Joanna Lee Williams earned her master’s degree in human development from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Temple University. As a developmental psychologist, her primary interest is the period of adolescence. The first area of Dr. Williams' scholarship focuses on understanding the role of race and ethnicity in individual and interpersonal contexts and at broader levels of the ecology (e.g., classrooms). This includes research on racial/ethnic identity, racial/ethnic diversity in adolescent friendship networks, and social network equity in diverse middle school classrooms. The second area involves the translation and application of research; this currently includes efforts to translate the science of adolescent development into useful recommendations and practices for parents, educators, and policymakers. Dr. Williams is a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Science of Adolescent Development and its Applications and is a member of the National Scientific Council on Adolescence. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Parent and Teen Communication, a multidisciplinary team based within the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Prior to joining GSAPP, Dr. Williams was a faculty member in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia (UVA). She currently holds an appointment as Associate Professor at UVA and is a faculty affiliate of Youth-Nex: The UVA Center to Promote Effective Youth Development.