Student news

President Cruzado with Jessi Smith

Jessi Smith (left) with President Cruzado (right).

Motivation & Diversity (MAD) Lab

Research Interests

My research interests span three areas: intrinsic motivation, goals, and stereotype processes, particularly as they relate to inclusion, diversity, and equity. My research emphasizes the role norms about gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation play in understanding both the perceiver’s standpoint (holding and applying stereotypes) and the target’s experience (navigating stereotypes and inequity). For example, I developed the Stereotyped Task Engagement Process Model to better understand how cultural factors (such as gender stereotypes) and individual factors (such as interpersonal orientation) produce a Person-Environment “match” or “mismatch” that influences motivation, performance processes, and outcomes in homogenous domains (e.g., computer-science). We have now revised this model, which we call the "Motivational Experiences Model" to understand how stereotype threat, feelings of belonging, and other factors contribute to identity development, career interest, and motivation in various fields. My research is grounded in experimental methodology and longitudinal analyses, with an applied focus on educational, workplace, and health related domains. My research is currently supported with funding from the National Science Foundation as well as the National Institutes of Health.


Read a nice summary of some of my work, highlighted in this Oct 20, 2015 issue of  Amy Poehler's Smart Girl Blog! and and in this April 20, 2017 Washington Post article 

Are you interested in working with me for your Ph.D.? Please apply! Check out our Graduate Program Home Page


  • Ph.D. (2002) Psychology, University of Utah
  • M. S. (2000) Psychology, University of Utah
  • B. A. (1997) Psychology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Popular Press

  • Smith, J. L., Lewis, K. L., Hawthrone, L. & Hodges, S. D. (2013, July 26). Women and the STEM Sciences: When trying hard isn’t natural.Society for Personality and Social Psychology Connections. Access by clicking here.
  • Smith, J. L., Thoman, D. B. & Robinson, C. (2014, July 20). Providing meaning: Helping underrepresented students get the most out of research experience. Society for Advancing Chicanos & Native Americans in Science, Summer/Fall, Vol 17: Featured Article. Access byclicking here.
  • Smith, J. L. (2014, August 11). A multi-million dollar opportunity: How social psychology can ADVANCE the participation of women faculty in STEM. Society for Personality and Social Psychology: Character and Context. Access by clicking here.
  • Williams, J. & Smith, J. L. (2015, July 8). The myth that academic science isn’t biased against women. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Access by clicking here
  • June, A. W. (2016, October 7). How one university closed the gender gap in STEM-faculty hiring.The Chronicle of Higher Education. Access by clicking here

Recent and Upcoming Publications

  • Skewes, M. C., Shanahan, E. A., Smith, J. L., Honea, J., Belou, R., Rushing, S.,Intemann, K., & Handley, I. M. (in press). Absent Autonomy: Relational Competence and Gendered Paths to Faculty Self-Determination in the Promotion and Tenure Process. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.
  • Smith, J. L., Handley, I.M., Rushing, S., Belou, R., Kambich, L., Skewes, M. C., Shanahan, E.A., Honea, J., Intemann, K. (in press). Added Benefits:  How Supporting Women Faculty in STEM Improves Everyone’s Job Satisfaction. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.
  • Cech, E. A., Metz, A., Smith, J. L., deVries, K. (in press). Epistemological Dominance and Social Inequality: Experiences of Native American Science, Engineering, and Health Students. Science, Technology & Human Values
  • Smith, J.L., Stoop, C. D., Young, M., Belou. R., Held, S. (2017). Grant writing bootcamp: An intervention to enhance the research capacity of academic women in STEM. BioScience, 67 (7), 638-645. doi:
  • Thoman, D. B., *Muragishi, G. A. & Smith, J. L. (2017). Research Microcultures as Socialization Contexts for Underrepresented Science Students. Psychological Science. 28(6), 760-773. doi: 10.1177/0956797617694865.
  • Lawrence, J. S. & Smith, J. L. (2017). Academically-Contingent Self-Worth and Vulnerability: When Approach Self-Validation Goals are More Threatening than Avoidance Self-Validation Goals. Self and Identity, 16(3), 353-372. doi:
  • Harackiewicz, J. M., Smith, J. L., Priniski, S. (2016). Interest Matters: The Importance of Promoting Interest in Education. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(2), 220-227. Doi: 10.1177/2372732216655542
  • Mitchneck, E., Smith, J. L. & Latimer, M. (2016). A Recipe for Change: Creating a More Inclusive Academy. Science, 352 (6282), 148-149. doi: 10.1126/science.aad8493
  • Handley, I.M., Brown, E., Moss-Racusin, C.A., Smith, J.L. (2015). The quality of evidence revealing subtle gender biases in science is in the eye of the beholder. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 (43), 13201–13206.   doi: 10.1073/pnas.1510649112

            Featured in several outlets including:

  • Smith, J. L., Handley, I. M., Zale, A. V., Rushing, S. A. & Potvin, M. (2015). Now Hiring! Empirically Testing a 3-Step Intervention to Increase Faculty Gender Diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Bioscience, 65, 1084-1087. doi: 10.1093/biosci/biv138  

               Featured in several outlets including:

  • Brown, E. R., Thoman, D. B., Smith, J. L., & Diekman, A. B. (2015). Closing the communal goal gap: Degree of goal congruity predicts science career motivation and interest. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45, 662–673. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12327
  • Brown, E.R., Smith, J.L., Thoman, D.B., Allen, J., & *Muragishi, G. (2015). From bench to bedside: A communal utility value intervention to enhance students’ science motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology. 07(4), 1116-1135. Doi:10.1037/edu0000033
  • Smith, J. L., Brown, E. R., Thoman, D. B., Deemer, E. D. (2015). Losing its expected communal value: How stereotype threat undermines women’s identity as research scientists. Social Psychology of Education, 18, 443-466. doi 10.1007/s11218-015-9296-8
  • Thoman, D. B., Brown, E. R., Mason, A. Z., Harmsen, A. G. & Smith, J. L. (2015). The role of altruistic values in motivating underrepresented minority  students for Biomedicine.Bioscience, 65, 183-188.

             Featured in the Washington Post (April 20, 2017)

  • Smith, J. L.,  & *Huntoon, M. (2014). Women without Bragging Rights: An Experimental Investigation on Facilitating Women’s Self-Promotion via Misattribution. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38, 447-459. doi: 10.1177/0361684313515840.

                  Featured in:

  • Deemer, E. D., Thoman, D., B., *Chase, J. P., & Smith, J. L. (2014). Feeling the threat: Stereotype threat as a contextual barrier to women’s science career choices. Journal of Career Development, 4, 141-158.DOI: 10.1177/0894845313483003
  • Deemer, E. D., Smith, J. L., Carroll, A. N., & Carpenter, J. P. (2014). Academic procrastination in STEM: Interactive effects of stereotype threat and achievement goals. Career Development Quarterly, 62, 143-155. doi: 10.1002/j.2161-0045.2014.00076.x
  • Thoman, D. B., *Arizaga, J. A., Smith, J. L., *Story, T. S., *Soncuya, G. (2014). The Grass is Greener in Non-STEM Classes: Examining the Role of Competing Belonging in Undergraduate Women’s Vulnerability to Being Pulled Away from Science.Psychology of Women Quarterly38, 246-258. doi: 10.1177/0361684313499899
  • Deemer, E., Smith, J. L., Thoman, D. B., *Chase, J. P. (2014). Precision in Career Motivation Assessment: Testing the Subjective Science Attitude Change Measures. Journal of Career Assessment, 22, 489-504. doi: 10.1177/1069072713498683.
  • Smith, J. L., Deemer, E., D., Thoman, D. B. & *Zazworsky, L. (2014). Motivation under the microscope: Understanding undergraduate science students’ multiple motivations for research. Motivation and Emotion, 38, 496-512. doi 10.1007/s11031-013-9388-8
  • Smith, J. L., Cech, E., Metz, A., *Huntoon, M., & *Moyer, C. (2014). Giving back or giving up: Native American student experiences in science and engineering. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20, 413-429. doi: 10.1037/a0036945.
  • Li, Jian-Bin, Nie, Yan-Gang, Zeng, Min-Xia, Huntoon, M., Smith, J. L. (2013). Too exhausted to remember: Ego depletion undermines subsequent event-based prospective memory. International Journal of Psychology.
  • Allen, J., Gervais, S. J., & Smith, J. L. (2013). Sit Big to Eat Big: The Interaction of Body Posture and Body Concern on Restrained Eating. Psychology of Women Quarterly
  • Thoman, D. B., Smith, J. L., Brown, E. R., Chase, J., &*Lee, J. Y. K. (2013). Beyond performance: A motivational experiences model of stereotype threat. Educational Psychology Review
  • Smith, J. L, Lewis, K. L., Hawthorne, L., & Hodges, S. D. (2013). When Trying Hard Isn’t Natural: Women’s Belonging with and Motivation for Male-Dominated STEM Fields as a Function of Effort Expenditure Concerns. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin39, 3-15. doi: 10.1177/0146167212468332.
  • Hutchison, K., Smith, J. L., & Ferris, A. (2013). Goals Can Be Threatened to Extinction: Using the Stroop to Clarify Working Memory Depletion under Stereotype Threat. Social Psychological and Personality Science4, 74-81doi: 10.1177/1948550612440734
  • Sansone, C., Smith, J. L., Thoman, D. B., & Macnamara, A. (2012). Regulating Interest When Learning Online:  Potential Motivation and Performance Trade-offs. The Internet and Higher Education,15 (3), 141-149. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.10.004
  • Cech, E., Metz, A., Babcock, T. & Smith, J. L. (2011). Caring for Our Own The Role of Institutionalized Support Structures in Native American Nursing Student Success. Journal of Nursing Education, 50, 524-531 doi: 10.3928/01484834-20110517-01
  • Metz, A. Cech, E., Babcock, T. & Smith, J. L. (2011). The Effect of Formal and Informal Support Structures on the Motivation of Native American Students in Nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 50, 388-394 DOI: 10.3928/01484834-20110415-01
  • Smith, J. L., Ickes, W., Hall, J., & Hodges, S. (2011). Managing Interpersonal Sensitivity: Knowing When—and When Not—To Understand Others. Nova Science Publishers, New York, NY.
  • Smith, J. L., Hawkinson, K., & Paull, K. (2011). Spoiled milk: An experimental examination of bias against mothers who breastfeed.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37,  867-878. doi: 10.1177/0146167211401629
  • Allen, J. & Smith, J. L. (2011). Walking down Castro Street: The influence of sexuality stereotypes on men’s experience of gender-role incongruence. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 12, 77-96doi: 10.1037/a0019678
  • Thoman, D. B., Smith, J. L., & Silvia, P. J. (2011). Interest and Ego Depletion: Demonstrating the Resource Replenishment Function of Interest. Social Psychological and Personality Science (online first) doi: 10.1177/1948550611402521
  • Sansone, C., Thoman, D. B. & Smith, J. L. (2010). Interest and self-regulation: Understanding individual variability in choices, efforts and persistence over time. In R. Hoyle (Ed.) Handbook of Personality and Self-Regulation, Molden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Hupp, J. M., Smith, J. L., Coleman, J. M., & Brunell, A. B. (2010) That’s a Boy’s Toy: Gender Typed Knowledge in Toddlers as a Function of Mother’s Marital Status. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 171, 389-401. DOI: 10.1080/00221325.2010.500637
  • Tragakis, M. A., & Smith, J. L. (2010) The Relationship between Social Identity Integration and Psychological Adjustment:  A Focus on Mainstream and Marginalized Cultural Identities. Identity:An International Journal of Theory and Research, 10, 201-221.

Additional Publications

  • Isaac, J., Sansone, C., & Smith, J.L . (1999). Other people as a source of interest in an activity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35 , 239-265. 
  • Sansone, C., & Smith, J.L . (2000). The "how" of goal pursuit: Interest and self-regulation. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 306-309.
  • Sansone, C., & Smith, J.L . (2000). Interest and self-regulation: The relation between having to and wanting to. In C. Sansone & J.M. Harackiewicz (Eds.), Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The search for optimal motivation and performance (pp. 341 – 404) San Diego , CA : Academic Press.
  • Smith, J.L. & White, P.H. (2001). Development of the domain identification measure: A tool for investigating stereotype threat effects.Educational and Psychological Measurement, 61 , 1040 -1057.
  • Smith, J.L., Morgan, C. L. & Sansone, C. * (2001). Getting (inter) personal: The role of other people in the self-regulation of interest. In F. Columbus (Ed.), Advances in psychology research ( Vol 5, pp. 153-185). New York : Nova Science Publishers. Inc. 
  • Klaphake, E.A., & Smith, J.L . (2002). An initial assessment of exotic animal pet owners in Utah : A survey with special emphasis on personal characteristics and expenditure tendencies. Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery,16 , 115-122.
  • Smith, J.L ., & White, P.H. (2002). An Examination of implicitly activated, explicitly activated and nullified stereotypes on mathematical performance: It's not just a female's issue. Sex Roles, 47, 179-191.
  • Smith, J.L . (2003). Technology as a mode of learning in an introductory social psychology class. International Journal of Instructional Media, 30 , 67-75 . 
  • Renninger, K. A., Sansone, C., & Smith, J. L., (2004). Love of learning. In C. Peterson & M. E. P. Seligman (Eds.) Character strengths and virtues: A classification and handbook (pp. 161-179) . New York : Oxford University Press.
  • Smith, J.L . (2004). Understanding the process of stereotype threat: A review of mediational variables and new performance goal directions. Educational Psychology Review, 16, 177-206 .
  • Smith, J.L ., Morgan, C.L, & White, P.H. (2005). Investigating a measure of computer technology domain identification: A tool for understanding gender-differences and stereotypes. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 65 , 336-355 . 
  • Panek , P.E., & Smith, J.L. (2005). Assessment of terms to describe Mental Retardation. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 26, 565-576. 
  • Smith, J.L., Johnson, C. (2006). A stereotype boost or choking under pressure? Positive gender stereotypes and men who are low in domain identification. Basic and Applied Social Psychology 28, 51-63. 
  • Smith, J.L. (2006). The interplay among stereotype threat, performance-avoidance goals, and women's math performance expectations. Sex Roles, 54 , 287-296 . 
  • Horgan, T., & Smith, J. L. (2006). Interpersonal reasons for interpersonal perceptions: Gender-incongruent purpose goals and nonverbal judgment accuracy. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 30, 127-140 . 
  • Walsh, P. E., & Smith, J. L . (2007). Opposing standards within the cultural worldview: Terror management theory and American Women's desire for uniqueness versus inclusiveness. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31, 103-113. 
  • Smith, J. L ., Sansone, C., & White, P.H. (2007). The Stereotyped Task Engagement Process: The role of interest and achievement motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 99-114. 
  • Smith, J. L ., & Ruiz, J.M. (2007). Interpersonal orientation in context: Correlates and effects of interpersonal complementarity on subjective and cardiovascular experiences. Journal of Personality, 75, 679-708. 
  • Smith, J.L ., Kausar, R., & Holt-Lunstad, J. (2007). Stigma Consciousness in the classroom: A comparison of Pakistani women's motivation and well-being in science and non-science fields of study . Sex Roles, 57, 3-13. 
  • Smith, J. L ., Paul, D., & Paul, R. (2007). No Place for a Woman: Evidence for Gender Bias in Evaluations of Presidential Candidates .Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 29, 225-233.
  • Smith, J. L., Hardy, T., & Arkin, R. (2009). When practice doesn’t make perfect: Effort expenditure as an active behavioral self-handicapping strategy. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 95-98.
  • Smith, J. L., Wagaman, J., & Handley, I. M. (2009). Keeping it dull or making it fun: Motivational implications of regulatory focus.Motivation and Emotion, 33, 150-160
  • Smith, J. L. & Lewis, K. L. (2009). Men’s interpersonal (mis)perception: Fitting in with gender norms following social rejection. Sex Roles, 61, 252-264.

Courses Taught

  • Psychology of Film, CORE CLASS
  • Psychology of Gender
  • Psychology of Prejudice
  • Psychology Undergraduate Research
  • Psychology Senior Thesis Graduate
  • Social Psychology
  • Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Seminar 

Journal Editor and Reviewer Affiliations

2004- 2014: Consulting and Guest Editor:    

  • Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

2004-2009: Editorial Board:   

  • Basic and Applied Social Psychology 

Professional Affiliations

About Me

I grew up in Southern California, went to college in Colorado Springs, and then received my Ph.D in psychology from the University of Utah in 2002. After four years at The Ohio State University, Newark Campus, I missed the west and came to MSU Bozeman in 2006 where I am now a Professor in the psychology department and serve as the Special Assistant to the Provost as the PI and Director of the National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant. I have over 50 peer reviewed publications and many bookchapters and one book to my credit. I run the “Motivation and Diversity” research lab at MSU which is home to several graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and undergraduate research assistants. I am very grant successful with just over $5 mill in external funding from the NIH and NSF.   For example, I am the PI on the NIH R01 grant “Culturally Connected Communal Goals” which examines how to successfully motivate Native American and other underrepresented minorities to pursue and persist in biomedicine fields. One of our past NSF grants examined variables in the science lab classroom (e.g., physics lab class) that enhance or undermine women’s research motivation, with the end goal of predicting interest in pursuing a research-science related job. Watch a short video about this line of work here:   Importantly I am also the PI and Director on the NSF funded ADVANCE grant, charged with enhancing faculty diversity and equity at MSU, especially among the science mathematics and engineering (STEM) departments, in order to foster creativity, discovery, and learning among all faculty and students. The ADVANCE Project TRACS team efforts at MSU has lead to a substantial increase in the number of women faculty in STEM and social behavioral science departments, as well as improved faculty job satisfaction, work-life integration, enhanced research capacity, and a vigilant focus on enhancing cultural attunement among the MSU campus community. Learn more about the NSF ADVANCE grant at MSU here  

My family enjoys all that Montana has to offer including soaking in local hot springs, visiting our glorious national parks, camping, and listening to country music.