has been specializing in issues of immigration and emotions as well as models of diversity in school settings. As a lawyer, she has litigated human rights cases in local and international human rights courts, and has researched for the Human Rights Center at Diego Portales University, Due Process of Law Foundation, and the Justice Center for the Americas.

Matt Goren

Matt grew up in Tampa and attended the University of Florida, where he earned his B.S. in psychology Phi Beta Kappa and with highest honors. Matt obtained his Masters degree in psychology at the University of Georgia, where he focused his efforts on reconciling research on implications of White racial identity into a single coherent theory. Now a Ph.D. student in the Social/Personality Psychology program at Berkeley, Matt continues to research white identity as well as models of diversity, diversity training, and multicultural education. He has also provided statistical consulting to several organizations including the Food and Drug Administration.

Michelle Rheinschmidt

Michelle, originally from Wisconsin, earned her B.A. in psychology with honors from Northwestern University in 2007. She spent the following two years working as a research assistant and lab manager for theSocial Perception and Communication Lab (SPCL) at Northwestern, led by Professor Jennifer Richeson. Michelle began her graduate career at UC Berkeley in 2009, where she is currently a Ph.D. Candidate and Graduate Researcher in the Social/Personality Psychology Area. In the CDIR Lab, she works with Professor Plaut and their collaborator Kimberly Rios of the University of Chicago on a project exploring how efforts to foster diversity and inclusion are perceived by both minority and majority group members.



Jodi Treadway
Born and raised in Eastern Kentucky, Jodi took the scenic route into social psychology. She received her first B.A. in Anthropology at the University of Kentucky (2000, Magna cum Laude, with Honors in the Honors Program), with the intent to study archaeology, particularly symbolic and mythological analysis. After a summer in field school revealed she didn’t have the muscles for digging, she worked in the “real world” for a while before deciding she liked school better. She went back to the UK and received a psychology B.A., while throwing a sociology B.A. in for the fun of it (2005, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum Laude). She completed her M.A. in Social Science at the University of Chicago in a whirlwind nine months (2006). Her master’s thesis, under the advisement of Dr. Penny Visser, examined the relationship between political identity, attitudes, and intergroup relations. Currently, Jodi is looking at models of success among Appalachian college students, studying the effects of collectivism and individualism on benevolent sexist attitudes, and assisting with content analysis on a study of women in computer science. She is also a voracious reader, is always on the verge of getting back into dance, and continues to constantly observe and analyze the people, media, and world around her.


Visiting Scholars

Kaat Van Acker



Undergraduate Students


Carli Haasbroek
Ebere Arum
Emily Herl
John Knox
Josh Yeung
Kevin Pormir
Yi Liu
Stacey Zhong
Connie Chen
Rachelle Martinez
Minjae Seo
Naomi Fa-Kaji
Justine Plaut