Achu Alexander, Ph.D., M.A.

Assistant Professor
(508) 849-3440
Office: Foundress 206
Ph.D. Developmental Psychology, Clark University, U.S. (Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey J. Arnett)
M.A. Psychology, Clark University, U.S.
M.A. Applied Psychology, University of Delhi, India
B. Sc. Psychology, Women’s Christian College, India

Achu Johnson Alexander is a cultural-developmental psychologist who is interested in understanding the intersection of culture in human development both within and outside the U.S. border. Her research interests are twofold: (a) identity development of emerging adults (characterizing 18-29 years of age broadly), and (b) emerging adult student learning and development. Her mixed-methods dissertation adopted a cultural lens by focusing on the career engagement of graduating college seniors in preparation for their post-college lives in two contexts, India and U.S. Dr. Alexander has participated in several poster and paper presentations with various professional and academic organizations, such as the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, New England Psychological Association, and American Psychological Association. She serves on several administrative committees, such as the Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Budget, Student Retention, and Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees.

Achu has experience teaching at various institutions within the Colleges of Worcester Consortium such as Clark University, Quinsigamond Community College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She has volunteered with Ascentria Care Alliance and Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC) located in Worcester, MA as well as interned with Stem Learning and Research Center (STELAR) at Education Development Center, Waltham, MA. She is a board member for a non-profit organization, ARISE. She engages with students in research collaborations and serves as a reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals such as Emerging Adulthood and Current Psychology.

Courses taught at Anna Maria:
AMC 100 First Year Seminar (International Students)
PSY 101 General Psychology
PSY 210 Research In The Social World
PSY 217 Human Lifespan Development
PSY 327 Experimental Psychology

Research Interests
My research delves into the intricate tapestry of emerging adulthood through a cultural and cross-cultural lens. At the heart of my exploration are individuals aged 18–19, navigating the pivotal transition into adulthood. My research is a multidimensional journey, and my interests encompass:

(a) Career Identity and Development of Emerging Adults: Unraveling the threads that weave the tapestry of career identity and development in emerging adults. How do aspirations take shape, and what influences the trajectory of their professional journey?

(b) College Student Learning and Development: A comprehensive exploration of the learning and developmental pathways trodden by both traditional and non-traditional college students. What factors contribute to their growth, and how can we optimize the educational experience for diverse student populations?

(c) Mental Health and Well-being of Emerging Adults: Navigating the intricate landscape of mental health and well-being during the critical phase of emerging adulthood. How do individuals cope, thrive, and face the challenges to ensure their psychological resilience?

(d) Cross-Cultural Differences in the Experience of Emerging Adulthood: Embarking on a global expedition to understand how cultural nuances shape the experience of emerging adulthood. Particularly, my focus extends to cross-cultural disparities in career and identity development—unveiling the diversity that enriches this transformative phase.

My mission is to unravel the complexities of emerging adulthood, fostering insights that empower individuals to flourish and advance our collective understanding of this pivotal life stage.

Selected Publications
Alexander, A. J., & Lowe, K. (2022). The Career-Related Parental Involvement Scale: Development and Validation Among College Senior Emerging Adults in India and the U.S. Emerging Adulthood, 11(1), 190-206.

Alexander, A. J., Bechhofer, J., Barry, C. M., Prenoveau, J., & Kotchick, B. (2021). The association between mothering behaviors and empathy in European-American and Asian American emerging adults. Current Psychology, 1-11.

Budwig, N., & Alexander, A. J. (2021). Exploring the conceptual frameworks guiding developmental research and practice in higher education: Some challenges for transdisciplinary work. Human Development, 65(1), 1-18.

Alexander, A. J., Khera, G. S., & Bedi, R. P. (2021). Bicultural identity and self-construal in family among Indian American emerging adults: A mixed-methods study. Journal of Adult Development, 28(1), 1-14.

Budwig, N., & Alexander, A. J. (2020). A Transdisciplinary Approach to Student Learning and Development in University Settings. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 2724.

Alexander, A. J., & Chauhan, V. (2020). Parenting practices in India. In B. Ashdown & A. Faherty (Eds.), Parents and Caregivers Across Cultures: Positive Development from Infancy through Adulthood (pp. 217-230). Springer.

STELAR Center (2018). ITEST Data Brief: Partnerships in ITEST. STELAR, Education Development Center. Retrieved from

Selected Professional Presentations:
Alexander, A. J. (2023, June 15-17). Profiles of Career Engagement in India and U.S. [Emerging Scholars [Pre-conference workshops]. SSEA 2023 Conference, San Diego, CA, United States.

Pratico, J. & Alexander, A. J. (2023, June 15-17). Transition to online learning: Retrospective accounts of students during the COVID-19 pandemic [Poster Presentation]. SSEA 2023 Conference, San Diego, CA, United States.

Barry, C. M., Alexander, A. J., Abo-Zena, M., & Demir, M. (2023, June 15-17). Managing the road to tenure while caregiving [Roundtable conversation}. SSEA 2023 Conference, San Diego, CA, United States.

Sammons, S.* & Alexander, A. J. (2023, April 12). Career Engagement of College Seniors. [Paper Presentation]. Anna Maria College, Paxton, MA, United States.

Hanam, J.* & Alexander, A. J. (April, 2021). How Well-Being Relates to Career Engagement of Emerging Adult College Seniors. Paper presented at Spring 2021 Virtual Academic Symposium, Anna Maria College, Paxton, Massachusetts, USA.

Alexander, A. J., & Mehta, C. (October, 2019). Understanding lived experiences in emerging adulthood: How to effectively use thematic analysis to analyze qualitative data. Paper presented at the 9th Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood (October 10-12), Toronto, Canada.