James Madison University

Department of Psychology Welcomes Dr. Kala Melchiori


Jim Benedict

Dr. Kala Melchiori will be joining the Department of Psychology this fall as a tenure-track faculty member.  Dr. Melchiori received her Ph.D. in social psychology from Loyola University Chicago.  Her doctoral dissertation was titled Backlash against Working Mothers.  According to Dr. Melchiori, “people who do not act in line with the stereotypes of their group risk discriminatory backlash for acting outside their prescribed roles.”  Using a clever combination of online and laboratory studies, she has found evidence of this backlash for parents, but especially for working mothers.  This year, she plans to incorporate intersectional identities (e.g., gender and race) into her study to see how they impact the discrimination she has researched against parents and working mothers.  As part of her interest in applied research, she hopes to create/test interventions to increase pro-environmental behavior across the campus.  When tackling research questions, Dr. Melchiori enjoys using the scientific method to create new knowledge.

Dr. Melchiori arrives at JMU ready to teach PSYC 211 (Psychological Research Methods), PSYC 310 (The Psychology of Women and Gender), and other courses related to prejudice and intergroup relations.  Dr. Melchiori strives to adapt the classroom environment to meet the specific needs of her current students.  She notes that “each group of students has its own interests, personality, and style.”  While covering course content, she fosters a scholarly community among her students in which students can ask questions and help shape class content. 

In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. Melchiori has “a personal dedication to addressing the needs of first-generation and historically underrepresented college students.”  When asked why she wants to be a college professor, she responds, “I value diversity and inclusivity and believe in transformative education.”  The Department is fortunate to have her joining our faculty.

For more information on her research, publications, and teaching please see her website.