Joanna Lee Williams

Associate Professor


  • Ph.D., Temple University, 2008
  • M.Ed., University of Pennsylvania, 2001
  • B.A., Brown University, 1997

Research Interests

Joanna Lee Williams is an associate professor in the Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Policy. She is a faculty affiliate with Youth-Nex: The U.Va. Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, and with the Center for Race and Public Education in the South. She earned her M.S.Ed. in human development from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Temple University.

Williams studies race and ethnicity as social contexts for youth development. With support from the William T. Grant Foundation she is investigating issues of social network equity in racially diverse middle schools. She has also studied ethnic identity as a form of positive youth development and previously served as Associate Director of Research for the Young Women Leaders Program, a mentoring program for middle school girls. Williams is a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Science of Adolescent Development and its Applications and is a contributor to the Youth-Nex “Re-making Middle School” Initiative.