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Dr. Harrell-Levy at the campus nittany lion statue
Title: Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Office: 207 H Main Building
Phone: 610-892-1277
E-mail: mkh23@psu.edu

Marinda Kathryn Harrell-Levy received B.S. degrees in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Maryland and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at Auburn University.  The main emphasis of her research is the examination of adolescent development within the context of close adult relationships. More specifically, her research addresses identity development processes occurring within relationships with parents and teachers. This includes investigating the risk and protective factors in teen’s home and school environments that enhance later identity development. These risk and protective factors are important given her interest in the development of positive social, academic, and health outcomes among ecologically and developmentally vulnerable adolescents.  Of recent interest is the intersection between adolescent identity formation and teachers’ mentoring and pedagogical processes in the classroom.

In addition to conducting basic research, Dr. Harrell-Levy has in past been involved in the evaluation of the effectiveness of relationships education for adolescents.  Educating parents and teachers to communicate effectively with their adolescents about healthy relationships is an important subset of this research agenda and the key area of her outreach.

Because of this interest in using research and teaching to protect those most vulnerable, Dr. Harrell-Levy regards teaching as a critical responsibility as a faculty member. She utilizes a transformative approach that seeks to attend to the overall development of her students.  Through engaging them in a thoughtful learning process, both in class and through outside research activities, she hopes to model the type of transformative action that can lead to successful practice in HDFS.

Recent Publications and Presentations

Harrell-Levy, M.K., & Kerpelman, J. L. (2010). Identity Process and Transformative Pedagogy: Teachers as Agents of Identity Formation. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research,10 (2), 76 – 91

Kerpelman, J. L., Pittman, J. F., Adler-Baeder, F., Stringer, K., Eryigit, S., Saint-Eloi Cadely, H., & Harrell-Levy, M. (2010). What adolescents bring to and learn from relationships education classes: Does social address matter? Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 9(2), 95-112.

Kerpelman, J. L., Pittman, J. F., Saint-Eloi Cadely, H., Tuggle, F. J., & Harrell-Levy, M.K. (in press). Identity and intimacy during adolescence:  Connections among identity styles, romantic attachment and identity commitment. Journal of Adolescence.

Harrell-Levy, M.K. & Kerpelman, J.L. (2011, November). Transformative Social Justice: At-Risk Students’ Perceptions of Empowerment. Poster presentation at the meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, FL.

Moving the Conversation about Healthy Adolescent Romantic Relationships Forward” (July, 2012). Satellite Conference, Alabama Department of Public Health, Montgomery, Alabama.

Bridging the Great Divide: Parents Communicating with Teens about Healthy Relationships"  (April, 2012). Co-presentation with Caroline May and Alyssa Etwainn at the 9th Annual conference of the Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Birmingham, Alabama.