Jessi Smith

Jessi L. Smith received her Ph.D in psychology from the University of Utah in 2002. She is now a Professor in the psychology department of Montana State University (MSU) and is currently the Special Assistant to the Provost as the PI and Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE grant. Dr Smith’s primary research interests include the self-regulation of motivation, particularly in situations in which cultural norms and expectations might interfere with the individual’s motivational experience. Her research specializes in social psychological aspects of gender and culture that utilizes models and theories to advance the success of people at risk in education, business, and health. She has over 40 peer reviewed publications and many bookchapters and one book to her credit. Professor Smith runs the “Motivation and Diversity” research lab at MSU which is home to several graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and anywhere from 8-10 undergraduate research assistants each semester. Her teaching expertise includes the Psychology of Gender and the Psychology of Prejudice

Prof Smith is very grant successful and has overseen just over $5 mill in external funding from the NIH and NSF. She is the Principal Investigator (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 her 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 YouTube video about this line of work. Importantly she is 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 led 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.