Kara K. McElvaine, M.S.

Kara K. McElvaine, M.S.

Ph.D. Student

Profile Field Tabs

Academic interests: 

Kara has always been drawn to both the big, thorny questions and small details of what makes us human, and the highly social nature of that humanity. To explore these big and small questions, she utilizes a variety of developmental theories which seek to understand the dynamic co-actions of people across contexts and time to support societal action toward social justice.

She is currently studying how Oregon's social workers conceptualize equity, belonging, and organizational inclusion within their roles at the Oregon Department of Human Services. Findings will inform the positioning of equity within the development of a workplace culture intervention, and will provide insight into the proximal processes at play in supporting peoples' senses of belonging.

Her other research interests include:

  • Qualities and processes present in equitable contexts for whole child development, especially in K-12 education
  • Macrocontexts of societal structures affecting human experiences and perceptions of agency
  • Social contours of biographies, e.g. linked lives, perceptions of possible selves
  • Life course perspective, relational developmental systems theory, and bioecological theory
  • Critical consciousness and civic engagement throughout the life course
  • Effects of colorblindness and racism on development
  • Qualitative developmental methodology, especially autobiographical narratives and life history interviews



I currently have no publications listed within this site.