Sa-kiera T. J. Hudson, PhD

59: Sa-kiera Tiarra Jolynn Hudson, PhD – A “must listen to” podcast as “Kiera”, Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley Hass, Reflects on her Journey, and Offers Insightful Advice

Are you considering a career in the field of psychology but don’t know where to start or what questions to ask? Perhaps you are a high school, undergraduate, or graduate student who is looking for insightful and practical advice regarding your academic and professional career path in psychology. In this podcast, Sa-kiera “Kiera” Hudson, PhD, reflects on her journey and transition from undergraduate student to graduate student to postdoctoral fellow to Assistant Professor at University of California Berkely Hass School of Business in the Management of Organizations (MORS) group. Throughout our lively and candid discussion, Dr. Hudson shares practical and insightful advice for those interested in advancing their educational and professional careers in the field of psychology. Add this to your “must listen to” podcast list as Kiera provides an honest and transparent view into her personal, academic, and professional journey and offers impactful advice on a variety of topics.

Sa-kiera “Kiera” Tiarra Jolynn Hudson is a first-generation college student who matriculated at Harvard before switching over to Williams College in Massachusetts, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Psychology. When she attended Williams, she originally wanted to be a biology and STEM major as she thought it was important to do STEM as a Black woman. Kiera thought “psychology was what people did when they couldn’t hack it in the sciences” so when she needed to take a fourth course in her sophomore year, she thought “let me go take this easy psych class that everyone is talking about.” She recalls, “I was floored. I fell in love with psychology because it was the study of social issues using the scientific method. And that blew my mind, it just, it truly, truly did.” She discusses how her introduction to psychology class was taught in a unique way (i.e., it was taught by 5 different professors each in their own discipline).

Kiera then attends Harvard University and explains the process related to searching for graduate schools and programs in the field of psychology and why she ultimately chose Harvard for her doctorate in Social Psychology. She recalls, “one thing I had to remember when it comes to picking graduate programs that is different than undergrad, and part of that is, when you’re picking a program for graduate school it’s really about the fit with your advisor.” During our discussion, Kiera opens her Google spreadsheet and shares the exact details regarding how many graduate programs she applied to, how many interviews, and some other factors she considered when making her final decision on where to attend for her doctorate.

When considering all of the graduate programs and universities in psychology, Dr. Hudson suggests that “you’re not going to get everything from one person and you’re actually not going to get everything you need from one place, and I don’t think you should.” She then discusses the pros and cons of having older, tenured professors as advisors versus having younger, pre-tenured professors and how having both can be beneficial.

When asked how she found herself in the area of social psychology versus other areas or branches of psychology, she states, “Great question. So, I honestly believe that a lot of these fields of psychology are blending…and, to me, it always comes down to methods, theories, and frames of reference. So, there might just be certain things that you’re really drawn to do.” She also shares her thoughts on the qualities and skills that psychology students should have if they want to work in the field including the ability to “abstract up” and “be a critical but constructive thinker” and to learn the foundational theories in any particular field as these will help you build your “collective wall of knowledge” and help you talk with many different people in the field. In her case, Dr. Hudson shares that having this knowledge helped her stand out and she was able to engage with almost anyone’s research.

Dr. Hudson talks about the tenure process and the adjustments associated with transitioning from a graduate student to Assistant Professor. She also discusses a program called Institute for Recruitment of Teacher (IRT), a program that helps minority scholars get into either K-12 programs or PhD programs by providing guidance and support through the graduate school application process and advocating for additional funding for advanced study. IRT offers a summer program or a year-long program.

Kiera is unique in many ways. For example, she created a planner called the LOT Planner (Life on Track Planner) when she was in graduate school because none of the existing planners had everything she needed as a graduate student. The LOT Planner is now making a comeback as more and more people are interested in using it because it is made for academics and uses a sticky note system. Kiera is also unique in that she doesn’t drive; she hasn’t needed to, until now. California is not as interconnected as the East Coast. Luckily, she was going to have her first driving lesson the day after our podcast discussion and will eventually take her driver’s test. Kiera is also unique because she has two middle names. She is proud to share her full name Sa-kiera Tiarra Jolynn Hudson because her favorite middle name is her second middle name as it is a combination of her grandparent’s names. You can find out more around the 1-hour mark in the podcast.

Dr. Hudson’s final advice for those interested in the field of social psychology? She states, “Advice? It’s, honestly, remember that a lot of great ideas started out from observation and life experiences. Me-search is actually how all research happens. Don’t let anybody tell you any differently. And so, to really like lean on your unique experiences because there’s a reason why I think psychology is having an explosion of intersectional work. There are more scholars for which intersectionality comes up naturally. I don’t think that’s, you know, a coincidence. And so, thinking of that, people who might think, ‘oh, I don’t belong here’ (a) you absolutely do and (b) we actually need you because these research ideas that you are going to naturally come up with are going to intersect with existing theories in really cool and fun ways and that is how the field is going to move forward.”

Connect with Dr. Sa-Kiera Hudson: LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
Connect with the Show: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Interests and Specializations

Dr. Hudson has multiple lines of research. Dr. Hudson studies hierarchies: How hierarchies are formed, maintained, and how they intersect. She also examines stereotyping as a mechanism of hierarchy maintenance. She examines the nature of descriptive and prescriptive stereotypes at the intersections of multiple social identities.


Bachelor of Arts (BA), Biology and Psychology (2011); Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Social Psychology (2020); Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Other Sources and Links of Interest

Dr. Sa-kiera Hudson: Google Scholar
Dr. Sa-kiera Hudson: Sidanius Lab (Harvard)

Podcast Transcript

00:14 Bradley
Welcome to the Master’s in Psychology Podcast, where psychology students can learn from psychologists, educators, and practitioners to better understand what they do, how they got there, and hear the advice they have for those interested in getting a graduate degree in psychology. I’m your host, Brad Schumacher, and today we welcome Dr. Shakira Hudson to the show. Dr. Hudson is an Assistant Professor at University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business in the Management of Organizations Group. She completed her doctorate in social psychology from Harvard University and she was an NSF postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Yale University. Today, we will learn more about her academic and professional journey, more about her role as Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley, and hear her advice for those interested in the field of social psychology. Dr. Hudson, welcome to our podcast.

01:07 Kiera
Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here.

01:10 Bradley
Well, I’m glad that you took the time out of your schedule to talk with us. I’m really excited. One of the fun things for me is doing the research on all my guests and you have a a very, very interesting and a varied background as well. And so, I wanted to start off. Usually, we talk about your undergrad and then your graduate, and then what you’re doing now. So, I see that you received your bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology at Williams College. First of all, tell us more about your undergraduate experiences and what first sparked your interest in psychology.

01:44 Kiera
So I went to Williams College, which is a small liberal arts College in Massachusetts. I honestly didn’t know anything about undergrad. So, I’m first Gen. and I ended up going to Williams because there was somebody in the admissions office who was from the Albany area, so upstate New York and found me. And she’s like, hey, how about you check out Williams? And so that is how I ended up visiting Williams. I fell in love with it. I was actually supposed to go start my undergrad at Harvard. I actually matriculated at Harvard before switching over to Williams, so we can talk about the differences between a SLAC and R1 if you want to. But when I came into Williams, I knew I wanted to be a biology major. I took essentially three years of biology in high school and middle school. And so, I wanted to be a STEM major. And as a black woman, it was important for me to do STEM, and so I also thought psychology was what people did when they couldn’t hack it in the sciences. So, I was like, no, psychology is for those who are not very good at science. And so, sophomore spring, I needed to take a fourth course. I was like, yeah, let me go take this easy psych class that everyone is talking about. And I was floored. I fell in love with psychology because it was the study of social issues using the scientific method. And that blew my mind it just, it truly, truly did. At the time that I was studying this organism called tetrahymena thermophila that I couldn’t see. I was pipetting things in the lab by myself. I’m like, this is not very interesting, but this whole psychology thing is. And my intro to psychology was taught in a, perhaps a unique way. It was taught by 5 professors each in their own discipline. So, you know, the professor who was the cognitive psychologist taught the cognitive classes, and the neuroscientist taught the neuroscience classes. So, we were taught by people who were really passionate about the material that they were engaging with making everything really engaging and our labs that we had to do, we replicated famous experiments. So, in the cognitive site psych we replicated the Stroop task and we had to write about it in the social psych class we did the I forget the name of the effect, but it’s the expert effect that you know that’s why what’s his name? Who used to do jeopardy? That’s why he seems so smart. But he had all the answers. So, it was smart. So anyway, so that’s how I got started in psychology. I was torn between cognitive and social. And over time, I realized that all the questions that I was asking in other disciplines that weren’t social always brought social into play. So, it was cognitive stuff we learned about the the psychology of learning. And I kept asking, wait does this differ by race? Does this differ by socioeconomic status, which are very social questions? And so that’s when I realized I wanted to be in social psychology. I did a thesis. I had a thesis lined up a biology switch it over to psych and I did a summer program at actually at UC Berkeley. So, UC Berkeley is a the birth of my my psych interest. But that was my time in undergrad in terms of psychology.

05:01 Bradley
That’s a nice summary, and it’s Alex Trebek is who you were trying to think of and…

05:06 Kiera
Thank you. Got nothing.

05:07 Bradley
And that expert bias comes into play. And I’m glad that you you were blown away because a lot of people, whenever they think of psychology, what do they think of? They think of somebody lying down on a bed talking to a psychologist, and it’s more than just that you’re actually incorporating the scientific method. And to validate your results and a lot of people think, well if it’s not validated then it’s not good science. Well, it’s actually good if you validate or not validate because it opens up the doors for other areas of study. So, it’s it’s fun that you kind of give us that recap. You then attended Harvard University for your doctorate. You earn your PhD, as I mentioned, in social psychology. There are many other Massachusetts graduate psychology colleges, so what drew you to Harvard?

05:51 Kiera
Ooh, drew me to Harvard? So, one thing I had to remember when it comes to picking graduate programs that is different than undergrad, and part of that is, when you’re picking a program for graduate school it’s really about the fit with your advisor, and so I wanted to study the like the psychology of identities as social hierarchies, which meant that I could work with people who study power and hierarchy. I could work with people who studied intergroup relations, but my job was to try to combine, combine both of them. And so, the place that I actually really wanted to go to, again, ironically, was to work with Keltner. Professor Keltner at UC Berkeley, who studied power, but he changed his research interests to study all. And so, I was like, well, guess I’m not gonna go there. And so, of all the people I could work with, Dr. Jim Sidanius, who passed away two years ago. But he was one of the only people who studied what I wanted to study. So, his theory, social dominance theory, combined this idea of power and hierarchy with intergroup relations, and that’s what I wanted to do. And so, he was honestly the best fit for me. But it also came down to if we’re going to be super transparent, it’s also about resources. So, I. I applied to 12. No, I applied to 18 PhD programs. I got interviews at 12. I declined for interviews because I actually didn’t have the time to go on all of them. So, I interviewed at 8 places, got into all eight, and then on 9th accepted me without having to interview. So, I had nine places that I could have could have gone to and Harvard, gave me some of the most money and gave me some of the best resources. And it also has name recognition and as somebody who does not necessarily know all the ins and outs of academia, I felt like if I went to a place like that, some of these things would resolve itself for me because I don’t have to necessarily know some people. I might get some opportunities just because I went to Harvard. So, it was simultaneously the fact that my grad advisor was one of the better fits for me in terms of my research interest, but also Harvard has a lot of resources and and and money, honestly, and that that also mattered to me. Also, I can’t drive, so I still don’t know how to drive. I know it’s terrible. I’m almost 35, don’t know how to drive and I could get around Boston just fine without a car.

08:29 Bradley
Well, all of those factors come into play and and a lot of our audience members think about that. You know, do I want to be close to home? Do I want to be far away? Do I want to have a car? Do I, you know? Is it is it? Is it a right fit for me in my, you know, areas of study? So, I know you mentioned Dr. Jim Sidonis?

08:49 Kiera

08:50 Bradley
Sidanius, thank you. You also completed your PhD under the guidance of two other Drs., Dr. Mahzarin Banaji and Dr. Mina Cikara. Is that correct?

09:00 Kiera

09:02 Bradley
Cikara. Thank you. And so, I I know name recognition for the school, but also name recognition for the people that are going to be your advisors also comes into play. So, everybody questions how do I decide on which way where to go, which program and a lot of times it comes down to what’s the area of study, what do you want to do after you graduate, who is in the field, who is an expert in that area of study, and then all these other factors come into play. Do you have funding? You know, do you have all these, all these resources available and the support that you need when you’re at that school? Any other thoughts or ideas or advice for people who are kind of going through that process right now of deciding, hey, I know that I want to go to psychology. I want to go to a psychology program. I’m just not sure which program or school to attend. Any other advice for them?

09:55 Kiera
Yes, so one uh, you know you mentioned my other advisors and they’re all phenomenal, but they also covered each other’s weaknesses. So, one important thing is that you’re not going to get everything from one person and you’re actually not going to get everything you need from one place, and I don’t think you should. And so, thinking about the program and the institution holistically might help you figure out where you can thrive by sort of putting different things together. So, two of my advisors, Jim and Mazarin, are older like they are senior people, and so they have their own pros and cons. But Mina was pre tenure and so thinking about, you know, the older faculty being perhaps a little slower because they’re really grappling with big, deep questions and they’re not in any hurry because they’re already full professors. Mina wanted to get tenure, so she met with me much more frequently, was in, like the nitty gritty with me. And so, if I had only one. And I would, you know, have some pros, but still some cons. But bridging these two or these three advisors together meant I got the best of all worlds. Part of the reason why I also chose Boston is because I think Boston has something like 70 colleges and universities in the Greater Boston area. It’s a really large concentration of scholars, and so I spent a good chunk of my time actually at Tufts in their psych department because they were much more focused on the intergroup relations aspect that I got a little bit at Harvard, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. And so, I spent a ton of time there. I spent a ton of time at the Harvard Kennedy School because they gave me that, like practical aspect of my work that I really wanted. So, I study intersectionality as well, and the psych department there wasn’t really anyone studying that. But when I went to the Kennedy School, several people were like, yes, intersectionality is such a hot topic. Let’s talk about it. And so, if I were only thinking about what the Harvard psych department could get me, I might feel like maybe this is not the best fit for me because it doesn’t have these things, but there are easily accessible ways that I could get the things that the Harvard Psych Department wasn’t very strong in. And then holistically, I have a really strong package to support me in doing the work that I wanted to do. So just remembering that you’re not actually going to get everything from one person in one place and you shouldn’t think that way and sort of, sort of, create the experience that you want. You have a lot more agency in Graduate School than I think people believe.

12:25 Bradley
That’s a very good reminder because you when I went through Graduate School, I just looked at the school and my advisor. I didn’t really look at the other people. The other experts in their field, just like you mentioned. You’re intro the psych, what a great approach. Having experts in each of the different branches or fields of psychology and that kind of brings up my next question here. Many people wonder, how do you decide which branch or field of psychology you are interested in? Or does it kind of, based on your interest, you find yourself in that area? So, talk to me, how did you decide or find yourself in the area of social psychology?

13:05 Kiera
Great question. So, I honestly believe that a lot of these fields of psychology are blending. You know, they they’re merging together to to say are you, am I a developmental psychologist and am I a social developmental psychologist. And am I a cognitive developmental like, where do you get these these different, uhm, you know how, how do you figure that out? And, to me, it always comes down to methods, theories and frames of reference. So, there might just be certain things that you’re really drawn to do. I love interviewing. That’s not true for me, but let’s just say I love doing qualitative work. There are certain fields that are stronger in qualitative methods than others, and so if that’s the thing that you’re drawn to, that might be a way of narrowing down your your fields. I love doing experiments, so that’s true of Kiera. Kiera loves doing experiments and so thinking about the types of experiments that I love to do. If I was a neuroscientist, you can do some experiments, but you’re only gonna have like 5 subjects because of how expensive each one of them are. And that’s just not the way that my my brain works. Also thinking about what are the types of questions that get you going and learning to abstract up. So, in general, if there’s any like one skill that I wish everyone could practice is the ability to abstract up. So, when I was asking what gets me going, why do I like this paper? What are the ways that I want to extend this paper? I realize they’re all social questions. Yes, I actually do like developmental work, and I even have some developmental papers. But those developmental papers always take a social approach. It’s how does race impact this? How do children come to understand race? That was my my graduate NSF proposal, which is how do children learn social hierarchies? So yes, that could be a developmental question, but I realized I’m not really interested in the developmental question for development’s sake, I’m interested in it from a more social identity perspective. And so, I think understanding the different methods in each of these fields like what are the main methods, what methods sort of you know, appeal to you and what are the broad questions that get you going will, at least, help you narrow it down from the 20 different fields to probably about four, three or four. And then from there it’s about finding advisors that give you the best, the best angle. So, could I have been a very happy, probably cognitive psychology? Probably, but that actually wouldn’t be as good of a fit for me than if I went to sociology, because the types of questions that I want to ask are much more social in nature. So, if I had to pick another field, I probably would be a sociologist that does, that does experiments rather than any other discipline of psychology.

15:55 Bradley
Well, thank you for that answer. And if you look at Google Scholar, you’ll look at some of your research studies and especially even the ones from last year and this year, they all are dealing with that social aspect of psychology as well. And looking at that intersection and we’re going to talk about that a little bit later as well. You mentioned one of the key, uhm, probably skills that you would recommend somebody acquire or develop is that abstract up. Are there any other qualities or skills that you believe are important for psychology students to aspire to if they do want to work in the field of social psychology?

16:34 Kiera
I would say it’s just the ability to be a critical but constructive thinker. I think when we’re in classes, you know, it tends to be pick apart this article. How, you know, all the ways that this article failed versus what all the ways this article did a good thing or you know actually advanced the field or what would you do better? You know, sometimes people will say. Well, what about race? And then I, you know, my students will say that, and I’ll ask them back. Well, what about race? And what they’ve learned is race probably matters, but not the why. And so, you know, thinking about how to be constructive, the best way to do that is I think, to learn the foundational theories in any particular field, because when you know the foundational theories, you are able to figure out (a) there are like modes of thinking that sort of underlie all these different you know, these different bricks in a particular field that are adding up to our collective wall of knowledge. Uhm, but then you’re able better able to understand the holes, better able to understand where you want to intervene and also better able to have conversations with people. And so, I think when I interviewed for grad school, I mean, I don’t know if this is true, but you know, I I did pretty well on on the grad market. And I think one of the things that helped me stand out is that I was able to engage with almost anybody’s research. Hierarchy is pretty broad, so that also helped me. But in general, if someone would have talked to me about, you know, they study close relationships, I’m like, yeah, how does you know, different cultures impact how well you can form a close relationship, How does intimacy change that? And so, I was able to have a conversation with somebody about their work because I I had a grounding where I was that allowed me to reach out and form connections with other other people, and that’s what I think academia is all about. It’s about creating new knowledge, finding new, you know, intersections and the the more grounded you are in your intersection, the easier it is, I think to to form other other connections. And I don’t think that that’s a skill that we explicitly tell people to practice. It’s get research experience. And I’m like, that’s really important. But why are you getting that research experience? What research experience will actually propel you to help you be successful in grad school? I think this like abstract synthesis analysis bit is is really important and so I try to have my RA’s do this so every RA who’s ever worked with me has to do some sort of literature search, but then it’s like you do this literature search. That’s great. Now you’re going to write a literature review and what I’m going to ask you to do is to find the holes. Now you gotta put these things together. You got all these papers. How do they relate to one another? And sometimes they’re like, well, they relate. Here’s this group. And here’s that group. And I’m like, OK, great, organize them in a different way. And they’re like, wait, what do you mean, organize in a different way? It’s like, yes, you organize them with stereotypes and attitudes. But now you can also organize them by subgroups. You can also organize them by country. You can also you know. And so, thinking of this, this flexible way of taking the same knowledge and recombining them, practicing that I think is one way to sort of get at this abstract synthesis bit that I think is really important.

19:46 Bradley
Literature review and when I was going through meta-analysis and looking at the meta research and combining all of it and as you said, finding the holes or finding an area or niche that nobody has uncovered yet is very beneficial as well because you could create that niche for yourself and become the expert in that niche as well so. I know you already gave us a good summary of how many schools you applied to. In hindsight, would you do anything different in terms of the process related to searching for graduate schools and programs? Or would you do anything different during those interviews?

20:27 Kiera
Great question. So, I there’s one thing I would I would hear differently, so I almost didn’t go into academia. And part of that was because I did this program called Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, which is a I don’t know if you’ve heard of this program, but it’s a phenomenal program that helps minority scholars get into either K through 12 programs or PhD programs, and so I forget how I found out about IRT. But I got into they have a summer program and then they have sort of like a yearlong program. If you do the summer program, you get into the yearlong program but not in the like vice versa. So, I did the summer program, and they had a admissions fair where they brought in admissions officers from the PhD programs from different schools and their consortium to come. Oh, I should say that if you do the summer program you get GRE help which was great. Uh, they also help read over all your application materials. They give you feedback and the fees to apply to the consortium schools are free, and so that was a big that’s a really big, big, big thing. And that’s true if you do the broader program or the and or the summer program. So, I did IRT the the the year the year after I graduated, yes, I art yes. Uh no, wait, no. Wait, it’s in Andover. You have to. If you click the program website, you’ll actually go to the actual website. This is probably yeah.

21:54 Bradley
There you go.

21:57 Kiera
Showcasing the opportunity, yes. So, this is this is IRT, absolutely phenomenal phenomenal program. And so, I did IRT during the summer after my senior year. So, I graduated, did IRT. I had a plan to take a year off and apply the fall after my senior year and go into grad school. And so, I remember going to the admissions fair and I was really excited because it was this person from Stanford. Stanford was my number one school, really pumped, and the admissions officer and I don’t think he meant to be so dismissive. But what he was waiting for me because my thesis advisor went to Stanford for her PhD. So, he he was kind of waiting for me and then he looked at my CV. And completely trashed it. He’s like, why didn’t you work with Steve Fine at Williams, and I was like, well, I didn’t work with him. I just. I just was it wasn’t something I did. And he’s like. Yeah, you’re not ready for grad school like this is just not, not for you. And I was devastated, and I dropped out of the program, so I dropped out of the program based on one person’s advice, not even advice. You know, again, he was very dismissive of me and I at that point I was aimless. I was living in Virginia. I was working at Macy’s, selling fine jewelry for less than part time. And I had no direction. I had no idea what I was doing because my whole plan was completely derailed. And so, I happened to apply to some lab manager positions and I I didn’t get to the one at Berkeley. I got to the final round to work with Dana Carney at Berkeley. Hope you’re seeing a theme that Berkeley has rejected me multiple times.

23:34 Bradley
Right, right.

23:34 Kiera
Anyway, but now now. I’m there. So, it’s all good, but. I ended up working at UCLA with a phenomenal woman named Jenessa Shapiro, who also passed away from breast cancer and she told me she was like you’re, I would have admitted you like you were absolutely ready to go to grad school. Like what are you talking about? And I believe her for a variety of reasons. And so, it was like I let this one person’s piece of advice completely derail my career. And it just so happens that Jenessa decided to to take a chance on me and let me be her lab manager, but she was my final shot. Like I applied to three lab manager positions. She was the last one and I remember pacing in the library cause I I needed Wi-Fi. And I was pacing a library like hoping like please. Hopefully this works out, hopefully this works out and it didn’t. Uh, it it? It did, but it almost didn’t. And so just thinking about what does it mean to get multiple people’s advice to not just take one person’s perspective and to also know yourself like, I thought I was ready for grad school. And honestly, everything that I did as a lab manager made me realize I absolutely was ready to go to grad school just from, you know, my ability to sit in graduate level classes, and I think do just as well as the third or fourth years that were there. And so, in some ways that that gap was helpful for me because it allowed me to go to grad school, which a much like a really realistic understanding of grad school and knowing I could do it, but I was ready initially and some man who only saw me based on my CV should not have been able to tell me that, so that that’s one thing. If I could do it over, I would have asked more people. I wouldn’t have dropped out of IRT, but IRT was actually very thankfully, they actually let me rejoin when I was ready to apply two years later. So, I applied to 18 schools, but I think I only paid for three of them, so IRT covered 12. There was this committee consortium for something something like CIC something of Midwestern schools that if you had hardships, they would pay for application fees. So, they covered a lot of them. And then if you do a summer program, oftentimes when you apply to that school, they’ll pay for your application. So, Berkeley’s summer research program that I did before my senior year in in college, they paid for my application fee to Berkeley, and so that’s how I applied to 18 schools, but only paid for three of them. Because application fees are really expensive and they can range anywhere between 25, well, this was back in the day $25 to, you know, $100. I have no idea what the cost is now.

26:21 Bradley
Well, you were actually you you thankfully got that lab manager position at UCLA, and you were there for two years and six months. And then after that, you did your postdoctoral candidacy and your work at Yale University. And that was also.

26:35 Kiera
Oh wait, I did my lab manager before I went to grad school.

26:39 Bradley
OK, so I see on LinkedIn you were at lab manager from 2012 to 2014 and then yeah.

26:46 Kiera
Yes, you see you later.

26:49 Bradley
And that that was at UCLA? Yes, directly. And then you did your postdoc. You were a post postdoctoral associate at Yale University. Full time from May of 2020 through July of 2022.

26:51 Kiera

27:00 Bradley
So you were there for also two years, three months, and now you are back. What a nice way to circle back to UC Berkeley, and you actually are, as I said in the Haas School of Business and the Management of Organizations (MOR) group, you’ve been there a little bit over a year. So, tell us briefly about how many different universities you applied to and when did you know that you wanted to become an assistant professor?

27:29 Kiera
Oh, I knew I wanted to be an assistant professor when I became a lab manager, I was like, yes, this is definitely something something I want to do. I, how many schools that I applied to in terms of faculty jobs? So, applying to faculty jobs is a lot. You should I. You should plan not to do anything. Of those six months. Nothing, because you’re either practicing your talk, you are sitting with anxiety. You’re you’re interviewing like it’s it’s it’s a lot. I actually could answer that question very directly. I’m like, what was my job market? I had a whole Google spreadsheet. I I like to be organized. So according to the spreadsheet I applied to 58 schools across both psych departments, public policy schools and business schools. In terms of. I could probably aggregate this I. Got I got several round ones that I never got called back for. It ended up coming down to, I think I had. I ended up having eight offers across both psych public policy and business, but I actually wasn’t done with the market, so I actually withdrew my applications from a few schools that might have worked out. Might have not. You know, it’s it’s a little bit unclear. But when it came down to what were the schools that I was really considering? One school was UC Davis and their psych department. Vanderbilts Education School that also happens to have a psychology department within it. They’ll figure that’s something I learned. There is a lot of psychologists in education schools and vice versa, so that that was another psych department and also Boston College. I love Boston College. OK, maybe there are three psych departments. I was like really considering. And then it was. I got a job at the Harvard Kennedy School. And then I got the job at UC Berkeley. And so there was a lot of things that went into my decision and one of the biggest cleavages between those different schools is professional, nonprofessional, so psych departments where I got my PhD. That is what I’m used to. I know exactly how to teach in that environment. Teaching in a professional school, would it? It’s it’s a learning experience. So that was one one thing I had to consider. Another thing I I had to consider was also the the research environment. So, I had mentioned that I spent a lot of time at the Kennedy School because the work that I wanted to do was inherently interdisciplinary. And I find that professional schools are interdisciplinary. You’re going to meet an economist and a sociologist and historian and a legal scholar person who all study race, for example, and getting all those different perspectives is exactly what my mind loved and wanted. Whereas in the psych department you kind of have the same thing, but it’s really narrow. It’s all within the psych department, so you might have someone who studies race, but they’re a developmental psychologist versus a social psychologist. You’re not gonna get the breadth of like thought. So that was a another big cleavage between the between the schools. Another thing is just the timing of things. So, I had to let go of one of my favorite offers. Not because I I wasn’t seriously considering it. But because they had a different timeline than the other schools, and so I was like, I’m still not done interviewing. I’m not gonna let go of this guaranteed thing because I’m hoping for something afterwards. That ended up happening and that was that was really devastating. And then I’m not going to talk about money because. That is a very clear difference between all those schools, and if you haven’t already, all salaries, at least in California, are public knowledge. So, if you are at all curious about the differences in salaries between psychology, public policy and business. Pick some scholars in. Each of those areas look them up on and you’ll learn a lot. That’s all I’ll say about about salary, but the the last thing I’ll say that’s a big difference is about research funds. So, psychology departments are notorious for giving startups, they’re like, here’s a pot of money and, you know, do great scholarship with it. And then we’re going to launch you to to get additional grants. Most professional programs don’t do it that way. That either don’t give startups at all, or the way that a lot of business schools will do it is that they’ll give you a set amount of money each year, and it just annually replenishes so different models, a lot of different things to consider, but it sort of came down for me, for there are many many factors, but at the end of the day my wife and I visited Berkeley and she looked at me when we were all done with the the visit. And she goes. Kiera, let’s have an adventure. And I was like, let’s have an adventure. So, we ended up going to Berkeley in part because all of our families on the East Coast. If we were to be on the West Coast, this is the time to do it, we don’t have kids. This is at the beginning of my career, I’ve wanted to be at Berkeley for quite some time, all those different times I tried to be at Berkeley, uh, the people I looked up to in terms of my research were there. And so, I’m like, yeah, this is definitely a place that I feel like if I don’t start my my career here, I will regret it for the rest of my life, so that is a really long-winded way of me saying why UC Berkeley and I avoided very deliberately.

33:05 Bradley
No problem, no problem. I picked up on that right away and you actually answered partially my next question, how was it moving from the East Coast to the West Coast? Well, you you had the adventure and you’re still having the adventure because you just finished your first year as an assistant professor at UC Berkeley as well. Anything else come to mind when you think, OK, what, what were some of the challenges, good or bad, that you’ve experienced moving from the East Coast to the West Coast and there’s culture differences there right away when you have that. So, anything else comes to mind?

33:41 Kiera
Three-hour time difference doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a lot and it’s a lot because things don’t line up, so you know, let’s just say you go to work, get up at 5:30, get home by 6:30, eat. 7:00 you’re like, cool. Ready to talk to people? It is 10:00 back at home and not to say that people are not really, you know, want to talk to you at 10:00, but they’re not. They don’t wanna talk to you at 10:00 or I would talk to my mom when I walk my dogs and I walk my dogs at particular times, it didn’t line up anymore the way they used to, and so having to come up with news systems just to connect with the people that I love was was really difficult. California is also not interconnected in the way that the East Coast is. So again, I don’t drive, so hopping on the Amtrak to go from Boston to New York. Easy peasy. Boston to New Haven. Easy New Haven to Philly, like thinking about all of the cities that are right on the coast. They’re all connected through Amtrak. Very easy. Amtrak sucks in California. It’s not good, so I haven’t felt the the ease of you know, it’s and it’s all one state California is long. It is like 14 hours I think from tip to tip. That is a long time to be in the same state, so that are some some, some definite difficulty some of the benefits. It is 65 year-round in the bay. So, it doesn’t really. It doesn’t rain too frequently, you know, I think a lot of people would love this weather. It’s like perpetual fall weather, but like early fall and it’s lovely. I like wine. There’s wine everywhere. I’ve been enjoying that. It’s very. It’s very naturely and so I I I’ve definitely appreciated, appreciated that aspect. And honestly, in some ways we’ve maybe seen our families more by moving to the Bay because we’re very deliberate and we, yes, we’re gonna go for this thing because we don’t have the the serendipitous connections. But that means that we’ve we’re always sort of building, building it out and we haven’t used this part, but we’re really close, really close to Hawaii. So, you know it’s like 6. Hours instead of 12.

35:57 Bradley
There you go.

36:00 Kiera
But it’s definitely a culture shock. Definitely, definitely. Uh yeah, also.

36:06 Bradley
And and a good kind of transition to talking about. Now you have one year under your belt teaching at UC Berkeley. What were some of the most challenging aspects of kind of changing or transitioning from this idea of being a student grad student? And now I have my PhD. Applying to all these different schools for your professorship, for you know your academic, your first academic position. What was some of the most? What were some of the most challenging aspects of kind of changing your frame of mind and now becoming that assistant professor?

36:49 Kiera
Honestly, it was the fact that I can’t say what I whatever I want to say anymore. So, I I would say I’m a pretty outspoken person and whenever I would talk. I mean, I I’ve always been careful about about what I say, but now it’s coming from a place of authority, you know, and I study hierarchy, so it’s definitely. Like, huh I have to pay attention to that so much more, now you know I have to think about. Well, who are all the people who might hear this and either try to implement this, this advice that I’m giving that you know now it’s. Like ohh. Well, Kiera, the faculty member, is saying this versus Kiera the random grad student who I, you know, don’t have to necessarily necessarily listen to.

37:32 Bradley

37:35 Kiera
So that was an adjustment. It was also an adjustment to realize that I now have to balance other people’s careers, so I already have three graduate students and one is coming on this year and I love mentorship. Absolutely love mentorship. Always love mentorship. But when you mentor RAs, you know their career is not solely in your hands. You know, they they. They gotta get good grades. I think I get a whole bunch of other stuff and and, you know, like the time that you they spend with you, and you write their letter recommendation is a piece of the puzzle, but it’s not most the puzzle. But now I’ve got folks who who are here to learn, and I’m going to teach, but it’s over like a five-year span. So that by the end of this five years that they feel equipped to not only be productive in their own right, but then also teach and mentor themselves. So, balancing what I need to do for me, and what I what’s best for them is attention that of course makes sense cause you know, I got mentored before, but was definitely, definitely a big a big adjustment. And then the whole tenure clock of thinking now that now the clock is ticking, and I don’t, I don’t. I’ve never really felt that clock before because, you know, if you need an extra time, an extra year or so in grad school, usually you can get it. You know, you might have to teach, or you know TA or something like that, but it’s it’s possible. Or you go do a post doc. You know like there there are ways that you can get ready for the next stage. Tenure is kind of the the end, you know. And so, if I’m not ready in five years, then I don’t get tenure. And then I’d have to. I I just start all over again or figure out a new a new place and so it’s that. Like precariousness that technically has always been present but feels very different as as a faculty member given all the other things that you’re not balancing. Much more service. This all these other things, although I did so much service in grad school that I don’t really notice the difference in the amount of service that I do because I always did service so that in some ways has been helpful, but there’s still now there’s there’s more weight to my decisions. Is this the right decision? Am I wasting my time when I should be doing research? That type of type of stuff.

39:52 Bradley
Very good thoughts to think about and you know it’s a good reminder that you now are working for somebody else talking about hierarchies. You’re no longer a grad student, free to say whatever comes to your mind, and now you have to kind of report up. Before I forget, I wanted to share your faculty profile page at Berkeley Haas. The good information here about your research interests. Some of your working papers and then I have to talk about MORS as well. So, Management of Organizations and so we’ll put these websites up there as well. And then you have your own personal page. And I like this page because you gave a a good summary of kind of your background. And then your lines of interest that you worked on, your hierarchies, your second line working on stereotyping and and then you get into your projects. And I love this space here because it’s not only. You you decided to put some graphics here as well instead of just. Here are my lines of research. Just some more lines and then we just browse through them and and go past them. So, I like this aspect of it and then some of your publications and then some upcoming talks and recent talks as well. So, I loved your page. It was nice to go through easy to follow and I was impressed by your CV. Even though that one person wasn’t impressed as much by your CV because you didn’t work with one particular person. So, I’ll I’ll give you a buy on that as well. But a follow-up question for you is? You know, now that you’re at UC Berkeley, many of our audience members, listeners, people viewing the podcast as well may not consider when they’re applying for their first position, whether it’s a research 1, 2, or 3 institution and the corresponding obligation expectation of research. When I was going through school, it’s called POP, Publish or Perish. And so, I’m not sure if that’s still out in the, you know, out in the field today, but knowing where you’re applying and the demands on you. Hey, you’re gonna have a course load of two classes, but then you have to do a lot of research. Or one class and a lot of research. If you want to teach a little bit more then seek that out and and don’t make the mistake of applying to. Ohh, I love Harvard. I love, you know, all these other schools because I’d love to be able to be a faculty member there. You have to recognize what their what their needs are and what the expectation is. So, when you first started, what were some of the expectations that they laid out for you in terms of coursework, publication, research? Tell us a little bit more about that.

42:31 Kiera
No problem. So, the the tenure track is usually very opaque. You know, they’re like. Do good, do good science. The best science that you could science, and hopefully that’s good enough. The beauty and I do mean beauty, of being at a public institution like the UC system. They are much more transparent than most places. You know, I also know exactly when I’m going to go up for merit increases. You actually get merit increases, which is not always true. You know, in a lot of places, in order for you to increase your salary, if you have to get an outside offer, not true within the UC system you go up every two years as an assistant professor and you go up every three years once you make associate and they evaluate you and they say whether or not you’re gonna move up half a step or a full step. I think the military actually uses this like similar steps. So, from that perspective, very clearly laid out know exactly how much money I’m gonna make it each step. The other expectation that I was explicitly told is my research matters. I must publish. I absolutely know that and that teach. But teaching matters. So that’s a that’s one difference at a professional school than at other at perhaps at if you were in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences are all most of our customers are paying customers in a very like masters-y way. And so, they do care about teaching teaching. If you’re a great teacher but a terrible researcher, you’re not getting tenure. If you are a terrible teacher and a great researcher, you might get tenure. And that like asymmetry is just something that’s that’s true at a lot of R1s so in terms of my teaching load. I teach. Oh, I teach, that’s a good question. So, I teach coteach with the other faculty the PhD seminars, so we all go teach it. It’s kind of hard to say exactly how much I teach cause it’s yours, mentorship and all that jazz. So that’s that’s that’s that. I teach in the core, which means that this is like the core curriculum for the MBAs. And I teach this course called business communication in a diverse world, which is a core DEI course. So, core DEI courses to MBAs scare the crap out of me. Not gonna lie, especially as a queer black woman teaching it. It’s really intense. But it was for seven weeks, and that was the extent of my teaching. So, the way that Berkeley also does teaching is through this thing called the IP system. Very convoluted, but it allows you to sort of mix and match how you want to do teaching service research. They don’t care. You owe, I think, 19 IP credits. They really care how you, how you amass them. You got different ways you can do it. You could do some service that might be 2 IP credits if you teach this class. OK, well, that’s 3 IP credits, but if up teach this other class, it’s 4. You wanna teach this easy class? Sure, that’s 1, you know, and so you you can sort of figure out, of course, with the the help of your chair and. And so, it’s I appreciate that system because again very very trans transparent. So, from that perspective, my. The things that I was told to do is that I must, I must publish, and that I should not do service. But that’s like not in my heart and not my personality. Like, I’m not gonna just not do something because I’m not supposed to. If I think it’s the right thing to do. And so, I think a lot of scholars of color sometimes face that where they have to balance out. How do I do things that that that I value without losing my eye on the prize that will allow me to stay in this position long time to do the things that I really care about? That balance is hard. I don’t know if I’ve necessarily struck it yet, but I have a few more years to figure out.

46:28 Bradley
Well it it’s it’s nice to hear that they were pretty transparent in the UC system about not only your salary, but expectations, even though they didn’t say when I was going to grad school, when you when I applied for positions, they said you’re expected to have 5 publications per. Year two of them have to be in a top journal. You know that sort of stuff. So, they laid that out back then. But it all depends on the department and so here it sounds like just just do your research, just do research and then they’ll evaluate you later. So, OK.

47:02 Kiera
But you have some, so the the the nice thing also about UC Berkeley is that every tenure line that they extend, they expect to tenure. So, it’s not that I am competing with other people, you know, it’s it’s my own line. And so, from that perspective, I can look at my colleagues who’ve recently gotten tenure and you’re they are under the same expectations as me and use them as a benchmark. And if I use them as a benchmark, it’s very doable. You know, I would probably say probably publishing anywhere, you know, somewhere around 3 papers a year, ideally with some students towards the end, ideally in some top journals, but it’s you know it’s it’s it’s much more holistic. I I would say it’s not, they don’t, they’re not paper counting, which I appreciate.

47:51 Bradley
OK. And now that we’re talking about some of the research I mentioned it earlier, Google Scholar feel free to go there. We’ll include this link as well, but a lot of your stuff, you know, one of the top ones Investigating hair cues as a mechanism underlying Black women’s intersectional invisibility. So, I know you mentioned intersectionality before. For the rest of our audience kind of describe, what do you mean when you’re talking about that and using that word?

48:18 Kiera
So, intersectionality refers to the fact that various systems of inequality you think about racism, sexism, heterosexism, they don’t operate in a vacuum, they operate in a interdependent fashion. So, you know, one great way to think about it is if you think about socioeconomic status and race, you know. If you are poor that’s gives a set of discriminatory experiences, but if you’re poor and also a woman, for example, the types of violence that you’re going to experience by being really poor and being a woman is different than the types of violence you would experience being poor and being a man. And understanding that those differences are qualitative in nature. So, thinking about like sexual violence of perhaps being homeless versus perhaps physical violence of being homeless as a man, et cetera, et cetera, it’s understanding that the the ways that we understand the world, we need to think intersectionally because when we talk about women, the question is, are the things that we’re setting for all women and at least in a lot of my work, the answer is no, and it shouldn’t, right? And it’s not just a pure let’s add Black plus woman to get black woman. You have to take history into consideration because the history of being a Black woman in the United States. Is different than the history of being a Black woman in South Africa, which is different than being an Asian woman in the United States. And so, all those things are race plus gender. But how they manifest is nuanced and in in a lot of my work, what I’ve been trying to figure out is (a) let’s let’s map out the nuances, (b) let’s try to figure out are there psychological mechanisms behind the nuance that we can then use to predict future nuance and then use that as a way of dealing with inequality in a more nuanced fashion. So that is.

50:10 Bradley
And it’s not a oh, I was just going to say it’s not a one-to-one relationship. You have two different criteria. Therefore, it’s twice as difficult. No, it’s not. It doesn’t work that way. If you have. If you’re, if you’re African American, you’re woman, you’re queer, or you’re trans, or any of those. As soon as you Add all of those, it it’s not that you’re three times. Or four times it. It really depends on what area or or category you fall in as well. And so, I wanted to emphasize that because some people say ohh, of course you’re you’re male, you’re white or you’re female, you’re you’re black or you’re trans and you’re, you know, or you’re Asian. I I keep reading studies about, you know, more and more of these disenfranchised groups that are in experiencing all of these challenges that you wouldn’t have thought they would. And and it’s coming out in the research now. So, I I like that you’re looking at how they interplay. And I used that word as well because it I I grew up using that word more so than that. Intersectionality is a nice word to use as well. So, one thing that I wanted to highlight is I know that you’ve finished your first year. I I saw the class classes that you’re teaching. And I know that social psychology continues to evolve. And so, what do you feel are some of the most pressing issues in the field now?

51:40 Kiera
Well, I’m not even going to talk about open science and replicability. The reason for that is I don’t think that that’s unique to social psychology. I I actually, I would say an intersectional approach and part of that is because intersectionality and I I’m actually writing a review paper now about this is that it’s not just a theory and this is like an empirical theory. It’s also a way of approaching science. It’s hey, when I look at my sample, am I picking my sample with care? Am I recognizing that my identities matters for the types of questions and the way that I’m approaching my science, that is all a very intersectional way of doing doing research. And so, I I think that that is one of the biggest one of the biggest things that I think social psychology has to grapple with. The other one is is again thinking intersectionally but on like a global level, like, let’s talk about the global South and how it’s missing from a lot of my, our our work. We started to talk about weird psychology, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to who’s doing work. Who gets work published? Why is the work published and how it’s generalized? And I think social psychology might. Could be a forerunner in that regard. I actually think clinical psychology is a bit better, but that’s because they deal with people’s lived experiences. It’s like I’m literally looking at you and I’m talking with you, and we talk through all the different aspects of your identities. But thinking how does that then play out in practice? I really think psychology could or social psychology could be one of the. One of the the the areas of psychology that can move the fastest actually. So that’s that’s that’s that’s what I would say, I guess.

53:25 Bradley

53:26 Kiera
I could get on a soap box around intersectionality, I won’t, but.

53:29 Bradley
Are you? We’re going to move on. I’ll let you. We can get back to it or have another discussion later on and and do a two-year check-up with you so see how things have changed. But I read and I saw that you were the creator of the LOT planner. Are you still involved in that, and I’ll share my screen and tell me a little bit more about the LOT planner.

53:53 Kiera
Oh, the LOT planner, so the LOT planner, it stands for Life on Track. And so, when I when I was in grad school, I used planners on the market all the time and one planner in particular that I used was the passion planner. I thought it was really cool. The issue I had some issues with the passion planner and with a lot of the planners actually I should have said the passion Planner passion planner is great, but a lot of the planners are just not made for academics. That’s the best I got. They’re made for people or academics have a particular, you know, problem and that they’re trying to deal with the the short term while also planning on the long term and medium term and a lot of planners focus on one or the other. And so, I was encouraged to Bullet Journal and I don’t know if you heard of bullet journaling where you sort of plan your own things out. You draw it out. And I started to Bullet Journal and I probably did that for about two years before it got to the point where I no longer had time to draw my pretty banners and whatnot. But I needed the system that I had come up with. And so. What year was this, 2017, I think, 2017/2018 I taught myself in design, converted my my my bullet journal into a planner, decided to give it a name. I was like LOT planner is cute. Life on Track and then that’s that. It was just for me. It was not for anybody else. So that first year printed out was very proud of myself. It also it looks nothing like it looked back in the day I had a meal prepping all these different things. I I’ve since removed that and then I made it, I made it smaller. There used to be a smaller version. Again, no, nobody has seen this and so probably that was 2017. 2018, I probably told folks like, hey, you know, I encourage everyone to figure out a planning system for you. Like, don’t be constrained by what’s available. Look beyond and figure out from yourself like what do you need. So, it’s also like a life lesson wrapped into the LOT planner. It was the thing that I need is not available. I could either use subpar systems. Or I can create my own and I created my own and then it it was during it was during the pandemic, so I probably at this point maybe sold two planners to my friends who love me. 2018 sold two planners, 20 ohh No 2018 sold two planners, 2019 sold 4 planners. 2020 rolls around, we’re all in a pandemic. And then again, I tell this life lesson I’m. Like, hey, make. Do do what you need to do. You got it. And people are like, oh, that’s so cool that. Planner me. You should try to sell it. I’m like, sure, I’ll, I’ll sell again now, six planner. So, I put up a little pre-order and when I tell you that I got 300 pre-orders. Lost my mind. What just happened? This is not what I expected. I have a picture somewhere, probably at the beginning of that, that Twitter account where it’s just me surrounded by boxes of of packaged planners to ship out. And so, I was going to leave it at that. But then more orders kept coming in. People are like I would love to order this for my grad student. I had a whole departments buying and bundles. And so, I have tried to drop this planner cause I am not a businesswoman. I’m supposed to be a faculty member. It’s not what I expected to do, but several people when I’ve mentioned it, they’re like Kiera. You, I, I need this planner system. You have to keep going. And so now we’re in our third year of the LOT planner and now I’m trying to get it back up because. I I I. Went through the job market. I didn’t have time for it, but now we’re we’re sort of back on back on track, life on track and so that’s that’s my planner and the reason why I think it’s pretty cool is that it uses a sticky note system, so you know every there’s project pages. There’s like two years in advance. It’s like very much so holistic of your your, the personal and the professional and blending the two. While allowing the type of changes that I think academics need, they need that flexibility and it’s built in exactly. So, they’re sticky notes. So that’s a project next step. So, if you have a project, you can put a sticky note on this page that dictates your absolute next step that you need to do. And so, from that perspective. I I don’t know. I think it’s. I think it’s pretty cool. I was also doing tips, organizational tips. You know, people are getting a lot of my good thoughts for free.

58:30 Bradley
Yep, no, I wanted to bring it up because I saw it and I’m going this is kind of cool. It’s a. It’s specific to the academic world, so to speak. And so, it it helps. And so again to your point, plan the way that works best for you. However, if you do want to use sticky notes, have some fun. Look at the LOT planner and that’s my little plug for you on the LOT planner, so.

58:52 Kiera
I appreciate it.

58:56 Bradley
Kiera, what other personal or professional goals do you have in the future? Now that you have a year under your belt, and now that you’re moving forward, any other goals that you have for yourself?

59:07 Kiera
Ohh well to learn how to drive. I have my first driving lesson tomorrow, so now I’m like really committed. This is my third time having a permit, just never did anything with it, but now it’s like OK, I’m, I’m gonna learn how to drive. Wanna learn how to how to skate and really randomly, uhm, I want fun so I’ve been. I really need creativity in my life, so part of the lot planner was also me learning how to use and design but I used to do photos with my grandmother and so the way that I have been more creative these days I’ve been making homemade cards, so that has been a lot of a source of joy for me. And so those are some of my, uh, personal goals. Professional goals, it’s really figuring out as I read this book called Tenure Hacks and they talk about these mountains. And I always called it mole hills. You know why, but to figure out what my molehills are and and and you’re really only supposed to have one. I think I’m gonna end up having closer to three just because I do such different things and so really just coming into my own as an expert in X field and feeling comfortable in that is what I’m hoping for in the next few years, I I study Schadenfreude and empathy, and I would like to have done the research and sort of thought about it deeply enough that when people start to have questions about Schadenfreude to like, they come to me and I think that that that will feel like, yes, I’m, I’m making it in this chosen field of mine.

01:41 Bradley
Well, it’s interesting and I, you make mountains out of molehills and so that’s probably why you think of molehills right away, you think of that term. At the end of most of our podcast, Kiera, we talk about and ask a few fun questions. So, the first one I usually ask is tell us something unique about yourself.

01:59 Kiera
Unique about myself. So, you people might have noticed I have two middle names, so my whole name is Sa-kiera Tiarra Jolynn Hudson. And I’m very proud of my name and part of the reason why I always put all of them is that my favorite middle name is my second middle name which is a combination of my grandparent’s names Jonathan and Linda. So that’s how you get Jolynn. So, I love that aspect of of me and you know as a someone who’s first Gen. names are important. And so that’s why you get my whole name on every single one. Everything I do whole name. So, because that’s something I’m proud of.

01:01:38 Bradley
Well, cool. No, I didn’t. I wouldn’t have even guessed Jolynn is a combination of two names. What is your favorite term principle or theory and why?

01:01:49 Kiera
Ohh I I usually say this thing and I’m gonna get it wrong, of course, it’s like street level bureaucrats. Which is a term in sociology that I came across when I was at the Harvard Kennedy School, and it just made so much sense. So, street level bureaucrats are the interfaces between the public and systems. So, like when you go to the DMV and you have someone there, their a street level bureaucrat because these are the people who are directly facing with the public. But they’re also the the arbiter of rules, right? Like so the DMV person decides to let you pass on certain things, they can, they can change trajectories of your day, your, and sometimes even a life. And, but we think about these people as having no power. They actually have a ton of power, and so, you know, when we talk about let’s change systems, we don’t have to change individual people’s attitudes. I’m like street level bureaucrats are the one exception to that because these are the people that actually have a ton of control about how the laws get actually implemented on a day-to-day basis so. When I found that out that I learned that term, it just blew my mind. So that’s one of my favorite terms. Street level bureaucrats.

01:03:00 Bradley
You need to keep that in mind when you go for your driver’s license.

01:03:08 Kiera
I’m going to be nice to that street level bureaucrat. Don’t you worry.

01:03:11 Bradley
Yes, definitely. Do you have any other advice for those interested in the field of social psychology?

01:03:18 Kiera
Advice? It’s, honestly, remember that a lot of great ideas started out from observation and life experiences. Me-search is a is actually how all research happens. Don’t let anybody tell you any differently. And so, to really like lean on your unique experiences because there’s a reason why I think psychology is having an explosion of intersectional work. There are more scholars for which intersectionality comes up naturally. I don’t think that’s, you know, a coincidence. And so, thinking of that, people who might think, oh, I don’t belong here (a) you absolutely do and (b) we actually need you because these research ideas that you are going to naturally come up with are going to intersect with existing theories in really cool and fun ways and that is how the field is going to move forward.

01:04:13 Bradley
If you had the time and money to complete one project, or go on one trip, what would you do?

01:04:19 Kiera
OK, this is really really bad. If I had the time and money to do one project. Low key, I would go get a PhD in social linguistics, but part of that is I think the study of languages is really cool from a social perspective. So, I I’m doing Duolingo for Mandarin. And and I I did a little bit of Mandarin in, in college and in high school. And so, I you know Mandarin is a pictorial language and some of the things I’ve always been thinking about is like the word for good, is a woman with a baby. There’s one word for peace. That’s a roof radical with a a a woman underneath it, like a woman in your household brings you peace. And I can’t tell if this is just me as an English speaker trying to learn this language and seeing these connections or like the the word for Africa actually translates into like backwards continent. And things like that. And so, I’ve been thinking about when you learn a language where the etymology is either like baked into the word because it’s pictorial and you learn these radicals sort of separately and then they kind of get combined in in unique ways. How does that then impact like your thought about that particular topic? And I think. Maybe English could have something similar like the I think about destiny’s child. Technically, when I you first heard that term, did the the thoughts of destiny and child come together then, then slowly but surely became its own entity. Does it still have the tendrils of the other stuff, who knows? So, if I could do any sort of project, I would probably do a study of like feminism and whatnot in, for people who speak Mandarin. Those who learned Mandarin as a second language and as a a first language, and I just feel like that would be so much fun. Really random, but that’s that’s the that’s the truth.

01:06:10 Bradley
Well, I I can actually relate because my as we were talking before we started recording, my background is interpersonal communication and so that would come into play. The etymology of a lot of these different words, phrases, and how they have evolved throughout time is is very interesting. So, Keira, is there anything else that you would like to discuss or bring up in this podcast?

01:06:31 Kiera
No, it’s been great. Thanks for having me.

01:06:34 Bradley
I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. It’s been an enjoyable journey, learning more about what you’ve experienced, your journey moving forward as well. I wish you all the best and maybe another year or two we’ll reconnect and see how things have changed over that time period.

01:06:51 Kiera
Sounds like a plan.

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