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Aryn Dotterer

Aryn Dotterer, PhD

Assistant Professor

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Aryn Dotterer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University. Dr. Dotterer earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State and prior to joining the faculty at USU, she was an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. Her research is concerned with family and school factors related to children’s and adolescents’ school engagement and academic achievement. She is particularly interested in parenting practices, parent-child relationships, and racial/ethnic discrimination. Dr. Dotterer teaches courses on child development, parenting, and family diversity. She has been recognized for excellence in family research (Center for Families, Purdue University) and has received funds to support teaching innovations in family diversity (Diversity Resource Office, Purdue University). Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her two young daughters and husband, exercising, cooking, reading, and is an avid listener of This American Life.


  • PhD in Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, 2006
  • MS in Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, 2002
  • BS in Psychology, Wayne State University

Research Interests

School And Family Experiences (SAFE) study: This short-term longitudinal study, funded in part by the Kinley Trust (grant title: Sociocultural Factors and School Transitions during Early Adolescence, Dr. Aryn Dotterer, PI), explores the associations among sociocultural (e.g., discrimination, racial/ethnic identity), family (e.g., parent-child relationships) and school (e.g., transition to middle school, school engagement) factors on youth’s academic development. Data were collected from 274 urban adolescents at school twice during the school year and 123 parents participated in one survey assessment. I am currently examining discrepancies in parent and adolescent reports of parental knowledge, correlates of parent-adolescent discrepancies (relationship quality, self-disclosure), and links to adolescents’ academic achievement.

Parenting and Academic Trajectories: My research has examined trajectories of school readiness, school engagement, academic motivation, and academic achievement from childhood through adolescence and has focused on parenting and family correlates of academic trajectories. For example, I have examined links among parenting (maternal sensitivity and negative behavior/intrusiveness), SES, and school readiness and evaluated how these paths differed by race. I have also examined academic growth trajectories and family relationships among African American children and adolescents. My current work in this area is on the longitudinal links between parent involvement (home-based involvement, school-based involvement, and academic socialization) and academic achievement and explores variations by adolescent race/ethnicity. Additionally, I am beginning a new project to explore the parenting practices that may buffer against the negative effects of racial/ethnic discrimination on youths’ academic outcomes. I am eager to work with prospective graduate students who have interests in parenting, education, and racial/ethnic diversity.

Families and STEM: I am interested in the roles that families play in STEM interest and achievement among racial/ethnic minority students. I am currently exploring whether STEM socialization is a distinct form of parent involvement as well as the benefits of STEM socialization, parent involvement, and out-of-school time STEM activities on STEM interest and achievement. I also hope to translate these research findings into information parents can use to support and foster their child’s interest and achievement in STEM.