Humboldt State University

Department of Psychology

Cultural Diversity & Adolescent Development Research Lab

Principle Investigator

Maria I. Iturbide, Ph.D.

Maria’s program of research focuses on understanding factors associated with adolescent well-being. In the last few years her research has evolved from examining ethnic minority families to focusing on Latino adolescents’ internalizing and externalizing behavior. Specifically, her work concentrates on ethnic identity development, acculturation, acculturative stress, and their link to adolescent risk behavior and positive development. She utilizes quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods in her research.



Graduate Lab Members

Tsolak Michael Kirakosyan

Tsolak Michael Kirakosyan graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology at Humboldt State University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in academic research under the guidance of Dr. Iturbide. He explored numerous research labs in the psychology department before realizing that his true passion lies in identity studies from both a social and developmental perspective. His research looks at ethnic identity as a buffer against the detrimental effects of acculturation stress. Being of Armenian descent, his research will look at the Armenian-American experience. He hopes that his research will guide strategies to ease the experiences of both immigrants and native-born ethnic minorities.

Aubrey Pellicano

Aubrey Pellicano is a Master’s student in the Psychology Department’s Academic Research program at Humboldt State University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach where she worked as a research assistant in the Culture and Social Identity Development Lab. Aubrey spent two years working and volunteering for nonprofit organizations focused on children, adolescents, and young adults. She plans to pursue a PhD in Developmental Psychology and is interested in studying cultural and social effects on performance and engagement in education.

Undergraduate Lab Members

Geyra Gastelum-Hernandez

Geyra Gastelum-Hernandez is interested in forensic psychology. She currently works at the Humboldt County juvenile hall as a Correctional Officer, and is interested in research having to do with juveniles in the system and how physiological, sociocultural, demographics affect their lifestyle. She is a Latina and that's another reason why she is interested in research with Dr. Iturbide. She is interested in how coming to a rural area from a big city can psychologically, mentally, and physically affect the wellbeing of a student who cannot find a comforting community that they can thrive in.

Danielle Siegel

Danielle Siegel is in her final year of the undergraduate psychology program at HSU. She currently works in a behavioral health organization that applies the principles of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) in family settings. Her interests pertinent to the lab include looking at the experiences of people of color who also belong to a sexual minority group, and how the unique combination of these factors affect the health and lives of these individuals.

Melissa Hansen

Melissa Hansen’s main interest for her career in psychology is focusing on adversive childhood experiences and childhood trauma, and how those impact us later in life as far as our emotion and social development. She joined this lab because it gives her the opportunity to learn more about the development of people with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and how their experiences affect their social and emotional development.