Sapna Cheryan

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Sapna Cheryan
Graduate Dissertation Fellow 2006-07, Psychology

Sapna Cheryan is Assistant Professor at the University of Washington. She received her PhD from Stanford University. Her dissertation, entitled "Strategies of Belonging: Defending Threatened Identities,"  studies the behavior of individuals who deviate from others in their group in some important way. Her work looks at three groups in particular: Asian Americans (who do not resemble the archetypal White American); men whose strength has been challenged; and female engineers (who deviate from the stereotypical male engineer). Cheryan designed a range of experiments to reveal the psychological processes underlying identity threats. Her results demonstrate that, far from passively accepting these identity threats, individuals will actively re-assert a positive identity. Cheryan's work has implications for issues of diversity and inclusion.