Kali Trzesniewski
I am an associate specialist in cooperative extension and the associate director of research for the statewide 4-H youth development program.  I received my PhD from the Department of Psychology at UC Davis in 2003, and have been back to UC Davis as a faculty member since 2010.  During my time away from Davis, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, England and at Stanford University.  After that, I was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario.

I study social-developmental psychology. In general, I am interested in understanding how personality and social factors influence a person’s developmental course from conception to death. I am interested in understanding how to raise children to grow up to be healthy, productive members of society; including, finding supportive relationships and having a family, supporting themselves and their family, and not bringing harm to others. As such, I am interested in the developmental origins, developmental course, and interrelations among self-esteem, achievement, and antisocial behavior.

I enjoy learning about different methods and statistical techniques and have used a wide range of research designs, such as 
cross-sectional, experimental, longitudinal, behavioral genetic, and the analysis of archival datasets. I also integrate a wide range of statistical procedures into my research program, such as multilevel modeling (including growth modeling), meta-analysis, quantitative genetics, and structural equation modeling.

Julia (Singleton) Ribeiro
I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Human Development Ph.D. program at Davis.  I received my B.A. in Psychology and Liberal Studies from Loyola Marymount University and my M.S. in Child Development from UC Davis. I am planning on completing my Ph.D. during the summer of 2018, during which I'll transition to focusing on teaching at California State University, Sacramento.

Generally,my research focuses on the development of mindset, a self-belief about how malleable an individual’s are. There are three main questions that drive my research: (1) what is mindset, (2) how does mindset develop, and (3) how should we intervene?  I have four major projects I am currently working on to answer these questions.  

In addition to my research, I am also passionate about working with students. I am in my 3rd year as a Graduate Writing Fellow, and through this position I advocate for writing support and work with other graduate students on their writing.  Please email me if you have any questions about me or my work.


Tenelle Porter
I am a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Kali Trzesniewski in the SELF lab. Before coming to Davis, I earned a Ph.D. in Developmental and Psychological Sciences at Stanford University working with advisers William Damon and Carol Dweck. I also have a Master’s degree in Evidence-based Social Intervention from the University of Oxford, and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Kansas.

My research examines ways to promote positive development across the lifespan, with particular focus on adolescence and emerging adulthood in school, career, and community contexts. My dissertation investigated the origins of intellectual humility and its consequences for learning in school and during disagreements. In complimentary lines of research, I have studied young people’s civic engagement, growth mindset, and youth entrepreneurship.

At Davis I will be working on a multi-site randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a growth mindset intervention (i.e., teaching students that they can grow and develop their intelligence) for improving middle school students’ motivation and achievement.


Diego Catalan

I am a third year graduate student in the Human Development PhD program at UC Davis. I completed my undergraduate training in Psychology in Chile and later received my Master’s degree in Human Development & Social Intervention from New York University.

My main interest is to understand the black box of school interventions that promote positive youth development. Specifically, I am studying how, when, and for whom growth mindset interventions work. In the lab, I am involved in the evaluation of two classroom-based growth mindset interventions; one in the US and one in Indonesia. 


Lab Alumni

Michelle Harris

Photo: Michelle HarrisI graduated from UC Davis with my PhD in Human Development in June 2017. Throughout my time in the SELF Lab, I conducted several projects aimed at understanding the emergence and development of global self-esteem. One study involved children between 5 and 13 years old who visited our lab with their parents to complete surveys and interviews. A primary focus of this study was to validate a new measure of global self-esteem that can be used across all ages of the lifespan (see Lifespan Self-Esteem scale; LSE). Other studies involved secondary data analysis of large, nationally representative data sets as well as international data bases in order to examine social and contextual predictors of self-esteem changes across adolescence. Finally, ongoing projects include a meta-analysis on longitudinal associations between relationships and global self-esteem, qualitative analysis of explanations for global self-esteem across the lifespan, and validation of four domain self-esteem scales.

I am currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Psychology. I work with Dr. Jennifer Beer in the Self-Regulation Lab applying experimental methods to understand the mechanisms of self-view formation in college students.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Lab Photo 2015-2016

Lab Photo 2014-2015