Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D.

Research Scientist


Linda Charmaraman joined the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) in September 2006 as a National Institutes of Child and Human Development (NICHD) Postdoctoral Research Fellow for two years. She joined WCW and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) as a Research Scientist in 2008. In August 2006, she completed work toward her Ph.D. in Human Development and Education from the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Education. Her dissertation is entitled “Cognitive and Social Development Through Digital Media Construction in an Urban After-School Community.” Dr. Charmaraman's research interests center on bridging societal gaps, ranging from 21st century media literacies to positive urban youth development. She has written articles about urban adolescent development in such areas as youth agency, racial/ethnic identity, sexuality, social media, youth media cultures, bullying, and sexual harassment.

Collaborating with Teen Voices, Charmaraman was principal investigator of a multi-media strategy project, funded by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, to promote public awareness of the road to educational equity for girls of color. She and Rosa Lau produced a video to disseminate widely on social network sites to multiple audiences and educational stakeholders. The video entitled, “It’s Our Time: The empathy gap for girls of color” can be viewed on the project website (click here). Currently, they are screening it for local audiences and hope to disseminate it to broader audiences statewide and nationwide. She is also the principal investigator of the Media & Identity Project, funded by the WCW 35th Anniversary Fund, which will provide researchers with explicit procedures to design and implement accessible and culturally sensitive online surveys, with the main goal of targeting and recruiting diverse, hard-to-reach populations of youth nationwide using novel recruitment procedures. The study examines the role of televised media and social media in influencing how young people form their racial/ethnic/cultural, gender, sexual orientation, and political identities. If you are between the ages of 12-25, please (click here) to take the survey.

In April 2013, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced that Charmaraman was among a select group of 9 Junior Investigators to receive one of the 24-month grants from New Connections, a national program for historically underrepresented ethnic or racial minorities, first-generation college graduates, or individuals from low-income communities [click here]. The grant allows Dr. Charmaraman to examine ways media may be used to promote resiliency among adolescents who are vulnerable to internalizing negative views of themselves which are generally widespread in mainstream media. She will develop a complimentary qualitative interview study to the Media & Identity Project described above. The study aims to understand how media use affects adolescents’ sense of community and personal awareness of stigma and stereotype reflected in messages which can challenge the value of one’s social identities.

Partnering with local and out-of-state organizations, Charmaraman is co-principal investigator of the APT Validity Study II, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, which will focus on developing and testing a video-based training and online feedback system that prepares experienced users of the APT (Assessment of Program Practices Tool) to meet rigorous standards of accuracy for higher stakes purposes. Her current evaluation projects include the Kellogg Foundation funded evaluation of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum, led by Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D. Recently completed projects include the Planned Parenthood middle school comprehensive sex education evaluation; CDC-funded research on middle school bullying and sexual violence, collaborating with Nan Stein (WCW) and Dorothy Espelage (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign); the NICHD-funded Mixed Ancestry Measurement Pilot Project, led by Sumru Erkut (WCW); evaluating the West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology afterschool program; evaluating BE SAFE, a youth prevention initiative aiming to increase afterschool program staff and youth knowledge regarding sexual and mental health, substance abuse, and violence; evaluating Out of Harm’s Way, a Boston-based initiative attempting to eliminate violence as a barrier to learning and healthy development in middle school students. Charmaraman has published in both peer-reviewed journals and edited books (Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Youth & Adolescence, Journal of School Health, Learning, Media, & Technology; New Directions for Youth Development, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, Sociological Studies of Children & Youth, Journal of Family Issues) as well as publications intended for practitioner audiences (Afterschool Matters, School-Aged Notes, Journal of Youth Development).

Charmaraman was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Asian American Psychology at Wellesley College and a guest lecturer at Boston College. She received her B.A. from UC Berkeley with a double major in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and concentration in Cognition & the Learning Process. Her keen interest in improving the educational experience for overlooked urban youth developed from over a decade of volunteer work as an afterschool tutor, mentor, and coordinator in the Bay Area. Throughout her doctoral program, she was the coordinator of graduate student diversity recruitment in her department and an appointed student delegate of the Equity Committee. For over six years, she maintained a strong commitment to providing a forum for women artists and activists to be showcased by being a host/producer of a local "Womyn in the Arts" radio show, collaborating with the Empowering Women of Color Conference, and directing the Women of Color Film Festival in the Bay Area. She was also on the Advisory Board for the national women's film festival, Lunafest, which raises money for the Breast Cancer Fund and local nonprofit organizations. She was named the Susan McGee Bailey Research Scholar, July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013.