News & Media
BA (Psychology)Austin College
MSSW (Direct Practice)University of Texas at Austin
EdD (Human Development & Psychology)Harvard University
SR 906 Qualitative Research Methods
SR 907 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
CP 801 Clinical Practice with Adolescents in Social Context
Spencer, R., Walsh, J., Liang, B. Lund, T. J., & Mousseau, A. M. D. (in press). Having it all?: A qualitative examination of affluent adolescent girls’ perceptions of stress and quests for success. Journal of Adolescent Research.
Spencer, R., *Basualdo-Delmonico, A., *Walsh, J., & *Drew, A. (2017). Breaking up is hard to do: A qualitative interview study of how and why youth mentoring relationships end. Youth & Society, 49(4), 438-460.
Zilberstein, K. & Spencer, R. (2017). Breaking bad: An attachment perspective on youth mentoring relationship closures. Child & Family Social Work, 22, 67-76
Basualdo-Delmonico, A., & Spencer, R. (2016). A parent’s place: Parents’, mentors’ and program staff members’ expectations for and experiences of parental involvement in the youth mentoring process. Children and Youth Services Review, 61, 6-14.
Spencer, R., *Tugenberg, T., *Ocean, M., *Schwartz, S. E. O., & Rhodes, J. E. (2016). “Somebody who was on my side”: A qualitative examination of youth initiated mentoring. Youth & Society, 48(3), 402-424.
Spencer, R., & *Basualdo-Delmonico, A. (2014). Family involvement in the youth mentoring process: A focus group study with program staff. Children and Youth Services Review, 41, 75-82.
Spencer, R., *Basualdo-Delmonico, A., & *Lewis, T. O. (2011). Working to make it work: The role of parents in the youth mentoring process. Journal of Community Psychology, 39(1), 51-59.
Spencer, R., Collins, M. E., *Ward, R., & *Smashnaya, S. (2010). Mentoring for young people leaving foster care: Promise and potential pitfalls. Social Work, 55(3), 225-234.
Spencer, R. (2006). Understanding the mentoring process between adolescents and adults. Youth and Society, 37(3), 287-315.
*Denotes graduate student co-author
Spencer, R., *Drew, A. L., *Gowdy, G., *Horn, J. P., Abrams, E., & Rhodes, J. E. (2017, April). “Well, that’s not how we do things”: Staff perspectives on implementing youth initiated mentoring. Paper to be presented at the Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting, Austin, TX.
Spencer, R., *Gowdy, G., *Drew, A. L., *McCormack, M., & Keller, T. E. (2017, January). Understanding and preventing premature closures of youth mentoring relationships: Mentor, parent and program staff perspectives. Paper presented at the Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, New Orleans, LA.
Spencer, R., *Gowdy, G., *Drew, A. L., *Horn, J. P., & Rhodes, J. E. (2017, January). “It just helps to have someone there”: Youth-initiated mentorship for former foster care youth. Paper presented in symposium G. Gowdy (Chair), Natural Mentorship for Foster Care Youth: Prevalence, Impact, and Programmatic Support at the Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, New Orleans, LA.
Spencer, R. (2016, November). “Because she understands what I have been through”: A qualitative examination of youth initiated mentoring. Workshop presenter. National Mentoring Symposium, Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Spencer, R., Cavell, T. A., Slep, A., *Gowdy, G., *Ocampo, M. Heubach, J., & ± Strathdee, R. (2016, June). Keeping It safe and fun: Parent perspectives on school-based mentoring for military-connected youth. Poster presented at the Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
Spencer, R., Cavell, T. A., Slep, A., *Gowdy, G., *Ocampo, M., Heubach, J., Herrera, C., & ± Strathdee, R. (2016, June). Mentoring military-connected youth: A survey of program practices. Poster presented at the Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
Spencer, R., *McCormack, M., *Gowdy, G., *Drew, A., *Abrams, E., & Keller, T. (2016, January). STAR Study: Investigating matching and the relationship development process. Workshop presented at the National Mentoring Summit, Washington, D.C.
Spencer, R. (2015, November). Leveraging an untapped resource: Parent involvement in youth mentoring relationships. Workshop presenter. Canadian Women’s Foundation National Skills Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Spencer, R. (2014, November). Realizing the promise of youth mentoring. Keynote speaker. Mentors in Schools: Research in Action. Sponsored by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
*Denotes graduate student co-author, ±Denotes undergraduate student co-author
Co-Principal Investigator. PI: Keller, T. (2013-2016). Changing Youth Programs and Settings: An Experimental Evaluation of the Quality Mentoring Systems Initiative, William T. Grant Foundation.
Co-Principal Investigator. PI: Rhodes, J. E. (2013-2016). Youth Initiated Mentoring: Investigating an Innovative Approach to Mentoring At-Risk Youth. US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Co-Principal Investigator. PI: Keller, T. (2012-2015). Prediction and Prevention of Premature Closures of Mentoring Relationships: A Prospective Study of Participants, Processes, and Program Practices. US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Co-Principal Investigator. PI: Liang, B. (2010-2013). Performing Well, Feeling Bad: A Mixed-Method Study of Adolescent Girls, Stress and Psychological Well-Being. Laurel School, Shaker Heights, OH.
Principal Investigator. (2005-2010). Understanding the Mentoring Process: A Longitudinal Study of Mentoring Relationships Between Adolescents and Adults. William T. Grant Foundation Scholar Award.
Professional Activities and Certifications
Professional Activities and Certifications
2013-Present: Friends of the Children Research Evaluation and Fidelity Committee.
2013-2015: Research Consultant, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, In-School Mentoring Standards Revision and Test Labs.
2009-Present: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Research Advisory Council.
2006-2014: MENTOR / National Mentoring Partnership Research and Policy Council.
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Awards and Honors
Awards and Honors
2005-2010: William T. Grant Foundation Scholar Award.
2004: Irene Stiver Dissertation Award, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Wellesley College.
2001: Adolescent and Youth Dissertation Award, Henry A. Murray Research Center of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.