About Us

Jacqueline S. Mattis : Principal Investigator

Jacqueline S. Mattis

Principal Investigator

Jacqueline S. Mattis, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from New York University (NYU) and her M.A. and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan. Her work explores the meanings, manifestations, and functions of religiosity and spirituality among African American and Afri-Caribbean youth and adults—particularly urban-residing youth and adults. Of particular concern is the link between religiosity, spirituality and positive psychological as well as prosocial outcomes among African American and Afri-Caribbean youth and adults. In this line of work she investigates the ways in which people conceive of God, how they express religious and spiritual commitment, and how they use their faith to guide decisions and behaviors. She examines the extent to which, and ways in which, various domains of religiosity and spirituality (e.g., people’s self-definition as religious and or spiritual, involvement in formal and public aspects of religious life) inform such positive outcomes as forgiveness, empathy, compassion, altruism, volunteerism, and community involvement among those who live with the challenges associated with urban life. She is the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award (NYU), and of the Positive Psychology Young Scholars Award from the Templeton Foundation. She has served on the Editorial boards of Spirituality and Psychology and of the Psychology of Women Quarterly.


Jeremy Jagers : Project Co-ordinator/Lab Manager

Jeremy Jagers

Project Co-ordinator/Lab Manager

Jeremy Jagers, a native of Chicago, Illinois, is a recent graduate of Michigan State University where he earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Health and Society. His research interests include healthcare disparities by race and socioeconomic status, collective bargaining, increasing access to healthcare for underserved and marginalized populations, community-based participatory research, healthcare reform, health education, community health.


Kayla Fike :

Kayla Fike

Kayla Fike is a doctoral candidate in the joint doctoral program Psychology and Women's Studies. Her research focuses on Black and Latinx youths’ experiences in urban neighborhoods, social communities, and schools with a special interest in positive and prosocial experiences. She examines racism, sexism, and classism as they show up in young people's lives, and the ways that youth are socialized to thrive in spite of deterministic risk narratives. She is committed to breaking down the divide between academia and minoritized communities by developing community-university partnerships and using participatory action methodology.


Christina Morton :

Christina Morton

Christina is a proud native of Detroit, Michigan and a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education. Shortly after earning her Bachelor’s in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan, she served as an Academic Success Coach at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte, North Carolina. At JCSU, Christina worked primarily with underrepresented minorities in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). It was Christina’s personal and professional experiences that inspired her interests in the educational journeys of underrepresented students in STEM fields. After obtaining her Master’s in Higher Education at North Carolina State University, Christina returned to the University of Michigan to pursue her doctorate in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education. Presently, Christina’s research interests concern the role of spirituality in the lives of Black students within STEM disciplines.


Meredith Hope-Laboratory Affiliate :

Meredith Hope-Laboratory Affiliate

Meredith Hope, Ph.D. is the Paul B. Cornely Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Research for Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH) at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She received a Ph.D. in educational psychology and a M.A. in developmental psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as well as a B.A. from The Writing Seminars and Psychological & Brain Sciences from the Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Hope’s research explores the positive long-term outcomes for at-risk and/or minority-group youth and emerging adults. Two lines of scholarly inquiry guide her work: 1) creating in-depth understanding of psychosocial characteristics of extra-scholastic contexts where adolescent development occurs, and 2) examining aspects of these contexts that may function as assets and protective factors for within those environments. Spanning topics in psychology, education, social work, and public health, her work has significant implications for addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion for youth and emerging adults, especially those from marginalized groups.

As a part of the Mattis Lab team, Dr. Hope will examine how extra-scholastic environments, such as religious communities, may provide protective resources associated with positive health outcomes for African American and Caribbean Black youth.

To reach out to Dr. Hope regarding research collaboration or speaking engagements, please contact her here.

Gordon Palmer :

Gordon Palmer

Gordon Palmer earned his B.A. in Religion and International Studies from Baylor University, and M.S. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Miami University of Ohio. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education in the School of Education (SOE) at the University of Michigan. His research centers on sociopolitical development and critical consciousness, spirituality, and prosocial development among Black emerging adults. He has a particular interest in the sociopolitical development of and prosociality among Black immigrants from the Caribbean and among Black men in the African diaspora.


Kelsie Thorne-Laboratory Affiliate :

Kelsie Thorne-Laboratory Affiliate

Kelsie M. Thorne is a doctoral student in the Personality and Social Contexts area in the Department of Psychology. Her research focuses primarily on Black women's spirituality, their relationships with their natural hair, and experiences in the workplace, as well as how these impact positive psychological outcomes. Her current research examines perceptions of Black women in the workplace as a function of natural hair.


Casta Guillaume :

Casta Guillaume

Casta Guillaume is a Ph.D. candidate in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology (CPEP) at the University of Michigan. She earned both an M.S.Ed  in Community and Social Change and a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Secondary Education from the University of Miami. Over the years, she has partnered with a number of community based programs that deliver out of school programming focused on increasing youths'  capacity to address social change. Her research broadly focuses on the sociopolitical development of Black youth and youth of color, particularly youth of color from immigrant families. Of particular interest are the social and relational factors that influence youths’ sociopolitical awareness and knowledge, and that motivate them to become active agents in social change in their communities. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, she worked as an Associate Site Director at a non-profit program that focused on out of school educational programming for youth of color.


Janelle Goodwill :

Janelle Goodwill

Janelle R. Goodwill is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in Social Work and Psychology at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses primarily on Black men's experiences with mental health, with specific interest in studying issues related to suicide, depression, and spirituality. In exploring these topics, Janelle plans to conduct intervention and prevention research among underserved populations and communities of color. Janelle is a recipient of the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship and the Active Minds Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Janelle earned her MSW and MS degrees from the University of Michigan. She currently serves as a project manager for the Young Black Men, Masculinities, and Mental Health (YBMen) Project, a Facebook-based intervention that addresses the unique mental health needs of Black college men.