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Nabila J

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of Pittsburgh


Psychology-mental health and well-being. Examining developmental populations, and themes of race/racism, poverty, the family, school, and community contexts. Mindfulness and academic trajectories for kids and youth.


As a doctoral student with a focus on cognitive and developmental psychology, my career spans nearly a decade in both research and community engagement. My academic journey has allowed me to teach and mentor in various educational settings, nurturing my deep-seated interest in understanding mental processes and well-being. My work primarily revolves around how environmental factors such as family dynamics, educational institutions, and neighborhood contexts shape diverse outcomes ranging from mental and physical health to academic success and civic participation. My dedication extends to fostering the growth of children and teenagers, particularly within BIPOC and underserved communities. Hailing from California, my personal life is as diverse as my professional one. Although I used to have pet rats, they are no longer with me. Music is my sanctuary, and I often find solace in immersing myself in books and movies. I dabble in bass guitar playing, though it remains more of an aspiration than a practice. Fashion and jewelry are not just interests but passions, and I find joy in the thrill of thrifting. I'm also a fan of costumes and thematic dressing. Above all, the time spent with my family and community is what I cherish the most, as it brings a sense of togetherness and fulfillment to my life.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Exploring Psychological Outcomes & Emotional Intelligence

As a psychologist, specializing in children and their families development, I can help you formulate questions around children and families and related developmental outcomes. For example, one project idea may be to explore the psychological drivers of mental and physical health outcomes in youth of color and their families? I can offer you historical, sociological, and psychological expertise. You will learn how to conduct research through various levels, and identify research questions and hypotheses, and carry out research design and possible data collection and dissemination. Under my training you will gain experience in using this method for your interests. Potential student outcomes could be a scientific research paper and other psychological research-related questions. The following are project ideas as standalone items: Idea #1: Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement: Investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence and student achievement in high school. This paper can explore how emotional intelligence impacts learning outcomes, academic performance, and student behavior in an educational setting (Yusri, Kibtiyah, & Hamim, 2020).

School Environment & Well-Being

Idea #2: The Impact of School Environment on Student Well-Being: Analyze the role of the school environment in shaping student well-being and academic success. This study can focus on how relationships with peers, parents, and teachers contribute to students' psychological well-being and academic outcomes (Wijnia, 2021).

Stress Levels of High Schoolers

Idea #3: Stress Levels in High School Students and Their Impact on Learning: Examine the levels of stress among high school students and its effect on their academic and social outcomes. This research could explore the sources of stress, such as academic and environmental factors, and how they influence students' learning experiences and achievements (Yikealo, Tareke, & Karvinen, 2018).

Coding skills

I can code in Excel. I am stronger in SPSS and coding in their syntax, I can navigate R as I took a data science course for the social sciences.

Languages I know

Spanish, intermediate

Teaching experience

I have taught for over 8 years and mentored students for 10 years in both community and educational settings, including my role as a Psychology instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. My range of experience teaching and mentoring students extends in teaching developmental psychology to undergrads, mentoring research theses projects, overseeing students in other research projects, mentoring adolescents in the community to develop critical thinking about a socio-political issue they are passionate about in their communities. I've mentored over 15 students who have moved on to graduate degrees and higher professions. I have worked mentoring many different types of students and understand everyone has a range of knowledge and experiences. It’s important to meet students where they are at, and bolster their strengths to reach their highest potential as a learner.


Work experience

Pittsburgh YWCA non-profit (2022 - 2023)
Communuty Engagement Fellow


University of California Riverside (UCR)
BS Bachelor of Science (2014)
University of Pittsburgh
MS Master of Science (2016)
University of Pittsburgh
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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