Nicole M. Stephens is the Jeanne Brett Chair in Negotiations and Professor of Management and Organizations. She received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University and her B.A. from Williams College. As a social and cultural psychologist, her research explores the ways in which the social world systematically influences how people understand themselves and their actions. Her specific focus is on how social class, race, ethnicity, and gender shape people's everyday life experiences, as well as important life outcomes such as educational attainment and health.
One line of Professor Stephens's research examines how experiences in different social class environments affect the ways in which people understand the choices that they make in their daily lives. Another line of research investigates how first-generation college students, from diverse cultural backgrounds, adjust in response to the mainstream culture of higher education. Together her research illuminates how seemingly neutral assumptions about what it means to be a "good," "normal," or "educated" person reflect the culturally-specific perspectives of majority groups in society, and thereby contribute to social inequality. The underlying goal of this research is to develop more diverse and effective schools, workplaces, and communities.
Professor Stephens is a member of various interdisciplinary working groups that strive to achieve this goal: The Bias Interrupters Working Group, which seeks to reduce bias against women and racial minorities in the workplace; the Harvard Higher Education Leaders Forum, which seeks to solve problems in higher education through evidence-based solutions; and The Mindset Scholars Network, which seeks to expand educational opportunity through the science of psychological intervention.
Professor Stephens's work is published in leading academic journals such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Psychological Science. In recognition of her work, Professor Stephens has been awarded the Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Award, as well as the APA Award for Early Career Contribution to Social Psychology and the Louise Kidder Early Career Award.