News & Events
Alumna Laura Taylor
2005 MA Peace and Justice Studies, Kroc School, University of San Diego
2013 PhD Psychology and Peace Studies, Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame
The Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies extends our
CONGRATULATIONS to Laura Taylor!
Alumna and former IPJ Program Officer on all her accomplishments and success.
As a senior program officer at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice from 2005-2008 at the University of San Diego, Laura Taylor worked on the Nepal and Guatemala Projects and Women PeaceMakers Program. Previously, she was project coordinator for an indigenous women's community mental health project in Guatemala.
Laura earned an MA in Peace and Justice Studies from the University of San Diego (2005) and B.A. degrees in Psychology and Spanish from Haverford College. She was born and raised in Kwajalein, Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Dr. Taylor successfully defended her dissertation for a PhD in Psychology and Peace Studies on Monday, April 15, 2013, at the Kroc School’s sister program, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her dissertation was titled “Does Violence Beget Violence? Moderating Trajectories of Adolescent Aggression in a Context of Political Conflict.”
Laura was not only one of the first candidates to enter and graduate from Kroc Notre Dame’s new PhD program (established in 2008), but she has been honored with several awards for excellence in teaching and will receive the Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Award. The honor is offered each year to one doctoral student from each of the four divisions of the Notre Dame Graduate School: Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, and Engineering. Award winners exhibit "superior ability” according to these criteria: grades; research and publication; fellowship and other awards; and teaching.
In the midst of teaching, research, writing, and publishing, Dr. Taylor prepared for her post-graduate career, and has accepted a faculty position beginning Fall 2013 at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
From Laura Taylor's website: http://lauraktaylor.wordpress.com/
In her own words: As a scholar/practitioner my work extends beyond the classroom. In addition to my academic research, I have facilitated a number of participatory workshops on mental health, trauma healing, reconciliation, peacebuilding, gender inclusion, civil-military relations, and conflict transformation in the U.S., Guatemala, Nepal, and Colombia. I have also conducted conflict assessments and project evaluations to support the on-going work of non-governmental organizations. These field experiences both inform my scholarship and provide an opportunity to involve my students in hands-on practice. This approach to learning helps focus my research on refining and testing theory designed to address real world challenges.
Research: One of the challenges in the study of political violence and resilience is the cyclical nature of conflict and persistent intergroup tensions following formal peace accords. Therefore, I study how and why political violence affects individual mental health, participation in peacebuilding or transitional justice, and mobilization for continued conflict, particularly for children and youth.
My research focuses on identifying psychosocial processes that may buffer youth from the negative impact of political violence and foster resilience from a developmental psychopathology perspective. My goal is to inform future intervention programs that may prevent renewed conflict, bolster support for constructive social change, and protect youth from the harmful effects of violence in conflict and post-conflict settings.
Research Projects: Three current and related lines of research.
1) The first is a longitudinal study with close to 1,000 mother/child dyads in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Rooted in the social ecological framework, this research project tests emotional security theory and social identity theory to understand processes (mediators and moderators) related to adolescent and family outcomes. More about the Northern Ireland Project.
2) The second research project is on children and interethnic tensions in Croatia. The goal of this developing line of work is to examine how persistent intergroup hostility may affect youth in the transition to adolescence. Specifically, we have conducted two waves of data, qualitative focus groups which informed pilot research to establish the psychometric properties of new, contextually-relevant risk and protective factors. We are currently in the planning stages for a three-year longitudinal study. More about the Croatia project.
3) The third line of research examines the relationships between political violence, mental health, civic participation, and political attitudes in Colombia, a setting of on-going violence. This research aims to identify what factors function as the antecedents of more constructive participation in peacebuilding or transitional justice initiatives. The findings from this project have direct policy implications for local and national government officials and NGOs interested in promoting well-being and reconciliation.
Brief Teaching Statement:
My teaching approach emphasizes asking questions. In the classroom I try to foster an environment in which students engage the material, whether quantitative statistics or introduction to peace studies, as critical thinkers and learners. The goal is to create a safe space for dialogue and participation.
My approach to learning is informed by my liberal arts undergraduate experience at Haverford College, as well as the key teaching mentors I have had since then. In additional to semester long courses, I focus my teaching skills on guest lectures and public educational events where I strive to make academic information accessible to a wider audience.
Complementing my interdisciplinary research, I am prepared to teach introductory psychology, advanced courses in developmental and political psychology, developmental psychopathology, introduction to peace studies, conflict transformation, transitional justice and reconciliation, and methods courses including research design, field research methods, and qualitative and quantitative analyses for undergraduate and graduate students.
Latino Community Organizing against Violence, Center for Social Concerns, (Co-Instructor), Fall 2012
Youth and Political Violence: Risk and Resilience Processes, Notre Dame Dept. of Psychology (Instructor), Spring 2012
Quantitative Research Methods II Teaching Assistant, Notre Dame Department of Psychology, Scott Maxwell, Spring 2011
Quantitative Research Methods I Teaching Assistant, Notre Dame Department of Psychology, Scott Maxwell, Fall 2010
Peacebuilding Teaching Assistant, Haverford College, Anita Isaacs & Alexander Kitroeff, Spring 2008
Reconciliation Teaching Assistant, Haverford College, Anita Isaacs & Leslie Dwyer, Spring 2004
Introduction to Bio-psychology Teaching Assistant, Haverford College, Wendy Sternberg, 2001-2002
Awards and Training
Graduate Associate, Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Notre Dame, 2012-13
Teaching Mentorship Program, Society for Research on Child Development, 2012-13
Advanced Teaching Certificate, Kaneb Center, 2012
Striving for Excellence in Teaching Certificate, Kaneb Center, 2012
Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Assistant, Kaneb Center, University of Notre Dame, 2011
Graduate Teaching Seminar, PSY 60299, University of Notre Dame,Fall 2011
Effective and Exciting Teaching in Social Sciences and Humanities, GRED 60612, University of Notre Dame, 2010