UCLA Anderson Professor of Management and Organizations Jenessa Shapiro (1980–2018) held a joint appointment in the UCLA Department of Psychology. Shapiro’s research focused on modern forms of discrimination that emerge in organizational contexts and how stereotypes can undermine performance.
One of her research goals involved developing and testing interventions for the phenomenon of stereotype threat — a distracting concern about the fear of being seen through the lens of a negative stereotype. “When someone knows they can be negatively stereotyped, this concern is distracting and takes away from their ability to perform important tasks that require undivided attention,” said Shapiro. “As a result, being underrepresented in a classroom or boardroom can bring on these distracting concerns and ultimately cause someone to underperform relative to his or her abilities.”
Among Shapiro’s other research goals was to understand how prejudice and discrimination manifest in modern organizational contexts. Although overt forms of discrimination such as explicitly turning someone away from a job because of gender, race/ethnicity or other identity are rare, this does not mean that discrimination has ended. “One challenge is to understand what modern forms of discrimination look like and how they manifest, so that the best interventions can be developed and implemented,” she said.
Shapiro’s commitment to diversity issues is reflected in her service to UCLA, where she was co-chairperson of the Riordan Programs’ advisory board, served as faculty sponsor for the Underrepresented Graduate Students in Psychology group and was a member of the psychology department’s Diversity Issues Committee.
Her research received grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Shapiro earned the Eric and E Juline Excellence in Research Award and the SAGE Young Scholars Award for Significant Promise in Early-Career Research. She was honored for her work in the classroom, receiving the UCLA Anderson George Robbins Teaching Award. In 2016, she was named among Poets and Quants’ Best 40 Under 40 Professors.
She authored more than 30 research articles and often spoke at conferences and with organizations as she set out to understand — and help others understand — modern manifestations of discrimination, as well as provide best practices and interventions to reduce discrimination.
Ph.D. Social Psychology, 2008, Arizona State University
B.A. Psychology, 2002, Rice University