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 received her Ph.D. in 2008 in Developmental Psychology from Temple University. She is an associate professor and is also affiliated with Youth-Nex: The U.Va. Center to Promote Effective Youth Development.

Williams' research interests focus on race and ethnicity as social contexts for youth development. Specifically, her work examines ethnic identity as a form of positive youth development in the face of discrimination and other stressors, and ethnic identity in relation to youths' beliefs and behaviors. She also has applied interests in understanding diversity, peer relations, and positive outcomes in youth development programs and serves as the Associate Director of Research for the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP), a mentoring program for middle school girls.

In 2014, Williams was one of five young scholars in the country to be awarded the William T. Grant Foundation Award. The grant sponsors a five-year study of the benefits and challenges of ethnic diversity in middle schools sponsored. For this new work she will investigate diversity in early adolescent peer social networks.