Dr. Jennifer Thomas is a developmental psychologist who is an expert in children’s and adolescents’ friendships and peer relationships. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program. Dr. Thomas earned a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Purdue University and an MA in psychology from Wake Forest University. She teaches courses in Developmental Psychology, Adolescent Psychology, Research Methods, the Psychology of Gender, and Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies. Dr. Thomas was a recipient of the Carpenter Outstanding Teaching Award.
Dr. Thomas has several areas of research interest. First, she studies how friendships influence children’s and adolescents’ adjustment and prosocial behaviors and connections between adults’ friendships and their wellbeing. Her interdisciplinary research interests include factors associated with emerging adults’ engagement in gender-based and political activism. Dr. Thomas, along with Dr. Newell, also examine women’s physiological reactions to stress to better understand their resilience versus vulnerability to sexism. Dr. Thomas also engages in the scholarship of teaching and learning. For example, she studies mechanisms that foster metacognitive processes and student achievement.
Dr. Thomas is the advisor for Psi Chi, the international psychology honor’s society, and the Wilkes Feminist Alliance.