Yaqiong Wang is currently a PhD student in positive developmental psychology. She is currently on the evaluation team for Project Grad Los Angeles (PGLA), a college readiness program that utilizes SEL to prepare minority youth to get ready for and persistent through college. What attracted her about the YD Eval lab was the inspiring work people are doing to bridge the gap between research and practice, the approaches taken from perspectives of both academic and real worlds, and a very supportive learning environment.
Yaqiong studied psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Iowa and worked in a research lab that studies parent-child relationship (attachment) and related child developmental outcomes. Yaqiong is interested in applied developmental research, especially in applying sound evidence-based approaches to promote positive youth development in the real world. Her specific interest is social and emotional learning (SEL), a growing field in both research and practice that focuses on developing youth’s social and emotional competencies (e.g., emotion regulation, growth mindset, and interpersonal effectiveness) and creating a positive learning environment. She has seen great need for adopting SEL that complements the current educational focus on academic achievement. She wishes to bring the knowledge, skills, and experiences she gained from CGU back to China and improve the social and emotional development, as well as psychological well-being, of Chinese youth.
To move forward, Yaqiong is interested in continuing to work on evaluation projects on positive youth development and hopes to gain experience with cultural competence in evaluation. She is also interested in research on SEL that can contribute to the understanding positive youth development in real-world contexts.