Texas Tech University

New Faculty Spotlight: Niyantri Ravindran, Human Development and Family Sciences

Hannah Fields

September 28, 2020


Ravindran says she looks forward to collaborating with colleagues, creating mentorship opportunities for students

The Department of Human Development and Family Sciences welcomes Niyantri Ravindran, Ph.D. to their faculty this semester as an assistant professor.

Ravindran received her a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She also recently completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at The Pennsylvania State University before joining the College of Human Sciences.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, Ravindran was required to take upper-division courses outside of her major, leading her to their Department of Family Social Science and, ultimately, the field of human development and family studies.

"At the same time, I also started working in multiple research labs at the Institute of Child Development," Ravindran said. "These experiences led me to discover the field of HDFS and realize that it was exactly what I wanted to do. I love being in an interdisciplinary field that is dedicated to studying and helping children and families."

Ravindran's research focus examines factors that determine how parents and young children respond to one another during emotionally challenging situations and the implications of these interactions for children's ability to effectively cope with negative emotions and stress. To assess her findings, she uses a multi-method approach by collecting survey, observational, and physiological data – all of which carry over into her teaching interests.

"An innovative aspect of my research is that I look at parent-child interaction across very brief timescales – literally seconds!" Ravindran explained. "With respect to teaching, I am enthusiastic about teaching topics related to social and emotional development in childhood and adolescence, parenting or parent-child relationships, and biopsychosocial perspectives to understanding development."

When considering a faculty role in Human Development and Family Studies, Ravindran said she felt that the position with Texas Tech University was a good fit.

"When I visited campus, I found the department and college to be supportive and welcoming and the faculty and graduate students to be very impressive," Ravindran explained. "I also felt that my research aligned really well with the faculty here. I am excited to be a part of the College of Human Sciences and start my faculty career here!"

Ravindran said she is looking forward to new collaborations with fellow faculty members in the College of Human Sciences and all the new initiatives, ideas, and projects that may emerge from those collaborations. She is also looking forward to engaging with students and passionate about mentorship opportunities.

"I enjoy engaging with students at all levels and welcome students approaching me," Ravindran said. "Questions from students and conversations with them often challenge me to think outside the box. I am also passionate about mentorship and I am very much invested in taking the time and effort to develop positive mentor-mentee relationships."