Marketa Burnett, HDFS Faculty Spotlight, August 2023

Marketa BurnettDr. Marketa Burnett is a developmental psychologist who joined UConn as an assistant professor of HDFS and Africana Studies in August 2023. Through her work she strives to disrupt deficit-based narratives of Black girls and Black families and instead center their strengths, resilience, and resistance. Marketa is a proud native of Greensboro, North Carolina– a city rich in Black history and tradition. On February 1, 1960, the Greensboro Four sparked a nationwide sit-in movement at Woolworth’s lunch counter. Today, it is home to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

In 2017, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology & African, African American, and Diaspora Studies from UNC Chapel Hill. She credits her time as a Ronald E. McNair scholar for introducing her to the many opportunities available to make meaningful social change through research. She would go on to complete her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at UNC Chapel Hill. With support from the Ford Foundation, she launched the I PERSIST Project (Identifying Predictors of Engagement, Resilience, Socialization, and Identity in STem). In this project, she interviewed both caregivers and adolescent Black girls to examine the developmental mechanisms that influence Black girls’ STEM identity and persistence over time. Marketa continued her training at the University of South Carolina as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow where she investigated how religious coping factors might shape identity development and well-being among Black families.

Currently, Marketa investigates the psychological and contextual factors that shape Black girls’ identity development and their educational trajectories. In addition, she explores the ways Black family processes (e.g., socialization) mitigate the effects of educational inequality and promote resilience and resistance among Black youth. Marketa sees her research as storytelling. She intentionally partners with Black youth and families in the co-construction of knowledge to accurately represent their stories and center their ideas and solutions.

Outside of work, Marketa enjoys watching game shows (especially Jeopardy!), buying more books than she has time to read, visiting local wineries, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

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