Introducing New Graduate Student Lexi LaChappa

August 9, 2023 - Shelly DeJong

Name: Lexi LaChappa (she/her/hers)

Hometown: Harrison, MI

Undergrad: University of Michigan '20 / Psychology


Tell us about your background/experience!

I am a first-generation graduate from a diverse background that shaped my passion for social justice and inspired much of my research career. Growing up in rural Mid Michigan, I may not have been familiar with research, but I always had a strong desire to support the educational and socioeconomic achievement of youth and young adults. Once I began my studies at U-M, I was fortunate to dive head-first into several transformative research and community engagement opportunities that changed how I see the world and set the course for my career. Since completing my undergraduate degree in 2020, I have continued to dedicate myself to youth development through research as a clinical research assistant in the Psychiatry Department at Michigan Medicine. This background has bolstered my commitment to empowering communities and serving young people, and has ultimately driven me to pursue eco/community psychology at MSU.

Why grad school?

Throughout my undergrad and professional experiences, I have only begun to explore the vast knowledge of community psychology theory, history, and best practices. Pursuing grad school at this respected program grants me a unique opportunity to dive deeper into advanced theories and research methods. I am most excited to learn alongside experienced mentors and peers who will guide and challenge me. Moreover, the hands-on experience of collaborating with community partners and stakeholders will empower me to be a strong listener and effective partner. Beyond grad school, I aspire to reach back into the nontraditional student community to support future psychologists and contribute to the diversification of the field.

What do you hope to research while you're here?

With the guidance of Dr. Ignacio Acevedo and his Community-AID Lab team, I aim to research the effects of tailored integrated student support programs on diverse and underrepresented student communities. More generally, I am interested in youth-focused program development and evaluation to understand how to best leverage the resources of communities to support the overall wellness and achievement of young people and their families.

What do you love about Eco/Community Psychology?

I love eco/community psychology for its focus on meeting the community where it is and involving community stakeholders in research and evaluation processes. The collaborative nature of the field allows for incorporating knowledge from various fields, involving experts from a diverse range of disciplines, and learning from societies that deserve to be heard more often in academia. I feel this approach creates endless opportunities for education and growth, both as researchers and as a community.

In your free time, what do you like to do?

All of my favorite moments involve something like catching up on internet culture, having movie nights with my partner and friends, egging on my cat's zoomies, doing puzzles with my grandparents, or spending family time by the lake!

Anything else you'd like to mention?

This wolverine is excited to start repping green and white!