Diversity Group Potsdam

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Who are we?

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csm_Linda_04_082a7ae99cMy name is Linda Juang and I am a Professor of Inclusive Education in the Diversity in Education and Development at the University of Potsdam. Prior to joining the recently formed Inclusive Education team here in Potsdam, I held positions at the University of California at Santa Barbara and San Francisco State University. I grew up in Minnesota and earned my PhD in Developmental Psychology from Michigan State University in 1997, where I worked with Dr. Jacqueline V. Lerner.

Based on an ecological systems perspective, my research focuses on the adaption and adjustment of adolescents and college students of immigrant background within the contexts of family, school, and community. I am interested in how three key immigration-related issues–parent and adolescent acculturation, ethnic identity, and racial/ethnic discrimination—relate to adolescent well-being and health.


My name is Maja Schachner and I am a Postdoctoral Researcher and Research Associate in the Diversity in Education and Development research group. In addition to working with Linda and the rest of the team in Potsdam, I am also a Board member (External Relations and Valorisation Officer) and national representative Germany of the Early Researchers’ Union of the European Association of Developmental Psychology (EADP) and a representative of the young scholar group of the Educational Psychology section of the German Psychological Assocication (DGPS). I earned a joint PhD from Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, Germany und Tilburg University, Netherlands, where I was supervised by Prof. Peter Noack, Prof. Fons J. R. van de Vijver, Prof. Stephan Lessenich.

My research interests include:

  • Acculturation und ethnic identity in adolescencecsm_Maja1_06_2080934bd3
  • School adjustment of adolescent immigrants
  • Interethnic friendships in adolescence
  • Dealing with diversity in multicultural schools
  • Intercultural competence of teachers
  • Context effects and multilevel analyses
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology

My Name is Hanna Löhmannsröben. I’ve been a Senior Scientist and Visiting Professor in the Diversity in Education and Development research group at Potsdam University since Summer 2017. I studied at the Universities of Mainz, Göttingen and Oldenburg.

Hanna photoBeing a Lutheran pastor and a teacher for special education, I’m interested in enabling people in different situations of life to participate in society. Inclusion in church, school, at work, and in cultural matters is a matter of justice and a human rights issue! Thus in my professional life I combine activities in classroom and congregation. I worked in various regular and special education schools as a teacher and in Lutheran congregations as a pastor. I was a lecturer at universities in Erlangen, Nuremberg (Ev. FH), Oldenburg (CvO) and Berlin (KFH, EFH). For a couple of years I led my own consulting company. I held the Special-Education-Chair at the Protestant University of Berlin in the Social Work Degree Program for ten years and was Superintendent of the Protestant Church Region Wolfsburg-Wittingen for five years, before I joined the Diversity group.

My current research focusses on inclusion and empowerment of students with intercultural experience and advanced perspectives on heterogeneity in church and school. I am participating in the DFG-funded study on the effects of a culture-specific identity affirmation intervention with 7th grade students in over 60 classrooms across Berlin. Besides work I enjoy being out at the banks of Havel River and do birdwatching or cycling. I like to speak Low German and have exhibited some of my photographic works. Maybe I’m the northern German “homie” of our international group…


My name is Tuğçe Aral, and I just started my position as a PhD student and Research Associate in the Diversity in Education and Development research group at the University of Potsdam in 2017. I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. I studied psychology at Bahçeşehir University, Turkey and spent a semester as an exchange student at Syracuse University, USA and at University of Pécs, Hungary. I studied social and organizational psychology for my M.A. degree at Koç University, Turkey.

My current research interests are broadly:Tugce photo

  • Migration related issues
  • Cultural identity
  • Positive Youth Development Interventions
  • Cross cultural psychology
  • Intergroup relations

I grew up a lot with my experiences abroad. I especially enjoy living in Berlin for its diverse structure. Besides thinking about exciting research ideas, I spend most of my time reading books and comics, making travel plans and doing yoga. My recent interests are learning German, and kickboxing.


My name is Sauro Civitillo. I started working as a PhD student and Research Associate in the Diversity in Education and Development research group at the University of Potsdam at the end of 2014. I was born in a small town in Southern Tuscany, Italy. I got a BA and MA in clinical psychology at University La Sapienza in Rome. I moved to the Netherlands, where I got a MA in educational science at University of Groningen. Successively, never tired to learn, I got a third MA (research master) in behavioural sciences at University of Nijmegen. My research interests include but not limited to:

foto_sauro_small

  • Teacher beliefs towards cultural and ethnic diversity in education
  • Teacher preparation for multiculturalism
  • Pedagogical approaches to deal with cultural diversity in schools and classrooms
  • Effects of school practices regarding multiculturalism on student adjustment

Besides my work, I love traveling, cooking Italian food, reading about world politics, and watching political, social, and cultural documentaries.


My name is David Kunyu. I am a PhD candidate and Research Associate in the Diversity in Education and Development research group at the University of Potsdam. I was born and bred in the western part of Kenya. I studied Technology Education at Moi University in Kenya, and obtained my MA in International and Comparative Education, from Stockholm University, Sweden. In between my study periods, I have practiced teaching of mathematics and technology both in Kenya and Sweden.

My current research interests are but not limited to:David photo

  • Educating adolescents in emergencies
  • Dealing with cultural diversity and integration of immigrants in schools
  • Mathematics learning competencies in multicultural classrooms

Away from my studies, I do find fun in traveling and sporting. I run regularly and try to keep myself posted on the current affairs of global politics. Being in church on Sundays always sums up my weeks well!


 My name is Ursula Moffitt, and started my position as a PhD student and Research Associate in the Diversity in Education and Development research group at the University of Potsdam in November 2014. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and though I’ve lived elsewhere for over ten years now, my heart remains in that high desert city. Before coming to Berlin to complete my MA in German Turkish Social Sciences at Humboldt University, I lived in Ankara, Turkey, and Portland, Oregon. In Portland I earned a BA in psychology at Reed College. My current research interests focus on:
  • The transmission of norms regarding national identity11698500_686772315708_60131924185085648_n
  • Perspectives on culture, particularly regarding cultural stability and malleability in intercultural contexts (i.e. colorblindness, multiculturalism, polyculturalism)
  • Structural and interpersonal discrimination and Islamophobia
  • Links between classroom and school cultural socialization and academic and psychological outcomes

I am interested in working within a social justice framework, and strive to be reflective about my own role within my research. For my dissertation I will use both quantitative and qualitative research, and I am becoming increasingly interested in the growing sub-field of qualitative psychology. When not in the office, I enjoy walking by the canal in my Berlin neighborhood, singing in choirs or elsewhere, experimenting with baking, and making the most of the many diversions Berlin has to offer.


My name is Miriam Schwarzenthal. I am a PhD Candidate and Research Associate in the Diversity in Education and Development group at the University of Potsdam. I was born and raised in the Cologne area and studied psychology at the universities of Cologne and Jena. During my high school and university years, I lived and studied in the United States, Nepal, and New Zealand.

My current research interests are:foto_miriam

  • Experiences with cultural diversity and individual development
  • Peer intercultural socialization
  • Ways of dealing with cultural diversity in schools
  • The development of intercultural competence in culturally diverse schools

Even though I love learning how to become a good researcher, there are many things I enjoy doing besides work. I love travelling and getting to know life in other countries and cultures. When I’m not travelling, I go Lindy Hop dancing and bouldering, I enjoy making new things from old things and whenever I find some free time, there’s nothing better than a good book!


My name is Jana Vietze. I am a PhD candidate and research assistant in the Inclusive Education group at the University of Potsdam. Born in Berlin, I grew up in Germany, Japan and Austria and studied Psychology and Sociology at the University of Vienna (Austria). My research interests are:

Vietze_FotoAug2015

  • Peer and parent ethnic and cultural socialization
  • Adolescent acculturation and ethnic identity formation
  • Diversity influence on academic achievement in schools
  • Qualitative research methods, mixed-method designs

When I’m not attempting to be a researcher, I enjoy interior and grafic design as well as everything that is esthetically pleasing. Thus, I love to travel and take pictures of various patterns and colors I can spot in the world. I try to keep learning new languages as much as I can and I enjoy everything connected to music, from swing to Jazz, from playing the guitar to singing. And I like Karaoke, a lot.

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