Dr. Taylor came to the Department of Child and Adolescent Development in 2004 after receiving her doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and completing an AERA/IES postdoctoral fellowship hosted at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.
Dr. Taylor's research interests lie in the general domain of the development of motivation and more specifically concern motivation for academic achievement among urban minority youth. Her research program examines social, cultural, and social-psychological influences on achievement motivation, and the identification of theory guided motivation-enhancing practices. Her commitment to studying achievement motivation patterns has resulted in two distinct programs of research. The first entails academic motivation and social skills enhancing interventions. This includes collaborative work on a theory driven intervention aimed at increasing prosocial skills and academic motivation among elementary school aged minority males labeled as aggressive. The second line of research, and the focus of her dissertation, investigates the role of values in understanding student academic achievement and motivation.
Dr. Taylor is currently examining how oppositional identity may moderate the interaction between students' gender and ethnicity and their value for academic achievement, achievement outcomes, and peer perceptions. In addition, she is qualitatively examining African American and Latino middle school students' concept of success - what they think it means to be successful among members of their ethnic group.