Adriana Aldana

Adriana Aldana

College of Health, Human Services and Nursing

Department of Social Work

Associate Professor

(310) 243-2186

Adriana Aldana (She/her/ella) earned her doctorate from the Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan. Before moving to her graduate studies, she attended California State University, Northridge, where she earned a BA in Chicano Studies and Psychology in 2007. In 2014, she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California, Irvine. 

She is a community-based practitioner and developmental psychologist, with an emphasis on youth sociopolitical empowerment. Her scholarship examines how participatory action research and multicultural organizing models build youths' capacity for anti-racism engagement. Her research with diverse youth has identified the processes that promote young people's ability to think critically about their social identity, systems of privilege and oppression, and inclusive social action tactics. As a practitioner, she has organized social justice workshops, managed a community-based youth dialogue program, and developed program curricula for K-12 educators and youth's multicultural training.

Research Gate Profile: 


Avila, M. Aldana, A., & Zaragoza*, M. (in press). The use of counter-narratives in the classroom from a critical social work perspective. In K. Lueg, & M. Lundholt (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Counter-Narratives. UK: Routledge.

Aldana, A., Richards-Schuster, K., & Checkoway, B. (2020). "Down Woodward": A Case Study of Empowering Youth to See and Disrupt Segregation Using Photovoice Methods. Journal of Adolescent Research. Advanced online publication

Aldana, A. & Vazquez, N. (2020). From Colorblind Racism to Critical Race Theory: The road toward anti-racist social work in the United States. In G. Singh and S. Masocha (Eds.) Anti-Racist Social Work: International Perspectives. UK: Red Globe Press.

Bañales, J., Aldana, A., Richards-Schuster, K., Flanagan, C., Diemer, M. & Rowley, S., (2019) Youth Anti-Racism Action: Contributions of Youth Perceptions of School Racial Messages and Critical Consciousness. Journal of Community Psychology, 1-22. 

Aldana, A., Bañales, J., & Richards-Schuster, K. (2019). Youth anti-racist engagement: Conceptualization, development, and validation of an anti-racism action scale. Adolescent Research Review, 1-13. 

Rendón, M. G., Aldana, A., & Hom, L. D. (2018). Children of Latino immigrants framing race: making sense of criminalisation in a colour-blind era. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1-19. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2018.148681

Aldana, A., Richards-Schuster, K., Checkoway, B. (2016). Dialogic Pedagogy for Youth Participatory Action Research: Facilitation of an Intergroup Empowerment Program. Social Work with Groups, 39 (4), 339-358. doi:10.1080/01609513.2015.1076370