About Us

Lab Director

Maureen Craig is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at New York University. She completed her undergraduate studies at Purdue University and completed her doctoral studies at Northwestern University. Prior to joining NYU, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Psychology Department at Ohio State University.

Her primary research interests are in understanding the ways in which diversity and stigma may shape individuals’ relations with people from different social groups, basic social cognitive processes, and political beliefs (for a further description, please see her faculty page or the lab’s Research page). In her off time, she likes to run, hike, and watch live comedy.


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Affiliated Graduate Students

Riana Brown is a first year doctoral student working with Maureen Craig. She graduated with a BS in Psychology and International Studies from University of Miami in 2014. After that, she received a Fulbright Grant to study Psychology in The Netherlands and completed her MS in Social Psychology from the Vrije University Amsterdam, researching sexual prejudice. She is interested in studying the impact of stigmatized group membership and inequality (based on race, sexuality, gender, and income status) on policy preferences and behavior. In her free time she likes to bike around the city, practice yoga, and listen to comedy.


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Esther Burson is a third-year doctoral student in NYU Steinhardt’s Psychology and Social Intervention program. She worked for humanitarian and educational organizations in Estonia, Greece, and New York after graduating from Swarthmore College with majors in Psychology and Classical languages. Under the mentorship of Dr. Erin Godfrey, Esther researches sociopolitical development and relations among marginalized groups, exploring issues of intersectionality and youth critical consciousness. She also studies juvenile justice settings as a member of the RISC settings level evaluation project. In her spare time, Esther rides horses and bakes wedding and celebration cakes.
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Crystal Clarke is a fifth year doctoral student in NYU’s Social Psychology program. She graduated from Amherst College in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. Her research interests include studying stigmatized identities and how prejudice orchestrates intergroup relations. Her current line of research explores to what extent the police are perceived as a source of threat vs. safety and considers ethnic identity differences among African American and Black Immigrant youth.
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Pia Dietze moved to California after she finished high school in Germany. She received a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2011. She began her PhD at NYU in the Fall of 2013, working on topics related to social class, social status/power, politics and intergroup relations (primary advisor Eric Knowles). In her free time, she likes to swim, ride bikes, and eat black licorice.
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Shahrzad Goudarzi is a first-year doctoral student. She grew up in Tehran, Iran, and received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Broadly, Shahrzad is interested in the role of ideological beliefs in shaping perceptions of inequality and reactions to disadvantaged and stigmatized targets.
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Usman Liaquat is a first-year doctoral student in the social psychology program at NYU. He is working primarily with Maureen Craig in the Diversity and Social Processes Lab. Usman grew up in Pakistan, where he received his BSc (Hons) degree in the Social Sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences in 2011. He also earned his MA degree in psychology at NYU in 2015 as a Fulbright scholar. He has also had brief stints as a journalist and teaching fellow in Pakistan. Usman is interested in exploring the conditions under which high- and low- status members of stigmatized groups choose to cooperate rather than compete with one another. In his free time, he likes to experiment in the kitchen, hike and read fiction.
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Julian Rucker is a fourth year doctoral student at Yale University’s Social Psychology program. Before coming to Yale, Julian received a BA in Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin and received a MA in Psychology from Northwestern University. He is broadly interested in investigating the psychological factors shaping perceptions of, reactions to and motivations to address intergroup inequality across a number of societal domains. In his free time, he likes playing guitar and binging documentaries and college football.
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Tim Valshtein is a first year doctoral student in the social program at NYU. In 2014, he received a BA in Psychology with minors in Jewish Studies and Hebrew from Temple University. In 2016, he received an MA in Psychology from Wake Forest University, working with Cathy Seta and writing a thesis on regret as a self-regulatory system. At present, his research interests are diverse—including motivation, health, gender, stigma, and identity. Tim is also a freelance photographer and draws on his experiences behind the lens to inform his research.
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Lab Manager

Michelle Lee is the Lab Manager for the Diversity and Social Processes Lab. After graduating from NYU in 2012 with a B.A. in English & American Literature and working in publishing, Michelle’s interests in issues pertaining to diversity, prejudice, discrimination, and inequality inspired her to enroll in Columbia University’s post-baccalaureate psychology program. When she is not in lab, Michelle enjoys jamming to music, dance, running, and reading.


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Research Assistants

(From left to right) Paola Ponce is a rising junior majoring in psychology and is also on the pre-medicine track, hoping to pursue neuropsychiatry. She is curious about how minds work in relation to who we are, how mental illness and wellness arises, how we see ourselves in the grand scheme of society, and how that changes our opinions or dynamics with other groups of people.

Sabrina Mccoy is a senior majoring in psychology on a pre-med track. After graduation she hopes to get her masters in global public health and then proceed to go on to medical school. Her interests mainly lie in cognitive psychology and social psychology.

Casey Hoffman is a rising junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Child and Adolescence Mental Health Studies. She is interested in psychology because of her curiosity in why people are the way they are. Her potential specific areas of interest are social psychology and identity.


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