Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Research interests include adolescent identity and agency, primarily in the areas of social and televised media, racial/ethnic identity, sexuality, bullying, sexual harassment, peer networks, civic engagement, and positive youth development programs emphasizing girls and underrepresented young people
Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., is a research scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) and a former National Institutes of Child and Human Development (NICHD) postdoctoral research fellow at WCW. In addition to her research interest in adolescent identity and development, she has emerging interests in developing culturally-inclusive online health interventions for vulnerable adolescents and young adults, particularly racial/ethnic and sexual minority populations.
Since joining WCW in 2006, Charmaraman has conducted qualitative and mixed-method research as well as program evaluations in collaboration with the National Institute on Out of School Time (NIOST), the Kellogg-funded National SEED Project evaluation study, the CDC-funded bullying and sexual harassment study, the NICHD-funded Mixed Ancestry Project, and the Planned Parenthood-funded multi-year impact evaluation of Get Real, a comprehensive middle school sexual education program.
Additionally, Charmaraman is a New Connections grantee with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she was invited to conduct a national study that addressed using technology to address health disparities. Read her post about how her work relates to the national health agenda of reducing stress on the Foundation’s Culture of Health blog. Charmaraman is also part of the inaugural 14-member cohort of the Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences -- a program funded by the National Institutes for Health that is jointly based at Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University.
Charmaraman is the principal investigator of the Media and Identity Study, which is funded by a Robert Wood Johnson New Connections Grant and the WCW 35th Anniversary Fund. Charmaraman used innovative electronic methods to identify hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations of youth nationwide to participate in social science research. Her research team has published a book chapter entitled, “Surviving and thriving: Women of color cultivating virtual social capital. As an ongoing study, they are examining the roles of televised media, social media, and civic engagement in influencing how young people form their racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, sexual orientation, and political identities. The team’s current work is examining election and post-election attitudes, media, socio-political attitudes, and mental health.
Partnering with local and out-of-state organizations, Charmaraman was co-principal investigator of the APT Validity Study II: Improving rater reliability, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, which focused on developing and testing a video-based training and online feedback system for youth development professionals and evaluators that prepares them to use the APT (Assessment of Program Practices Tool) to meet rigorous standards of accuracy for higher stakes purposes.
As principal investigator of the APT Validity Study III: Reducing cultural bias in youth program quality observations, funded by William T. Grant Foundation, Charmaraman will lead a team that will improve the use of APT by acknowledging cultural biases that can arise when youth programs of varying quality levels are rated by youth professionals and master scorers with diverse backgrounds and experience levels.
Charmaraman was the 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 the Equity4Girls website and 30 minute documentary video entitled, “It’s Our Time: The empathy gap for girls of color,” which was disseminated across social media, screened locally at Wellesley College by many departments including WCW, Harambee House, Women and Gender Studies, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time. It was also shown at Northeastern University and presented nationally at the American Psychological Association Annual Meeting in 2014.
Awards & Recognition
In 2012-2013, Charmaraman was named the Susan McGee Bailey Research Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women. In 2014, she was an invited keynote speaker at the Ford Foundation-funded Youth Sexuality Media Forum in Detroit, MI, focusing on how to empower families, schools, peers, and media regarding youth sexuality. In 2016, she delivered the opening keynote address at the biannual Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Conference in Seattle, WA, which provided an overview of social media use in vulnerable populations to an audience of educators, medical practitioners, and public relations professionals.
Charmaraman has conducted research and evaluation on projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, William T. Grant Foundation, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Kellogg Foundation, Schott Foundation for Public Education, United Way, Borghesani Community Foundation, and AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.
Charmaraman was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Asian American Psychology at Wellesley College and has guest lectured at Boston College and Northeastern University. Mentoring undergraduate and graduate students has always been a passion of hers, evidenced by her dedication to training, collaborating, presenting, and publishing academic papers with students from multiple institutions. 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.
Charmaraman has cultivated research collaborations across institutions, including the Center for Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital, Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) at Seattle Children’s Hospital, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Department of Educational Psychology, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has joined two scholarly working groups focused on youth’s digital media and wellbeing and negative media portrayals, which came out of the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia, sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, Digital Media & Developing Minds Conference in Irvine, CA.
During her graduate school years in the Bay Area, Charmaraman 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. 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.
Charmaraman has published in both peer-reviewed journals and edited books (Journal of Adolescent Health, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 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).