Adithi Rajagopalan is a fourth-year graduate student in the Child Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Penn State. She attended Johns Hopkins University as an undergraduate student, where she majored in Writing Seminars and Psychology, graduating in 2016. After graduation, Adithi attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she received two master’s degrees in Mental Health Counseling and Professional Counseling. Her research at UPenn focused on how community-based resources can contribute to the development of school-based interventions for low-income and high-risk youth. This work allowed Adithi to help create an interdisciplinary certificate at UPenn focused on Child Welfare. Adithi then worked at the Stanford Pediatric Pain Management Clinic as a research coordinator, where she examined the impacts of chronic pain and chronic health conditions on youth psychosocial well-being.
Adithi’s experiences at Hopkins, UPenn, and Stanford led her to appreciate the ways communities harness their strengths to best support children and adolescents, as well as provide resources to help them flourish. This interest led her to the Child Clinical program at Penn State, where she could continue to explore the intersection of psychology, policy, and communities to support positive outcomes for youth across different contexts. Working with her mentor, Dr. Martha Wadsworth, Adithi studies the intersection of minority identity, chronic stress, and coping. Adithi is particularly focused on exploring how chronically stressed youth adapt their coping behaviors depending on their context, as well as how community strengths can help facilitate this process. Recently, she completed her master’s project on how racial salience shapes stress-adapted coping, which she presented at the Society for Research in Child Development and the Society for Research in Adolescence. Adithi found that racial salience may be a promotive factor in the face of stressors, which suggests that designing interventions to engage racial salience could be crucial for youth experiencing stress.
As Adithi’s research evolves to focus on interventions for youth and parent outcomes, she hopes to continue working with under-served adolescents and their communities to develop culturally-informed interventions that support youth and their families within their contexts. She looks forward to a career integrating clinical work and policy development.