Dr. Shannon Brady is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University, working primarily with Dr. Greg Walton. Broadly, her research seeks to understand how people make meaning of themselves and their environments and the consequences of this meaning-making along a wide array of outcomes including well-being, achievement, relationships, and health. Recent work has focused on the consequences of explicit messages sent by institutions, especially in education and especially for people from groups that are negatively stereotyped, underrepresented, or marginalized in today’s society. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Lewis & Clark College, a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from Black Hills State University, and a Ph.D. in Developmental and Psychological Sciences from Stanford University. Prior to graduate school, she taught middle and elementary school on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In the fall, she will be an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Wake Forest University.

Honors & Awards

  • Frank Costin Memorial Award for Excellence (best poster award), 36th Annual National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (2014)
  • Student Recognition Award – Service, Stanford Graduate School of Education (2013)
  • Abigail VanBuren Fellowship, Stanford Graduate School of Education (2011 - 2012)

Professional Education

  • Master of Science, Black Hills State College, Curriculum and Instruction (2011)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Lewis & Clark College, Curriculum and Instruction (2006)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, ED-PHD (2017)

Stanford Advisors

2016-17 Courses

All Publications

  • Teaching a lay theory before college narrows achievement gaps at scale PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Yeager, D. S., Walton, G. M., Brady, S. T., Akcinar, E. N., Paunesku, D., Keane, L., Kamentz, D., Ritter, G., Duckworth, A. L., Urstein, R., Gomez, E. M., Markus, H. R., Cohen, G. L., Dweck, C. S. 2016; 113 (24): E3341-E3348


    Previous experiments have shown that college students benefit when they understand that challenges in the transition to college are common and improvable and, thus, that early struggles need not portend a permanent lack of belonging or potential. Could such an approach-called a lay theory intervention-be effective before college matriculation? Could this strategy reduce a portion of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic achievement gaps for entire institutions? Three double-blind experiments tested this possibility. Ninety percent of first-year college students from three institutions were randomly assigned to complete single-session, online lay theory or control materials before matriculation (n > 9,500). The lay theory interventions raised first-year full-time college enrollment among students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds exiting a high-performing charter high school network or entering a public flagship university (experiments 1 and 2) and, at a selective private university, raised disadvantaged students' cumulative first-year grade point average (experiment 3). These gains correspond to 31-40% reductions of the raw (unadjusted) institutional achievement gaps between students from disadvantaged and nondisadvantaged backgrounds at those institutions. Further, follow-up surveys suggest that the interventions improved disadvantaged students' overall college experiences, promoting use of student support services and the development of friendship networks and mentor relationships. This research therefore provides a basis for further tests of the generalizability of preparatory lay theories interventions and of their potential to reduce social inequality and improve other major life transitions.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1524360113

    View details for Web of Science ID 000377948800007

    View details for PubMedID 27247409

  • The Psychology of the Affirmed Learner: Spontaneous Self-Affirmation in the Face of Stress JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY Brady, S. T., Reeves, S. L., Garcia, J., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Cook, J. E., Taborsky-Barba, S., Tomasetti, S., Davis, E. M., Cohen, G. L. 2016; 108 (3): 353-373

    View details for DOI 10.1037/edu0000091

    View details for Web of Science ID 000373687300006