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 About Dr. Valerie N. Adams 

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 Professional Bio 

Valerie Adams-Bass is a developmental psychologist who earned her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. She focuses on adolescent development. Dr. Adams-Bass is an Assistant Professor of Youth and Social Innovation in the Department of Human Services at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education and Human Development. She is a faculty affiliate with the Youth-Nex Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, the Center for Race and Public Education in the South at the Curry School and she is an affiliate faculty member of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative with the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Bass’ research examines how Black children and youth see themselves by observing and investigating what relationships exist among racial socialization, racial identity, developmental processes, social and academic outcomes. She is particularly interested in how Black adolescents interpret negative media stereotypes and whether the messages presented are internalized or buffered as a result of racial socialization experiences. Her research on stereotype media images resulted in her being awarded a Ruth Landes Memorial Fellowship.


She has served as an International Foundation for Education and Self Help (IFESH) Volunteer Teacher for Africa in Katima Mulilo teaching future teachers how to teach children across cultures and as a Rotary International Ambassador Scholar, in Durban South Africa working on a social psychology research project with a group of freeborn late adolescents to publish a book of short stories titled, Ukudla Kwendlebe- Food for the Ear.


Dr. Adams-Bass has presented at numerous professional conferences including American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Psychological Association (APA), and Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), the Teacher’s College Winter Roundtable, the National Council of Black Studies (NCBS), the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) and the Academy of Educational Studies (AES) Critical Questions in Education Conference.

As a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School Coordinator for the University of Pennsylvania, she is featured in the Freedom School documentary that debuted on PBS stations and won a coveted Telly award in 2011. Dr. Adams-Bass has been an invited guest for the School Times radio show on WURD 900AM and the public television show Three Guys Don’t Lie on WYBE in Philadelphia.

Dr. Adams-Bass believes in connecting research to practice. Discussing topics from Black History to parenting during the CoVid-19 Pandemic, she has been featured in articles by CNNSuccessful Black Parenting Magazine and Your Teen Magazine. While serving as a lead consultant with the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey’s Center for Youth Development, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh she focused on preparing youth development professionals and librarians to work with racially and ethnically diverse youth. She is currently an Advisory Board member of the Center for Black Educator Development. An applied researcher, she has spent her career conducting research and working with urban African American and Latino adolescents, and facilitating and training adults and youth on college preparation, science, civic engagement, and life skills curriculum and activities.

 Research Interests 

Dr. Adams-Bass’ research interests are how racial socialization and racial identity influence the identity development process of Black adolescents. She also investigates how racial socialization and racial identity relate to the interpretation of stereotyped Black media images and what relationships exist between exposure to these images and the body image and self esteem of Black youth. She is most interested in examining how racial/ethnic socialization experiences are related to the process of identity development, the social and the academic experiences of Black children and youth and how media exposure influences inter-personal interactions and self concept.


Through Valerie N. Adams & Associates Inc, Dr. Adams-Bass consults nationally and internationally with foundations, community organizations, educational institutions, and Non Government Organizations.

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