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Faculty/Staff Profiles

Luke Rapa

Assistant Professor

Office: 409-F Tillman Hall
Phone: (864) 656-3872
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.

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
EDHD 9310 Assets and Constraints: An Exploration of Socio-Contextual Factors Shaping Learning and Development

Research Interests

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


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