Dr. Smith


Emilie P. Smith, Ph.D.

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Professor & Lead, The Youth Equity Project, Thematic Area on Marginalized Youth

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  • Doctor of Philosophy, Ecological/Community Psychology, Michigan State University
  • Master of Arts, Ecological/Community Psychology, Michigan State University
  • Bachelor of Arts with High Honors, Psychology and Afro American Studies


Dr. Emilie Smith is a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, the Inaugural College of Social Science Distinguished Senior Scholar, and Lead of MSU Youth Equity Project, the Interdisciplinary Thematic Area on Reducing Disparities and Increasing Opportunities for Marginalized Youth at Michigan State University.   Her community-engaged research seeks to understand the ways in which families, schools, and communities interact to affect positive youth development, and particularly, racial-ethnic identity and socialization among those of diverse socio-economic and geographic backgrounds. Her work involves rigorous, randomized trials and multilevel methods to examine family and community approaches that reduce disparities and increase equity drawing upon interdisciplinary partnerships.

Smith is a Fellow of Division 27 (Community) of the American Psychological Association.  She has served as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Community Psychology, on the editorial board of Journal of Adolescent Research, and as a consulting editor for numerous other journals.  She has served on the elected Executive Board of the Society for Prevention Research and currently serves on the elected Governing Council of the Society for Research on Child Development.  Smith is formerly the Janette McGarity Barber Professor and Department Head of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia. Her work at the local and national levels has demonstrated effective approaches to engaging often lower-income ethnic minority families into prevention research using group-based family and community, culturally-informed approaches.  This is epitomized in her co-edited book volume, Preventing Youth Violence in a Multicultural Society as well as in her co-edited Special Section of the top developmental journal, Child Development, on Positive Youth Development in Diverse and Global Contexts.  Her work on racial-ethnic identity and socialization among marginalized youth and social justice approaches to positive youth development is highly cited in the field. Smith has received over 20 million dollars in national and foundation funding for her research on promoting positive child and family development, along with numerous local and national awards for her research.  

Recent Publications:

  1. Smith, E. P, Murry, V. M., Yzaguirre, M., Gonzalez, C., Kas-Osoka, C. (2023).  Building the Bridge to Anti-racist, Equitable, and Inclusive Practices: Translational Developmental Science for a Diverse Society.  In Dawn P. Witherspoon and Gabriela L. Stein (Editors) Diversity and Developmental Science:  Bridging the Gaps Between Research, Practice, and Policy. Springer
  2. *Augustine, Danielle, Smith, Emilie Phillips, and Witherspoon, Dawn P. (2022).  African American Children’s Afterschool Connectedness, Racial-ethnic Pride, and Problem Behaviors. Journal of Youth Development, 17(4), 175-194.  DOI: 10.5195/jyd.2022.1137
  3. *Smith, E. P., Yzaguirre, M., Dwanyen, L., Wieling, E. (2022).  Culturally Relevant and Responsive Approaches to Promoting Positive Identity among Children.  Adversity and Resilience Science: Journal of Research and Practice.  Issue 2: Historic and Race‐Based Trauma: Culture and Identity Development, 209-224.
  4. *Yu, D. Smith, E. P. & Oshri, A. (2021) Exploring racial–ethnic pride and perceived barriers in positive youth development: A latent profile analysis. Applied Developmental Science, 25:4, 332- 350, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2019.1640607
  5. Smith, E. P., Mattar-Yunes, M.A., & Fradkin, C. (2021).  From Prevention and Intervention Research to Promotion of Positive Youth Development: Implications for Global Research and Practice with Diverse Youth. In R. Dimistrova and N. Wiium (Eds), Handbook of Positive Youth Development in a Global Context: Advancing Research, Practice, and Policy in a Global Context. New York: Springer.