In memoriam: Jenessa Shapiro, 38, expert on the threat of stereotypes, discrimination and prejudice


Jenessa Shapiro, an associate professor with appointments in the Department of Psychology and UCLA Anderson School of Management, and an expert on the threat of stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice, died on December 6 of a long illness. She was 38 years old.

Shapiro was an award-winning expert on the threat of stereotypes and prejudices in intergroup relations and she had a reputation for being a rigorous and creative researcher. She has sought to understand prejudice and discrimination from the perspective of those who hold it as well as those they target. It was not an easy job, as she often conducted research with hard-to-recruit populations, including women in traditionally male-dominated fields and underserved minority populations.

His job was to theorize and then test the notion that the stereotypical threat is a six-dimensional phenomenon as opposed to a single construct – a well-established area of ​​research in psychology that has brought Shapiro’s work to the fore. In his studies of stereotypes in group interactions, Shapiro linked them to modern types of discrimination while developing effective anti-stereotyping interventions that took into account the type of threat. Her third area of ​​research focused on discrimination in organizational contexts.

Her colleagues described her as optimistic and serious, and a very hard worker. Shapiro was admired by her fellow faculty members for her ability to get to the heart of an idea and for the way she could identify the essential elements of a search query.

“Jenessa was an exceptional and impactful scholar and a dedicated and award-winning teacher and mentor,” said Al Osborne, Acting Dean of UCLA Anderson. “But even though her work was exceptional, she is also remembered for the dazzling smile that revealed her upbeat personality, for her commitment to diversity, for using her work for the benefit of others and for the strength, tenacity and the extraordinary character she displayed throughout her battle with cancer. “

Shapiro joined UCLA faculty in 2008 as an assistant professor of psychology. In 2011, she joined the faculty at UCLA Anderson on a shared appointment. In 2018, she was appointed to the UCLA Anderson Term in Management Chair, an endowed chair.

Shapiro’s work has demonstrated his commitment to diversity. She was a champion of the role of women in STEM fields, and the graduate students she mentored and worked with came from a variety of backgrounds. Shapiro oversaw a research lab that included a diverse group of undergraduates. She has been a faculty mentor for students participating in the Psychology Research Opportunities Program as well as UCLA’s Summer Undergraduate Research Programs. Much of her professional and academic service was related to diversity issues, including co-chairing UCLA Anderson’s Riordan Programs and the Anderson Faculty Gender Climate Working Group. Shapiro also hosted a conference through the UCLA Center for Women’s Studies on the threat of stereotypes.

His academic accolades included the Eric and E Juline Award for Excellence in Research from UCLA Anderson’s Faculty, a SAGE Young Scholars Award, the “Top 40 Professors Under 40” from Poets and Quants, the Teaching Award. Anderson’s Neidorf “Decade” and a Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Award for the best article on intergroup relations. Its undergraduate alma mater, Rice University, annually awards the Jenessa Shapiro Prize for the best undergraduate thesis in psychology. Shapiro has received more than a dozen research grants. She received her doctorate in 2008 from Arizona State University.

Shapiro is survived by her husband, Noah Goldstein, Professor of Management at UCLA Anderson and Bing and Alice Liu Yang Endowed Term Chair in Teaching Excellence.


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