Melissa Delgado

Personal Spotlight:

We asked scholars to describe some of the following questions: What drew you to do work on Latino youth and families? Who was an important mentor to you in this work? What tips do you have for someone starting out?

What drew me to work on Latino youth and families involves the convergence of key personal experiences during what I see as my formative years. Key example experiences include: trying to navigate the multilingual (e.g., Spanish, English, and Spanglish) and multicultural (e.g., Mexican, U.S., different levels of Mexican and U.S.) worlds of a border town as a teenager; the mismatch between my own experiences and those exemplified in college textbooks and in-class discussions; being in awe during my final undergraduate year that my white male professor (and first mentor on this path), Dr. Mark Roosa, not only had the ability to make me feel understood at a personal level but also in translating scientific gaps in such a way that made the field relevant to my life experiences; and being invited by Dr. Kimberly Updegraff (next mentor on this path) to have a voice and seat at the table as an undergraduate student in the early planning meetings of The Juntos Project.

For someone starting out in the field: a tip is to not take your experiences and connections for granted; be resourceful with yourself and those around you, you’re building your own custom and personal network.

Research Spotlight:

We invited scholars to describe a recent finding, current study, or recent publication and what makes them excited about it. 

An upcoming publication is a chapter in the Handbook of Children and Prejudice my co-authors Dr. Rajni Nair, Dr. Katharine Zeiders, doctoral student Samantha Jones, and I wrote on Latino adolescents’ experiences with ethnic discrimination. This work highlights what we know in terms of the ethnic discrimination experiences of Latino adolescents, specifically. In a review of the literature, we sought to provide clarity about the impact that different sources of ethnic discrimination (i.e., general, adult, peer) have upon Latino adolescent adjustment. Additionally, we aimed to synthesize the existing work on this population to help delineate the specific moderators and mediators that link ethnic discrimination to Latino adolescents’ adjustment. Our review of the literature identified key next steps on better addressing our understanding of the negative effects ethnic discrimination has on Latino youth adjustment, such as providing clear ethnic discrimination definitions at the outset of an investigation, a rationale for the type of discrimination being studied along with the intentionally selected measures, addressing specificity in testing moderating and mediating links, and exploring/examining different constellations of moderators and mediators together (e.g., moderated mediation).


Upcoming research presentations we should know about?

I’m excited to see my first set of University of Arizona students, Angela Cruze and Rayni Thomas, present this year at NLPA:


Cruze, A., Thomas, R., Rascon-Canales, M., Boyd, S., & Delgado, M. Y. (October, 2018). Latino Middle School Students’ Identity and School Belonging: Findings to Future Math and Science Careers. Poster presentation to be presented at the National Latina/o Psychological Association Conference, San Diego, CA.

Thomas, R., Delgado, M. Y., Wheeler, L. A., & Nair, R. L. (October, 2018). Latino Adolescents’ Coping as a Mediator between their Acculturative stress and School Belonging. Paper presentation to be presented at the National Latina/o Psychological Association Conference, San Diego, CA.

I will also be presenting for the first time at EARA:

Delgado, M. Y., Wheeler, L. A., Nair, R. L., & Perez-Brena, N. J. (September, 2018). Latina/o adolescents’ academic self-efficacy and math/science performance: Examining the indirect effects of mother/father modeling. Paper to be presented at the European Association for Research on Adolescence Conference, Ghent, Belgium.


Reflections on Latino Caucus Experiences

Finally, we asked about experiences with the SRCD Latino Caucus: Why is the caucus important and/or your views on the role of the Latino Caucus vis-à-vis SRCD, research on child development, policy/practice.

In my view, the Latino Caucus gives a voice to the much-needed new directions SRCD must take to best represent the multiple faces of the developing child in the U.S.



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