Brendesha Tynes wins prestigious education award

Dr. Brendesha Tynes

Dr. Brendesha Tynes

Brendesha Tynes, associate professor of education and psychology, will receive the Early Career Award at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), which takes place April 16–20 in Chicago. The honor is among the most significant awards given to education scholars and acknowledges exceptional bodies of work conducted in the first 10 years of a career.

Tynes’ research focuses on the role of the internet in child and adolescent development and the use of mobile devices for academic and socio-emotional learning. She is also interested in digital literacy interventions. She holds degrees from Columbia University, Northwestern University and the University of California, Los Angeles.

AERA’s Early Career Award recognizes Tynes’ research on the cultural assets youth possess that may buffer them against the negative outcomes typically associated with race-related cyberbullying. Her current longitudinal study, funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, is the first of its kind and has consistently found that online victimization experiences related to race are among the most common for adolescents of color.

“Early in her career, Dr. Tynes rose to be a leader in this complicated, multidisciplinary field of research,” says USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. “AERA’s award not only gives Dr. Tynes the recognition she deserves but also extends the reach and impact of her work, thereby ensuring a brighter future for so many young lives.”

Her research team’s more recent findings have shown that online racial discrimination is also related to increased depressive symptoms, anxiety and externalizing behaviors (for example, aggression and rule-breaking) as well as decreased academic motivation for adolescents of color. Findings also show that online racial discrimination is predictive of academic motivation over and above traditional experiences. Focusing specifically on Latinos, a recent manuscript published in Developmental Psychology reveals that individual online racial discrimination is associated with externalizing behaviors, but not for students with higher levels of ethnic identity exploration. Students with this cultural asset are less likely to turn to deviant behavior when faced with ethnicity-related stress.

“Early in her career, Dr. Tynes rose to be a leader in this complicated, multidisciplinary field of research,” says USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. “AERA’s award not only gives Dr. Tynes the recognition she deserves but also extends the reach and impact of her work, thereby ensuring a brighter future for so many young lives.”

This spring, Tynes has also received the Spencer Foundation’s Midcareer Award, which will allow her to design a mobile intervention to enhance adolescents’ ability to cope with these experiences. Tynes will pilot her intervention during the 2015–16 academic year while at the University of Michigan.

“If you are studying discrimination in 2015, you have to look at online experiences,” says Tynes. “I’m hoping to enhance students’ coping skills and ultimately give them a toolkit to be able to critique some of the race-related messages that they see online.”

She previously received the 2012 Early Career Contribution Award from the AERA Committee on Scholars of Color and was named in the 2010 cohort of Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s top ten scholars under 40.

Tynes will be honored at the Awards Luncheon on Saturday, April 18, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.