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Dr. Sapna Cheryan
Department of Psychology
University of Washington


Associate Professor, University of Washington, 2014-present

Assistant Professor, University of Washington, 2007-2014


Ph.D., Psychology, Stanford University, 2007

B.A., Psychology (Honors)/American Studies (Honors), Northwestern University, 1999


Cheryan, S., Cameron, J. S., Katagiri, Z., & Monin, B. (in press). Manning up: Threatened men compensate by disavowing feminine preferences and embracing masculine attributes. Social Psychology [Special issue: Men and masculinity].

Cheryan, S., Master, A., & Meltzoff, A. N. (in press). Cultural stereotypes as gatekeepers: Increasing girls’ interest in male-dominated STEM fields by diversifying stereotypes. Frontiers in Psychology.

Master, A., Cheryan, S., & Meltzoff, A. N. (forthcoming). Motivation and identity. In K. Wentzel & D. Miele (Eds.), Handbook of Motivation at School.

Plaut, V. C., Cheryan, S., & Garnett, F. G. (2015). New frontiers in diversity research: Theoretical and practical implications. In M. Mikulincer and P. R. Shaver (Editors-in-Chief). APA Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology.  Washington DC: APA Books.

Master, A., Cheryan, S., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2014). Reducing adolescent girls’ concerns about STEM stereotypes: When do female teachers matter? International Review of Social Psychology [Special issue: Stereotype threat in children], 27, 79-102.

Cheryan, S., Ziegler, S. A., Plaut, V. C., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2014). Designing classrooms to maximize student achievement. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1, 4-12.

Siy, J. O., & Cheryan, S. (2013). When compliments fail to flatter: American individualism and responses to positive stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 87-102.

Cheryan, S., Plaut, V.C., Handron, C., & Hudson, L. (2013). The stereotypical computer scientist: Gendered media representations as a barrier to inclusion for women. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 69, 58-71.

Wang, J., Minervino, C., & Cheryan, S. (2013). Generational differences in vulnerability to identity denial: The role of group identification. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 16, 601-617.

Cheryan, S., Drury, B. J., & Vichayapai, M. (2013). Enduring influence of stereotypical computer science role models on women's academic aspirations. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 37, 72-29.

Cheryan, S. (2012). Understanding the paradox in math-related fields: Why do some gender gaps remain while others do not? [Commentary on Gunderson, Rameriz, and Beilock's "The role of parents and teachers in the development of gender-related math attitudes."] Sex Roles, 66, 184-190.

Cheryan, S., Siy, J. O., Vichayapai, M., Drury, B.J., & Kim, S. (2011). Do female and male role models who embody STEM stereotypes hinder women's anticipated success in STEM? Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 656-664.

Drury, B. J., Siy, J. O., & Cheryan, S. (2011). When do female role models benefit women? The importance of differentiating recruitment from retention in STEM. [Commentary on Dasgupta's "Ingroup experts and peers as social vaccines who inoculate the self-concept: The stereotype inoculation model."] Psychological Inquiry, 22, 265-269.

Guendelman, M., Cheryan, S. & Monin, B. (2011). Fitting in but getting fat: Identity threat as an explanation for dietary decline among U.S. immigrant groups. Psychological Science, 22, 959-967.

Cheryan, S., Meltzoff, A. N., & Kim, S. (2011). Classrooms matter: The design of virtual classrooms influences gender disparities in computer science classes. Computers & Education, 57, 1825-1835.

Wang, J., Siy, J. O., & Cheryan, S. (2011). Racial discrimination and mental health among Asian American youth. In F.T., Leong, L. Juang, D. Qin, & H. Fitzgerald (Eds), Asian American and Pacific Islander Children and Mental Health, Volume 1: Development and Context (pp. 219-242). Santa Barbara: Greenwood.

Cheryan, S., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2011).  Model minority.  In S. M. Caliendo & C. D. McIlwain (Eds), Routledge Companion to Race & Ethnicity (pp. 173-176).  New York: Routledge.

Cheryan, S. & Plaut, V. C. (2010). Explaining underrepresentation: A theory of precluded interest. Sex Roles, 63, 475-488.

Cheryan, S., Plaut, V. C., Davies, P., & Steele, C. M. (2009). Ambient belonging: How stereotypical environments impact gender participation in computer science. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 1045-1060.

Kaiser, C. R., Drury, B. J., Spalding, K. E., Cheryan, S., & O’Brien, L. T. (2009). The ironic consequences of Obama’s election: Decreased support for social justice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 556-569.

Adams, G., Edkins, V., Lacka, D., Pickett, K., & Cheryan, S. (2008). Teaching about racism: Pernicious implications of the standard portrayal, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 30, 1-13.

Cheryan, S., & Tsai, J. L. (2006). Ethnic Identity. In F. T. Leong, A. G. Inman, A. Ebreo, L. Yang, L. Kinoshita & M. Fu (Eds.), Handbook of Asian American Psychology. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage.

Cheryan, S., & Monin, B. (2005). Where are you really from? Asian Americans and identity denial. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(5), 717-730.

Cheryan, S., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2000). When positive stereotypes threaten intellectual performance: The psychological hazards of “model minority” status. Psychological Science, 11, 399-402.

Grants & Fellowships

National Science Foundation, Double isolation: Social pressures and gender disparities in computer science, PI: Sapna Cheryan, 2014-2017, $596,747

Sloan Foundation, What explains gender differences in computing? A critical review of research on computing in the context of other STEM fields, PI: Sapna Cheryan, 2014, $45,987

NSF Career-Life Balance Supplements, PI, 2012, $18,175

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Supplement to CAREER Award, 2010-2011, $18,000

National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Transforming the image of computing to increase female participation in computer science, PI: Sapna Cheryan, 2009-2014, $546,017

National Science Foundation, Transforming engineering through PEERS: Building a better experience for underrepresented students, PI: Phyllis Wise, co-PIs: Eve Riskin, Joyce Yen, Sapna Cheryan, Sheryl Burgstahler, 2009-2014, $999,998

UW Royalty Research Fund, The influence of stereotypical and non-stereotypical role models on women’s interest in computer science, PI: Sapna Cheryan, 2008-2009, $38,297

UW Institute for Ethnic Studies in the United States, Identity threat: An explanation for dietary decline among second generation immigrants to the U.S., PI: Sapna Cheryan, 2008-2009, $10,400

Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) Teaching Fellowship, Stanford University, 2006

Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research Graduate Dissertation Fellowship, Stanford University, 2006

Graduate Research Opportunities (GRO) Research Grant, Stanford University, 2006

American Psychological Association (APA) Dissertation Research Award, 2005

Norman Anderson Graduate Student Grant, Stanford University, 2005

National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowship, 2000–2004

Departmental Teaching Award, Stanford University, 2004

Robert Byrd Scholarship, Northwestern University, 1995–1999


Undergraduate Mentor Award, University of Washington, 2010

Centennial Teaching Assistant Award, Stanford University, 2006

Marjorie Lozoff Graduate Essay Prize, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Stanford University, 2005

Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Travel Award, 2005

Departmental Teaching Award, Stanford University, 2004

Phi Beta Kappa, Northwestern University, 1999

William Hunt Award for Outstanding Psychological Research, Northwestern University, 1999

William Exum Writing Award, Northwestern University, 1998

Selected Media Mentions

How stereotypes keep women from computer science, NPR, June 2014

Tech shift: More women in computer science classes, San Francisco Chronicle, February 2014

Scientist = geek is a dangerous equation, NPR, October 2013

Why aren’t women interested in computer science? The Wall Street Journal, September 2013

Nerd stereotype may drive women away from computer science, Popular Science, June 2013

Does this green card make me look fat? Immigrants pack on the pounds in America, Vancouver Sun, May 2011

Do immigrant kids get fat to fit in? Time, May 2011

Immigrants eat American junk food to fit in, U.S. News and World Report, May 2011

Program makes math easy as 1, 2, 3, Boston Globe, June 2010

Out of the loop in Silicon Valley, New York Times, April 2010

Love the work, hate the Star Trek figurines, Boston Globe, January 2010

Geeks drive girls out of computer science, MSNBC, December 2009

Star Trek stops women from becoming computer scientists, Wired, December 2009

Prototypes as gatekeepers: Researchers study the consequences for gender participation in computer sciences, NPR, April 2008

Invited Talks

Association of Psychological Science, May 2015

Seattle Town Hall, Women's Funding Alliance event, December, 2014

University of British Columbia, Social Seminar, November, 2014

European Association of Social Psychology, July, 2014

Stanford University, Social Seminar, March 2014.

Group Processes and Intergroup Relatioins pre-conference, 15th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, February 2014

Portland State Distinguished Speaker, Department Colloquium, January 2014

Wesleyan University, Department Colloquium, April 2013

Tufts University, Diversity Science Colloquium, April 2013

Board of Trustees of the Russell Sage Foundation, February 2013

Russell Sage Foundation, Scholars Seminar, February 2013

14th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Press conference, January 2013

Princeton University, Social Psychology Seminar, November 2012

Yale University, Social Lunch, October 2012

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Conference, Seattle, WA, February 2012

Women in Engineering Proactive Network (Keynote address), Bellevue, WA, June 2011

Stereotypes of computer scientists and their consequences for women's participation. Allen L. Edwards Department of Psychology public lecture, University of Washington, February 2011

National Science Foundation, February 2011

Microsoft Research, December 2010

Annual Meeting of the National Center for Women in Information Technology, Social Science Advisory Board, May 2010

Stereotypes as gatekeepers. TEDx Conference, Seattle, WA, April 2010

LEAD conference (NSF-funded national workshop for department chairs), University of Washington, July 2008

Berkeley College and the Asian American Cultural Center, Yale University, March 2008

Yale School of Management Summer Camp: Identity & Organizations, June 2007

Computer Science and Engineering faculty, Stanford University, April 2007

Stereotypes as gatekeepers: Increasing the representation of women in computer science. Google, Mountain View, CA, April 2007

Professional Experience

User Research Intern, Adobe Systems Inc., San Jose, CA, 2002 - 2007

Statistical Consultant, HopeLab, Palo Alto, CA, 2003 - 2006

Management Consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bethesda, MD, 1999 - 2001

Professional Affiliations

Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP)

American Psychological Society (APS)

American Psychological Association (APA)

Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA)

National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Social Science Advisory Board