Faculty and Staff

Wadiya Udell

Associate Professor
Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Scholarship

B.A. Psychology, Wheaton College
Ph.D. Developmental Psychology, Columbia University

Office: UW2-324
Phone: 425-352-3672
Email: wau2@uw.edu
Website: https://catalyst.uw.edu/workspace/wau2/13861/75374
Mailing: 11136 NE 180th, Bothell, WA 98011-1713


My teaching philosophy can be broadly described as "Education for Thinking". My goal is for students to not only examine what is currently known, but to also discover and dissect the theoretical and epistemological frameworks under which the alleged facts have been discovered. I believe it is important for students to view information within a framework of alternatives so that they can evaluate the strength of claims for themselves. To guide students towards this end, I engage students in actively understanding and critiquing presented knowledge, and in constructing new knowledge. In am continually aware of the diversity in people's experiences, and therefore attempt to create a learning atmosphere where students with a variety of learning and assessment styles can benefit. My teaching consists of a variety of mediums, including lecture, small group discussion, debate, and group projects. Throughout all of these formats, I try to get students to connect what is being learned to their lives. It is my hope that students in my class not only leave with a broad understanding of the content being taught, but also of the ways in which social science affects the world in which we live.

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 316 Topics in Psychology
BIS 337 Risk and Resilience
BIS 343 Community Psychology
BIS 498 Senior Seminar: Adolescents as Decision makers
BISSEB 333 Individual & Society


Much of my research has been dedicated to developing a developmentally appropriate and comprehensive approach to health promotion and risk prevention among adolescents. Specifically, my interest has focused on the decisions adolescents make that place them at risk for a lifetime of economic and health disparities. For the past several years, I have worked on identifying and developing the reasoning skills underlying adolescent decision-making. My work has focused less on solitary cognitive processes involved in decision-making, and more on adolescents' informal reasoning in social settings.

More recently I have begun to engage in researcher/community collaborations adapting effective evidence-based interventions for socially and academically at-risk adolescents living in impoverished communities. Ultimately, my goals are to a) understand the processes by which adolescents negotiate risky situations with peers, b) incorporate these insights into existing interventions, and c) work toward ensuring that effective interventions are adopted and implemented by creating interventions that consider, respect and reflect the values of the various communities for which they are created.

Selected Publications

Udell, W., Donenberg, G., & Emerson, E. (in press).  Parents matter in HIV-risk among probation youth. Journal of Family Psychology.

Udell, W., Donenberg, G., & Emerson, E. (2011). The impact of mental health problems and religion on African-American girls’ HIV-risk. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17, 217-224.

Udell, W., Sandfort, T., Reitz, E., Bos, H., & Dekovic, M. (2010).  The relationship between early sexual debut and psychosocial outcomes: A longitudinal study of Dutch adolescents.  Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39 (5), 1133-1145.

O’Sullivan, L., Udell, W., Montrose, V., Antoniello, P., & Hoffman, S. (2010)  “A cognitive analysis of college students’ explanations for engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse.  Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39 (5), 1121-1131.

DeFuccio, M., Kuhn, D., Udell, W., & Callender, K. (2009).  Developing argument skills in severely disadvantaged adolescents in a residential correctional facility.  Applied Developmental Science, 13 (1), 30-41.

Udell, W., Bannon, W., & McKay, M. (2008).  Parenting and adolescent decision-making:  The importance of racial socialization.  Social Work in Mental Health, 6 (4), 65-79.

Udell, W. (2007).  Enhancing adolescent girls’ argument skills in reasoning about personal and non-personal decisions.  Cognitive Development, 22, 341-352.

Kuhn, D., & Udell, W. (2007).  Coordinating own and other perspectives in argument. Thinking and Reasoning, 13 (2), 90-104.

O’Sullivan, L., Udell, W., & Patel, V. (2006). Young urban adults’ heterosexual risk encounters and perceived risk and safety: A structured diary study.  Journal of Sex Research, 43 (4), 343-351.

Kuhn, D., & Udell, W. (2003).  The development of argument skills.  Child Development, 74 (5), 1245-1260.