Andrea Romero, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Full Professor, University of Arizona
We asked scholars to describe some of the following questions: What drew you to do work on Latinx youth and families, or another topic that is important to you now? Who was an important mentor to you in this work, or was there a particularly influential study in the field or in a related field?
I grew up in a bicultural bilingual context in the southwest United States within a family that was so deeply rooted in the land of Northern New Mexico that the border had crossed us but did not change our ways of life for a very long time. My grandfathers told the ancestral family stories, and I further sought out these stories and history as an undergraduate and graduate student through Mexican American studies courses. I was very grateful for this family history and the classes on campus, because in my graduate training in Social Psychology I found that the research and interpretations of Latinx populations were essentialized, stereotyped, and deficit-based. This did not resonant with my personal and family experiences. However, as a graduate student trying to push back on published work, it was not easy to carve out new perspectives. Thus, what I found the most transformative for my own research and my ability to stay in graduate school was to seek out professional spaces for Chicanx and Latinx academics. Attending the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies conference showed me how to build between those worlds and how to use interdisciplinary approaches to create new academic and theoretical spaces that were more appropriate and accurate to work with Latinx populations. Additionally, meeting Dr. Patricia Arredondo through the American Psychological Association Division 45 for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race was a key point in my career development. Not only was she a positive supportive mentor over many years; but she also invited me to be part of a group to restart the National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA). Participating in leadership and engaging with the members of the NLPA sustained me during challenging moments in my career, it helped me create a social network of collegial peers who helped me publish, get grants, and supported me through tenure and promotions. Right now I am President of NLPA (www.nlpa.ws), our organization has grown exponentially and continues to nurture unique culturally-rooted and asset-based research and psychological clinical/counseling practice.
We invited scholars to describe a recent finding, current study, or recent publication and what makes them excited about it.
I am very appreciative of the opportunity to consult and work with Dr. Seth Schwartz and Dr. Jen Unger on their data and with their research teams. Through this collaboration, we have a recent publication that provided us the chance to use a cutting-edge data analytical approach, Random Intercept – Cross Lagged Panel Model to examine the direction of relationships between bicultural stress, depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and hopefulness over five waves with a sample of Latinx immigrant youth. Our findings demonstrate that relations between bicultural stress and psychological functioning are because of stable differences between individuals.
Romero, A., Piña-Watson, B., Stevens, A. K., Schwartz, S. J., Unger, J. B., Zamboanga, B. L., … & Baezconde-Garbanati, L. (2020). Disentangling relationships between bicultural stress and mental well-being among Latinx immigrant adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88(2), 149.
Any upcoming talks, presentations, or publications we should know about?
Keep an eye out in the next year for my forthcoming book from Routledge Press entitled:
- “Creating an Asset-Based Bicultural Continuum for Mexican Descent Students: Promesa por Promesa”
I am very excited to share the findings from several years of research in a low-income high immigrant Mexican descent community who built coalitions to address educational equities across the pre-k to 12 educational spectrum. They did this in a manner that was inclusive and comprehensive in the coalition approach to building on the foundation of cultural and language strengths and assets in a community that have been overlooked, underfunded, and lacking educational access for generations.
Reflections on Latinx Caucus Experiences
Finally, we asked about experiences with the SRCD Latinx Caucus: Why is the caucus important and/or your views on the role of the Latinx Caucus vis-à-vis SRCD, research on child development, policy/practice.
I believe the caucus and your participation in it is very important to bring to light issues of relevance for Latinx populations to the larger Society for Research on Child Development. There is a need for collective strength to bring voice to these issues on a national stage. Moreover, there is a need for unique perspectives that come from familiarity with the Latinx population to help identify and interpret pressing issues. I am impressed with the quality of theoretically driven work by these members; they have the potential to provide excellent leadership, mentorship and to advance the entire field of Child Development through the application of important empirical research findings that are grounded in appropriate and relevant theoretical and methodological approaches with Latinx populations.
Website: Dr. Romero’s Faculty page