You are here: Home / People / Staff


Stephanie A. Shields, Ph.D.

  • Director
  • Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies

Professor Shields’ research is at the intersection of emotion, gender, and feminist psychology. In the area of emotion she focuses on perceptions of others’ emotion regulation, and on the use of emotion representation (e.g., emotion language; expressive regulation) to assert or challenge status and power. In the area of gender she is particularly interested in intersectionality of social identities and how psychological research can be more responsive to this perspective. Dr. Shields also studies the social context of psychological research, especially the history of the psychology of women and gender, and women's participation in American psychology. Speaking from the Heart: Gender and the Social Meaning of Emotion (Cambridge, 2002), received the Association for Women in Psychology’s Distinguished Publication Award, as did her special issue of Sex Roles on intersectionality of social identities. She coordinates Penn State’s dual-title Ph.D. in Women’s Studies and Psychology. She has served as Director of Women’s Studies at Penn State and the University of California, Davis, and was founding director of the UC Davis Consortium for Research on Women and Gender. She is a past-president of the Society for the Psychology of Women, Division 35 of the American Psychological Association. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. In 2013 she received the Society for the Psychology of Women’s Carolyn W. Sherif Award, the society’s highest award which is given for research, mentoring, and service relevant to women.

Mathew Zawadzki, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor

Professor Zawadzki joined UC Merced in July of 2014. He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology and Women’s Studies from The Pennsylvania State University in 2012, and completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Biobehavioral Health at The Pennsylvania State University. During his time working with Dr. Stephanie Shields (advisor) his focus included examining the effects of labeling another person's emotions, particularly when emotion labeling will be perceived as positive or negative, when emotion labeling is likely to occur, and how to thwart the negative effects of emotion labeling. Matthew has served on the WAGES project as lead Research Assistant. Among other duties, this work has entailed conducting focus groups and WAGES sessions with a variety of participants ranging from undergraduate students to tenured professors to administrators. Along with Principal Investigator Dr. Stephanie Shields, Matthew has co-designed and administered two large-scale experimental studies to test the effectiveness of WAGES. The results of this work has been presented at a number of venues and conferences, including the biennial meeting for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues in which his poster won Honorable Mention for Best Poster Award. Furthermore, this work has led to five co-authored journal articles. Matthew received a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy at Iona College, and an M.A. in Quantitative Methods at Columbia University.

Terri Frasca

  • Ph.D Student in Psychology & Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Terri Frasca conducts research at the intersection of social psychology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. In particular, Terri studies the experiences of women in the workplace from an intersectional framework, also considering how identities such as race and sexual orientation change those experiences. In addition, Terri examines how apologies and being labeled as “emotional” affect perceptions of agency and competency, and if these relationships are gendered. Terri received her B.S. of Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Kaitlin McCormick-Huhn, Ph.D.

  • Graduate Assistant

Kaitlin McCormick-Huhn is a postdoctoral fellow in the Workplace Law Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Law. She earned a dual-title Ph.D. in Psychology (Social Psychology Area) and Women’s Studies from Penn State. In her research, she examines gender stereotyped judgments of emotion, proposes methods to infuse intersectionality into psychology, and develops interdisciplinary interventions to mitigate the effects of bias in workplaces and schools. For the WAGES project, she has evaluated effectiveness of WAGES-Academic with faculty and administrators over time and conducted focus groups with STEM faculty and graduate students. Dr. McCormick-Huhn developed WAGES-Business for the business workplace and is currently developing a WAGES intervention for the legal workplace.

Lizbeth Kim, Ph.D.

Lizbeth M. Kim received her dual-title PhD in social psychology and women's, gender, and sexuality studies from Penn State. Her research explores contemporary prejudice reduction strategies (including her collaborative involvement in WAGES-Business) with an emphasis on technology platforms and digitally-mediated intergroup contact. She is currently working in the tech industry conducting marketing/consumer insights research for various companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lizbeth received her B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and worked in user experience research prior to grad school.

Leah Warner, Ph.D.

Leah R. Warner, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Dr. Warner received her dual Ph.D. in Social Psychology and Women’s Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. Her interdisciplinary teaching addresses controversial social issues, working with students to address social inequality through constructive dialogue, social science methods, and activism. She received the 2019 Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Teaching Innovation Award for these efforts. Her scholarship concerns intersectionality, having written widely on the challenges and transformative potential of integrating intersectionality into psychological research. She also engages in the scholarship of pedagogy, which includes co-receiving an Association for Psychological Science Teaching Grant to develop WAGES-Classroom, a version of WAGES developed as a teaching demonstration for psychology courses. Finally, she has held numerous positions at her institution to promote diversity and inclusion, including Faculty Fellow for Equity and Diversity Programs.