Faculty & Staff

Aerika Brittian Loyd, PhD

Assistant Professor

Aerika Brittian Loyd is an Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a developmental scientist, she investigates how social stressors and protective factors affect mental health and development in African American and Latinx youth and families, and she provides recommendations for culturally informed youth practice, prevention, and policy. She has conducted research in the United States and in South Africa, and her research has been published in journals such as Developmental Psychology, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.


  • 2010 - PhD, Tufts University, Child Study and Human Development
  • 2007 - MA, California State University, Fullerton, Psychology
  • 2004 - BA, California State University, Fullerton, Psychology; Child and Adolescent Studies (minor)

Research & Teaching Interests

My research focuses on investigating complex relationships that exist between youth of color and urban environments in order to understand how positive development transpires. For example, how and in what ways do family, schools and youth programs impact identity development among youth of color? And what function does identity serve for them in urban schools, neighborhoods, and communities?

I am not only engaged in research but I am passionate about teaching and mentoring as well. In the College of Education, I have the privilege of teaching courses in the Human Development and Learning and Youth Development programs. The best thing about being an educator is contributing to student’s knowledge and professional development and seeing students and mentees pursue graduate studies or enter respective careers. By the end of every course, I hope that students will share my appreciation of the topic and are able to apply human development concepts to their own work with youth.


Professional website

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Selected Publications

* Please contact Aerika Brittian Loyd (brittian@uic.edu) if you are unable to locate one of the publications listed below.

Price, C. A., Kares, F., Segovia, G. & Loyd, A. B. (2018). Staff matter: Gender differences in STEM career interest development in adolescent youth. Applied Developmental Science. doi: 10.1080/10888691.2017.1398090

Loyd, A. B., & Williams, B. V. (2017). The potential for youth programs to promote African American youth's development of ethnic and racial identity. Child Development Perspectives, 11, 29-38.

Brittian, A. S., Kim, S. Y., Armenta, B. E., Lee, R. M., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., Schwartz, S. J., Villalta, I. K., Zamboanga, B. L., Weisskirch, R. S., Juang, L. P., Castillo, L. G., & Hudson, M. L. (2015). Do dimensions of ethnic identity mediate the association between perceived ethnic group discrimination and depressive symptoms? Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21, 41-53.

Xing, K., Chico, E., Lambouths III, D. L., Brittian, A. S., & Schwartz, S. J. (2015). Identity development in adolescence: Implications for youth policy and practice. In Bowers, E. P., Geldhof, G. J., Johnson, S., Hilliad, L., Hershberg, R., Lerner, J. V., and Lerner, R. M. (Eds.), Promoting healthy development for America’s youth: Lessons learned from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. Springer International Publishing.

Brittian, A. S., & Gray, D. L. (2014). African American students’ perceptions of differential treatment in learning environments: Examining the moderating role of peer support, connection to heritage, and discrimination efficacy. Journal of Education, 194, 1-9.

Brittian, A. S., Lewin, N., & Norris, S. A. (2013). "You must know where you come from:" South African adolescents’ perceptions of religion in time of social change. Journal of Adolescent Research, 28, 642-663.

Brittian, A. S., & Lerner, R. M. (2013). Early influences and later outcomes associated with developmental trajectories of Eriksonian fidelity. Developmental Psychology, 49, 722-735.

Brittian, A. S., Umana-Taylor, A. J., & Derlan, C. (2013). An examination of biracial college youths' family ethnic socialization, ethnic identity, and adjustment: Do self-identification labels and university context matter? Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 19, 177-189. 

Brittian, A. S., O'Donnell, M., Knight, G. P., Carlo, G., Umana-Taylor, A. J., & Roosa, M. W. (2013). Associations between adolescents' perceived discrimination and prosocial tendencies: The mediating role of Mexican American values. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 328-341.

Brittian, A. S., Toomey, R. B., Gonzales, N. A., & Dumka, L. E. (2013). Perceived discrimination, coping strategies, and Mexican origin adolescents' internalizing and externalizing behaviors: Examining the moderating role of gender and cultural orientationApplied Developmental Science, 17, 4-19.

Honors & Awards

2016/2017    K12 Scholar, NIH Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health program at UIC

2014             Mentor, Frances D. Horowitz Millennium Scholars Program

2014             Scholar Grant, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at UIC

2011             Fellow, NICHD Summer Institute for Applied Research in Child and Adolescent Development

Professional Affiliations & Activities

Courses Taught

340 Self and Identity Development Across the Lifespan


Grade of C or better in EPSY 255 and EPSY 256 or equivalent or consent of instructor.

Overview of theories, research, and contextual factors related to self and identity development across the lifespan, as well as developmental implications for individuals' learning, health, and well-being.

Recommended background: Coursework in human development and learning, psychology, and/or sociology.

416 Systematic Approaches to Program Quality


An overview of theories and methods in exploring the system of program development, quality implementation, and evaluation. Relevant for those working in diverse settings and with diverse youth. Course information: Recommended background: coursework in psychology or educational psychology.

446 Characteristics of Early Adolescence

  • ED 210 or ED 421 or ED 422 or PSCH 422 or the equivalent
  • Approval of the College of Education; or admission to the Ph.D. in Psychology program; or consent of the instructor.

Physiological, social, emotional and cognitive development of early adolescence. The relationship between these developmental characteristics and success in the middle grades. Same as PSCH 423. 

517 Seminar in Urban Youth Development


Consent of the instructor.

In-depth analysis of topics and issues in the field of youth development and its relation to youth program development, with special attention to the urban context. Previously listed as CIE 517.