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Aryn Dotterer

Aryn M. Dotterer, PhD

Associate Professor

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Aryn M. Dotterer is an Associate 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.  Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation.  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). Dr. Dotterer teaches courses on child development, parenting, and family diversity. 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

Parenting and Academic Trajectories

My research has examined trajectories of school readiness, school engagement, 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

My interest in underrepresented students also let me to explore STEM learning and outcomes.  My current research project IDEAAS (Identity Development Evaluation with African American Science Students) is in collaboration with Eric Deemer at Purdue University and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF:  HRD-1661054, Dotterer PI; HRD-1661201, Deemer PI).  In this longitudinal study, we are examining the development of racial identity and science identity among African American STEM majors.  Our work will explore mediators and moderators of identity development including stereotype threat, racial bias, campus climate, and faculty mentoring. 

Finally, 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.  

Dr. Dotterer is accepting graduate students.