Sarah Elizabeth Gaither

Nicholas J. and Theresa M. Leonardy Associate Professor

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Affiliate of the Center for Child and Family Policy
  • I am a California native which where is where I learned my love for Mexican food and sushi! This love for food has followed me across my life. I strongly identify as a foodie and would love to chat all things food in the triangle! After my time in California, I got my PhD in Boston and then did a postdoctoral position in Chicago--another foodie city!
  • Growing up in an interracial family--my dad is Black and my mom is White, making me biracial--I was hyper aware of race relations and how differently we treat people based on how they look. But as you can see here, I look White which has made visible and invisible identities salient for me. And this is what pushed me to get a PhD in social psychology! I wanted to understand more about why it is we perceive people the way we do and what contexts shifts our behaviors.
  • I also never planned on becoming a psychology professor--in fact I was a social welfare major in college at UC Berkeley, and never even considered going to get a PhD until my gap year. Very happy to chat about finding your path in strange and different ways, and provide reassurance that is 100% okay to not know what you want to do! I am still figuring that out a bit too!
  • I recently became a dog mom to Archie, a rescue pup from Durham, so if you are lucky he will make an appearance during our call! He is an energetic puppy that reminds me of work-life balance--something else that I strive for in life every day!
  • Speaking of balance, I love college sports! And rivalries in particular. I used to think the Cal vs. Stanford rivalry was bad, but then I started working at Duke, and love every moment of the Duke vs. UNC battles each year!