Mesmin Destin

Mesmin Destin

Associate Professor, Human Development and Social Policy
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Annenberg Hall
Room 203
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-0001
Phone: (847) 467-2824


Mesmin Destin is associate professor at Northwestern University in the School of Education and Social Policy and the Department of Psychology. He is also a fellow of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. Destin directs a multidisciplinary lab group and investigates social psychological mechanisms underlying socioeconomic disparities in educational outcomes during adolescence and young adulthood. Using laboratory and field experiments, Destin studies factors that influence how young people perceive themselves and pursue their futures. At the university level, Destin examines how subtle social experiences and institutional messaging shape the motivation and educational trajectories of low socioeconomic status and first-generation college students.


  • 2019 - Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology
  • 2018 - American Psychological Association Committee on Socioeconomic Status Emerging Leadership Award
  • 2018 - Fellow of the Association for Psycholgoical Science
  • 2018 - Weinberg College Research Innovation Grant
  • 2016 - Outstanding Professor of the School of Education and Social Policy
  • 2016 - William T Grant Scholars Award
  • 2016 - Russel Sage Visiting Scholar Fellowship Award



Year Degree Institution
2010 PhD, Social Psychology University of Michigan
2005 BA, Psychology and Sociology Northwestern University

Selected Publications

Destin, M. (2019). Socioeconomic mobility, identity, and health: Experiences that influence immunology and implications for intervention. American Psychologist: 74, 207-217.

Destin, M. (2018). Socioeconomic mobility, identity, and health: Experiences that influence immunology and implications for intervention. American Psychologist.

Destin, M., Castillo, C., & Meissner, L. (2018). A field experiment demonstrates near peer mentorship as an effective support for student persistence. Basic and Applied Social Psychology.

Destin, M., Rheinschmidt-Same, M., & Richeson, J. R. (2017). Status-based identity: A conceptual framework integrating the social psychological study of socioeconomic status and identity. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12: 270-289.

Destin, M. (2017). An open path to the future: Perceived financial resources and school motivation. Journal of Early Adolescence, 37: 1004-1031.

Destin, M. & Svoboda, R. C. (2017). Costs on the mind: The influence of the financial burden of college on academic performance and cognitive functioning. Research in Higher Education.

Browman, A. S. & Destin, M. (2016). The effects of a warm or chilly climate towards socioeconomic diversity on academic motivation and self-concept. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42: 172-187.

Stephens, N. M., Hamedani, M. G., Destin, M. (2014). Closing the social-class achievement gap: A difference-education intervention improves first-generation students' academic performance and all students' college transition. Psychological Science, 25: 943-953.

Destin, M., Richman, S., Varner, F., & Mandara, J. (2012). "Feeling" hierarchy: The pathway from subjective social status to achievement. Journal of Adolescence, 35: 1571-1579.

Destin, M., & Oyserman, D. (2010). Incentivizing education: Seeing schoolwork as an investment, not a chore. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46: 846-849.

Oyserman, D., & Destin, M. (2010). Identity-based motivation: Implications for intervention. The Counseling Psychologist, 38: 1001-1043.

Destin, M., & Oyserman, D. (2009). From assets to school outcomes: How finances shape children's perceived possibilities and intentions. Psychological Science, 20: 414-418.

Research Interests

Psychological processes underlying associations between socioeconomic circumstances and behaviors/outcomes, such as academic motivation and achievement; effects of financial assets on goals and behavior; small classroom-based interventions to improve school outcomes for low-income and minority youth.

Last Updated: 2019-04-10 14:56:38