Anna Woodcock, Ph.D.
Anna Woodcock, Ph.D.
Research Faculty

Office: SBSB 3133-B
Phone: (760) 750-4053
Hours: Spring 2016: Wednesdays 3-4 PM.

My research interests lie in the broad areas of diversity, prejudice, and stereotyping. Specifically I am interested in understanding the contextual factors that promote and reinforce social disparities such as the underrepresentation of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Specifically I am interested in:

  1. The processes by which stereotype threat operates and what contexts may ameliorate its negative effects.
  2. The impact of implicit biases on behavior, and strategies to reduce implicit bias.
  3. The processes underlying effective interventions for broadening participation in STEM fields.
  4. The role of Person and Thing Orientations in academic choices and performance.

Ph.D., Social Psychology. Purdue University, 2012

M.A., Experimental Psychology. California State University San Marcos, 2004

B.A., Psychology. Macquarie University, NSW, Australia, 1997

CSUSM study team receives national award for findings in 10-year study.

Diversity in the Sciences Boosted by NIH Funded Undergraduate Research Programs

Diversity—of ideas, perspectives and backgrounds—is essential to good science. Research has shown that highly diverse teams not only generate more innovative ideas than homogeneous teams, but they are more effective problem solvers. Yet, despite some progress over the last few decades, diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields remains a significant challenge.

However, an award-winning research team, led by Dr. Wesley Schultz, Cal State San Marcos dean of Graduate Studies, with Drs. Anna Woodcock of Cal State San Marcos, Mica Estrada of the University of California San Francisco, and Paul Hernandez of West Virginia University, has shown that National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded training programs, such as CSUSM’s Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) and Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) programs, are effective at sustaining undergraduate minority students through graduation in science.

“Science not only needs diversity but people from all backgrounds also need access to a full range of career opportunities,” said Woodcock. “Careers in the sciences can be very rewarding and, in some instances, high paying and prestigious—the thought that certain groups of people should be excluded from these opportunities is egregious.”

For the study, data were collected from over 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students at 50 universities nationwide over 10 years. Comparing underrepresented students who were involved in NIH programs against similarly motivated underrepresented students who were not, the researchers examined undergraduate graduation rates as well as acceptance, enrollment and graduation rates in graduate and doctoral programs.

“Students go in with a strong interest in pursuing scientific research and careers, but what happens over time is that many underrepresented students lose interest or get pulled away,” Schultz said. “What we found is that these NIH training programs sustain that interest and motivation among underrepresented students over time.”

Rising to the Challenge

Both the RISE and MARC programs were created to prepare talented and motivated minority students majoring in the sciences to enter and succeed in doctoral studies. Students work in a research laboratory, attend seminars and scientific meetings to present research, participate in a training program and are mentored by faculty. In return, the students not only garner hands-on research experience but receive a small stipend, the reimbursement of travel expenses and, in the case of the MARC program, partial support for tuition.

Schultz said the programs are successful because they help underrepresented students create identities as scientists.

“These programs create access to science, but underrepresented students have a special burden because they have to reconcile their identity and see themselves as scientists in a society that often doesn’t provide exemplars of their racial group in science,” Shultz said. “Being involved in meaningful research experiences as an undergraduate along with access to a faculty mentor—these two things drive successful outcomes.”

Ivan Hernandez, a first-generation psychology major, is a CSUSM MARC program success story. He took first place at the California State University Statewide Research Competition in April for his project titled, “The Influence of Minority Training Programs on Individuals’ Social Mobility Mindset.”

“I never thought a Ph.D. was possible for me,” Ivan said. “When I started doing undergraduate research I wasn’t confident. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I didn’t identify as a scientist. The MARC program is like a family of people with the same interest, mindset and goals—they mentor you to write and present, encourage you to travel to conferences, and coach you on how to be a better candidate for grad school. Now I’m seeing my peers get accepted into graduate programs all over the country and I can see that for me in my future, too.”

Prepared for Success

The research team found that after 10 years, nearly half of all the participating RISE and MARC students went on to a doctoral program compared to only a quarter of similarly motivated underrepresented students who did not have access to the programs. In addition, during the same timeframe, about 35 percent of RISE and MARC students had earned a Ph.D. compared to 14 percent of similarly motivated students without the program.

“Not only do these programs make a big difference, but our research is helping us understand why they are making a difference so that we can generalize the results to students beyond those that are in these special training programs,” Schultz said.

In recognition of their outstanding research contributions, Schultz and his research team were awarded the Adolphus Toliver Award for Outstanding Research at the Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Science Careers Conference in April.

Female Engineering Students Underestimate Their True Ability

Anna Woodcock, professor of psychology at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), and Diana Bairaktarova, professor of engineering education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, have been researching women and engineering since 2010. Together the two have teamed up to study the impact of gender differences in first-year engineering students’ self-evaluations of their engineering ability.

“We wanted to see how female and male students performed on an engineering task and how accurately they estimated their own performance,” said Woodcock. “We asked large group of male and female first-year engineering students to create an assembly procedure for a model solar powered boat. At the completion of the task we asked the students to evaluate how well they thought they performed and then we sent the students’ assembly procedures to a panel of practicing engineers to provide objective evaluations of the quality of the work.”

Their findings concluded that a large gender gap exists in first-year engineering students’ confidence in their engineering ability; female students grossly underestimated their performance despite no objective gender differences in ability according to the ratings of professional engineers. .... Read full article

Retaining Minority Science Students: Chronic Stereotype Threat Affects Science Identity

Stereotype threat impairs performance across many domains, and is one explanation as to why African Americans and Hispanic/Latino(a)s “leak” from each juncture of the academic scientific pipeline in disproportionately greater numbers than their White and Asian peers.

Beyond the immediate impact on performance, the experience of chronic stereotype threat is hypothesized to lead to domain disidentification and eventual domain abandonment. Our longitudinal research findings were highlighted on  We tested the stereotype threat-disidentification hypothesis across 3 academic years with a national longitudinal panel of undergraduate minority science students. Chronic stereotype threat was associated with scientific disidentification, which in turn predicted a significant decline in the intention to pursue a scientific career. The effect was evident for Hispanic/Latino(a) students but not for all African American students.


Visit the study website:

Woodcock, A., Hernandez, P. R., Estrada, M., & Schultz, P. W. (2012). The consequences of chronic stereotype threat: Domain disidentification and abandonment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 635-646. doi: 10.1037/a0029120

Are you a "People Person," a "Thing Person," or both? Retaining person-oiented engineering students.

Consider your interest in the following activities: Watching a machine work and meeting a new neighbor.  Are you interested in one more than the other – or both? These questions capture interests in things versus people.

Students scoring high in thing orientation are often drawn to majors like science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) because these endeavors align with their interests in things. However, many of these students are high in both person and thing orientations.

The September 2015 issue of PRISM magazine reports on our recent research on the impact of person and thing ordinations on socially-minded undergraduates. We found that person-orientation has an indirect effect on retaining engineering students via encouragement to participate in undergraduate research.


Branch, S. E., Woodcock, A., & Graziano, W.G. (2015). Person orientation and encouragement: Predicting interest in engineering research. Journal of Engineering Education, 104, doi:10.1002/jee.20068

PSYC 520 Graduate Statistics: Introduction to theory and application of some of the more advanced parametric and nonparametric statistical techniques employed in psychological research. Topics will include but are not limited to multiple regression, analysis of covariance, factor analysis, causal modeling, and discriminant function analysis

PSYC 220 Introductory Statistics in Psychology: Basic statistical methods for analysis of data in psychology; descriptive and inferential statistics; hypothesis testing; parametric tests of significance. Introduction to linear regression and correlation; analysis of variance; nonparametric techniques. The requirements will include participation in low-risk psychological experiments or completion of additional short papers.

PSYC 333 Psychology of Prejudice: Examines psychological theory and research on prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping from the perspectives of both the holders and targets of prejudice. In particular, the course emphasizes the cognitive, motivational, and social bases of prejudice, racism, sexism, as well as prejudice reduction.

PSYC 332 Social Psychology: Study of individuals and groups as they are affected by social interactions. Subjects include social influence (conformity, obedience), attitudes and attitude change, attraction, altruism, aggression, social perception and cognition, interpersonal influence, and group processes.

Peer Reviewed Publications

Woodcock, A. & Bairaktarova, D. (2016). Gender differences in first-year engineering students’ performance self-evaluations. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.

Bairaktarova, D. & Woodcock, A. (2015). Engineering ethics education: Aligning practice and outcomes. IEEE Communications Magazine.

Woodcock, A., Hernandez, P.R., & Schultz. P.W. (2015). Diversifying science: Programs weaken the effect of chronic stereotype threat on maladaptive achievement goals. Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Branch, S. E., Woodcock, A., & Graziano, W.G. (2015). Person orientation and encouragement: Predicting interest in engineering research. Journal of Engineering Education, 104, doi:10.1002/jee.20068

Estrada, M., Woodcock, A., & Schultz, P.W. (2014). Tailored Panel Management: A theory-based approach to building and maintaining participant commitment to a longitudinal study. Evaluation Review.

Monteith, M.J., Woodcock, A., & Lybarger, J. E. (2013). Automaticity and control in stereotyping and prejudice: The revolutionary role of social cognition across three decades of research. Oxford Handbook of Social Cognition.

Woodcock, A., & Monteith, M.J. (2013). Creating a link with the self to combat implicit bias. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. 16, 445–461. doi: 10.1177/1368430212459776.

Woodcock, A., Graziano, W. G., Branch, S. E., Ngambeki, I., & Evangelou, D. (2013). Person and thing orientations: Psychological correlates and predictive utility. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 117 - 124. doi: 10.1177/1948550612444320

Hernandez, P. R., Schultz, P. W., Estrada, M., Woodcock, A., & Chance, R. C. (2013). Sustaining optimal motivation: A longitudinal analysis of personal and contextual predictors of achievement goals. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 89-107. doi: 10.1037/a0029691

Woodcock, A., Hernandez, P. R., Estrada, M., & Schultz, P. W. (2012). The consequences of chronic stereotype threat: Domain disidentification and abandonment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 635-646. doi: 10.1037/a0029120

Woodcock, A., Graziano, W. G., Branch, S. E., Ngambeki, I., & Evangelou, D. (2012). Engineering students' beliefs about research: Sex differences, personality, and career plans. Journal of Engineering Education, 101, 495-511.

Estrada, M., Woodcock, A., Hernandez, P. R., & Schultz, P. W. (2011). Toward a model of social influence that explains minority student integration into the scientific community. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 206-222. doi: 10.1037/a0020743.

Graziano, W. G., Habashi, M. M., & Woodcock, A. (2011). Exploring and measuring differences in person-thing orientation. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2011.03.004.

Schultz, P.W., Hernandez, P.R., Woodcock, A., Estrada-Hollenbeck, M., Chance, R.C., Aguilar, M.A., & Serpe, R. (2011). Patching the pipeline: Reducing educational disparities in the sciences through minority training programs. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33, 95-114. doi: 10.3102/0162373710392371.

Monteith, M. J., & Woodcock, A. (2009). Modern forms of prejudice. In Levine, J., & Hogg, M. (Eds.) Encyclopedia of group processes and intergroup relations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Monteith, M. J., Lybarger, J. E. & Woodcock, A. (2009). Schooling the cognitive monster: The role of motivation in the regulation and control of prejudice. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3, 211-226.

Conference Proceedings

Ramanchandran, M., Bairaktarova, D., Woodcock, A., and Baweren, O.  An Exploratory Study to Predict Ethical Awareness using Linguistics Inquiry and Word Count. Proceedings of the 122th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June 13-17, 2015, Seattle, Washington.

Bairaktarova, D. and Woodcock. A. The Role of Personality Factors in Engineering’ students Ethical Decisions. Proceedings of IEEE Conference on Engineering Ethics, May 21- 23, 2014, Chicago, Illinois.

Bairaktarova D., Evangelou, D., Woodcock, A., Graziano, W.G. The Role of Personality Factors in Engineering Students Ethical Decisions. Proceedings of 40th European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) Annual Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece, 23 – 26 September, 2012.

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