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College of Education

Luke Rapa

Assistant Professor

Office: 409-F Gantt Circle
Phone: Dept. (864) 656-7645
Vita: Click Here

Educational Background

Ph.D. Educational Psychology
Michigan State University 2016

MA English
Grand Valley State University 2010

BA English
Grand Valley State University 2003


Dr. Rapa's research rests at the intersection of developmental and educational psychologies. Broadly, Rapa studies how contextual, sociocultural, and sociopolitical factors--including socioeconomic disadvantage, structural constraints, and societal inequality--shape key developmental and psychological processes and promote or constrain adolescent's development and academic success. More specifically, Rapa's program of research examines (1) how adolescents critically analyze societal inequities and develop the motivation and agency to redress such inequities, or develop "critical consciousness"; (2) how youth navigate structural constraints or marginalizing systems (e.g., institutional racism, discrimination, stereotypes in school) to achieve academic success and well-being; and (3) how social identity threats shape development and how and social-psychological interventions can bolster academic performance and promote well-being.

Bowers, E. B., Bolding, C. W., Rapa, L. J., & Sandoval, A. M. (2021). Predicting contribution in high achieving Black and Latinx youth: The role of critical reflection, hope, and mentoring. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 681574. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.681574

Rapa, L. J., Bolding, C. W., & Jamil, F. M. (2020). (Re)Examining the effects of open classroom climate on the critical consciousness of preadolescent and adolescent youth. Advance online publication. Applied Developmental Science. doi: 10.1080/10888691.2020.1861946

Rapa, L. J., & Geldhof, G. J. (2020). Critical consciousness: New directions for understanding its development during adolescence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 70, 101187. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2020.101187

Rapa, L. J., Bolding, C. W., & Jamil, F. M. (2020). Development and initial validation of the short critical consciousness scale (CCS-S). Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 70, 101164. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2020.101164

Katsiyannis, A., Gage, N. A., Rapa, L. J., & MacSuga-Gage, A. S. (2020). Exploring the disproportionate use of restraint and seclusion among students with disabilities, boys, and students of color. Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 4(3), 271-278. doi: 10.1007/s41252-020-00160-z

Heberle, A. E., Rapa, L. J., & Farago, F. (2020). Critical consciousness in children and adolescents: A systematic review, critical assessment, and recommendations for future research. Psychological Bulletin, 146(6), 525-551. doi: 10.1037/bul0000230

Rapa, L. J., Diemer, M. A., & Roseth, C. J. (2020). Can a values-affirmation intervention bolster academic achievement and raise critical consciousness? Results from a small-scale field experiment. Social Psychology of Education, 23(2), 537-557. doi: 10.1007/s11218-020-09546-2

Courses Taught

EDF3350 - Adolescent Development
EDF8770 - Experimental and Non-Experimental Research Methods in Education
EDF9750 - Mixed Methods
EDF9010 - Learning Sciences Seminar I
EDF9020 - Learning Sciences Seminar II
EDHD9310 - Assets and Constraints: An Exploration of Socio-Contextual Factors Shaping Learning and Development

Research Interests

Adolescent Development
Critical Consciousness
Critical Theory
Issues of Equity & Inequity in Education
Marginalizing Systems & Youth Experiencing Marginalization
Research Design & Research Methods
Social Identity Threat
Social-Psychological Interventions used in Educational Contexts


Google Scholar


Center for the Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Educators