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Teaching Adolesence

Emerging Scholar Spotlight: Jordan Booker

April 2019

Jordan A. Booker, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri. After completing his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech under the mentorship of Julie Dunsmore and Thomas Ollendick, Jordan went onto complete postdoctoral training with Robyn Fivush at Emory University. Jordan’s research interests address the development and implications of social and emotional adjustment, and he focuses on the rich transitions into early adolescence and out of late adolescence. His work primarily addresses emotion competence, identity development, and character traits during these developmental periods.

Jordan had an interest in pursuing a career in psychology upon entering college, but wasn’t sure how best to pursue those interests until becoming involved with research. He contributed first to a project on joint attention with children at-risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder and then to a project involving parent-child socialization among families seeking treatment for children’s Oppositional Defiant Disorder. From this point, Jordan became passionate about topics in development. As a doctoral scholar, he worked alongside Drs. Dunsmore and Ollendick on a collaborative project addressing emotion socialization in a clinical child context. Through this work, Jordan contributed to methods of coding family behaviors and served as lead author on manuscripts addressing the unique roles of child- and family-effects on responses to clinical interventions. Jordan complimented this work by expanding theoretical focus to the contributors of emotional competence across adolescence and integrating his research experiences to test brief emotion-focused interventions during the college transition. While a doctoral student at Virginia Tech, Jordan was funded by the Virginia Tech-Initiative to Maximize Student Development and the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Program: two initiatives that equip underrepresented scholars for successful careers in academia through professional training and community-building alongside financial support.

Following his doctoral training, Jordan reached out to Dr. Fivush for postdoctoral training and gaining expertise in research involving narratives, identity development, and autobiographical reasoning. They had the opportunity to work together for a multi-year project courtesy of NIGMS’s Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards, which was locally conducted by the Emory Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching Program. Working alongside Robyn, senior grad students from her lab, and colleagues across and beyond Emory, Jordan was able to contribute to multiple projects that broadened his research skillset and further solidified his foundation for pursuing a tenure-track position.

Now, Jordan’s Positive Youth Development Lab is focused on projects that address autobiographical reasoning, emotion competence, and identity development among adolescents and early adults. The lab stands out for incorporating multiple coding approaches (i.e., interpersonal behaviors; narrative identity themes) with a focus on ways emotion-rich life experiences are organized, filled with meaning, and shared with close partners, as well as the ways autobiographical meaning-making uniquely informs identity development and well-being. The lab’s biggest focus in the coming year will be addressing emotion- and identity-based socialization between mothers and early adolescents, and the unique longitudinal effects of socialization for well-being.

In thinking of possible advice for peers, one of the things that has always stood out has been the idea of reaching back to help others. It’s something that we all experience, as scholars and community members. It’s good to recognize the ways others have laid a foundation and given a helping hand to make opportunities available. Try to keep in mind some of the ways you can reach back or keep the door open for others as they’re working to better themselves. Your kindness and consideration can have a bigger impact than you may know in the moment.

Return to the emerging scholars page.

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