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Alers-Rojas, Francheska

Francheska C Alers Rojas

Assistant Professor
Department of Human Development and Family Sciences


Phone: 787-340-1583

Office Location

***I will be accepting doctoral students to start in Fall 2025. Applications are due December 1 for Fall admission only.


PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of Michigan
         Latina/o Studies Graduate Certificate
JD, University of Puerto Rico Law School
BA, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus

Academic Positions

2023-present. Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. University of Texas at  Austin. 

2020-2023. Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. Affiliate, Provost’s Early Career Fellows Program. University of Texas at  Austin. 

Research Interests

Central to my scholarship is a deceptively simple question: What helps adolescents, especially from minoritized backgrounds, do well? To answer this question, I examine individual, familial, contextual, and cultural factors that promote youth development, particularly among Latinx adolescents. My research draws from resilience and strength-based approaches and employs daily diary, interviews, secondary data analyses, and survey methodologies, among others, to investigate the impact of contextual risks (e.g., discrimination, exposure to community violence, family stress) on adolescents' behavioral and psychological well-being. A second stream of research incorporates biological markers (e.g., cortisol) of and physiological responses (e.g., sleep) to distress to better understand the underlying mechanisms that promote or hinder minoritized youth development. Additionally, a new project qualitatively examines Black and Latina women's experiences with infertility and the effects of race- and class-based stereotypes about reproduction on women of color. 


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Alers-Rojas, F., Ceballo, R., Cranford, J. A., *Esqueda, A. P., & *Troncoso, S. (in press). Adolescents’ exposure to community violence and associations with after-school activities across two samples. Journal of Adolescence.

Benner, A. D., Alers-Rojas, F., Su Yeong, K., Hou, Y., & Coulter, K.M. (2023) COVID-19 anti-Chinese discrimination, current pandemic stress, and adolescents’ mental health. Journal of Ethnic and Racial Health Disparities. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-023-01663-w

*Mora, A. S., Muñoz-Velázquez, J., Alers-Rojas, F., Ceballo, R., & Cranford, J. A. (2023). Understanding Latina/o adolescents’ intersectional experiences of discrimination. Journal of Latinx Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/lat0000234 

Ceballo, R., Alers-Rojas, F., Mora, A. S., & Cranford, J. A. (2022). Exposure to community violence: Toward a more expansive definition and approach to research. Child Development Perspectives16(2), 96-102. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12448   

Jocson, R. M., Ceballo, R., Alers-Rojas, F., & Cranford, J. A. (2021). Examining mother’s exposure to violence: How does it influence young adolescents? Child & Youth Care Forum. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-021-09665-7  

Chen, S., Alers-Rojas, F., Benner, A.D., & Gleason, M.E.J. (2021). Daily experiences of discrimination and adolescents’ sleep: The moderating role of social support. Journal of Research on Adolescence. https://doi.org/ 10.1111/jora.12693.

Ceballo, R., Cranford, J.A., Alers-Rojas, F., Jocson, R.M., & Kennedy, T.M. (2021). What happens after school? Linking Latino adolescents’ activities and exposure to community violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-021-01480-6 

Alers-Rojas, F., Jocson, R., Cranford, J., & Ceballo, R. (2020). Latina mothers’ awareness of their children’s exposure to community violence. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 42(3), 324343. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739986320927512

Ceballo, R., Alers-Rojas, F., Montoro, J. P., & Mora, A. S. (2020). Contextual stressors and the role of religion and spirituality in the mental health of Latino/a immigrant parents and youth. In G.C. Nagayama Halla (ed.), Mental and Behavioral Health of Immigrants in the United States (pp. 135-155). Academic Press. 

Jocson, R., Alers-Rojas, F., & Ceballo, R. (2018). Religion and spirituality: Benefits for Latino adolescents exposed to community violence. Youth and Societyhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0044118X18772714

Cordova, D., Alers-Rojas, F., Perron, E., Salas-Wright, C., & Vaugh, M. (2017). Group-based approaches to preventing adolescent substance abuse: The state of social work science. In C. Garvin, L. Gutiérrez, & M. Galinsky (Eds.), Handbook of Social Work With Groups. Guilford Press. 

Ceballo, R., Jocson, R., & Alers-Rojas, F., (2017). Parental school involvement and Latino children’s educational attainment. In N. Cabrera & B. LeyendeckerB. (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Development of Minority Children. Springer.    

Cordova, D., Alers-Rojas, F., Lua, F. M., Bauermeister, J., Nurenberg, R., Ovadje, L., ... & Council, Y. L. (2016). The usability and acceptability of an adolescent mHealth HIV/STI and drug abuse preventive intervention in primary care. Behavioral Medicinehttps://doi.org/10.1080/08964289.2016.1189396

Cordova, D., Bauermeister, JA., Fessler, K., Delva, J., Nelson, A., Nurenberg, R., Mendoza Lua, F., Alers-Rojas, F., Salas-Wright, C. P., & Youth Leadership Council, (2015). A community-engaged approach to developing an mHealth HIV/Sexually transmitted infections and drug abuse preventive intervention for primary care: A qualitative study. JMIR mHealth uHealth, 3(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0221508

Manuscripts Under Review 

Benner, A.D., Alers-Rojas, F., *López, B.A., & Chen, S. (2023). “Some people will tell jokes to you; some people be racist:” A mixed-methods examination of racist jokes and adolescents’ well-being.

Alers-Rojas, F., & Ceballo, R. (2023). A daily diary study of Latino adolescents’ communication about family stress.

Manuscripts in Preparation

Alers-Rojas, F., Mora, A., & Davila, Sydni Alyse**. An actor-partner interdependence model (APIM) of Mexican rural parent’s and children’s exposure to community violence: The moderating role of parent-child communication.

Mora, A. & Alers-Rojas, F. Linking rape myths to gender-based harassment and psychological well-being among Mexican adults.

Benner, A.D. & Alers-Rojas, F. Adolescents’ academic stress, sleep, and the moderating role of family support. 

*McBride, M., Alers-Rojas, F., & Ceballo, R. Links between community-based factors, neighborhood belonging, and psychological well-being among Latino adolescents.

Alers-Rojas, F., *Lattao, J., & Benner, A.D. Racial and language discrimination: Health outcomes in Asian American adolescents.

Alers-Rojas, F. & García-Coll, C. Final thoughts and future directions in the study of Latinx youth. In R. Ceballo & D. Rivas-Drake (Eds.), Growing up Latinx in the land of liberty: Drawing on community and culture to face contextual challenges. Oxford. 

Oral Presentations   

Alers-Rojas, F., & Benner, A.D.  (2024, April 18-20). Does daily academic-related stress interact with support from parents and friends to improve adolescent sleep? In Alers-Rojas, F. (Chair). Adolescent risk exposure and parental support across race, ethnicity, immigrant Status, and geographic location. Society for Research on Adolescence, Chicago, IL, United States.   

Alers-Rojas, F. (2021, February 2). A daily diary study of Latino Adolescents’ stress. Department of Human Development and Family Sciences Seminar. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States. 

Alers-Rojas, F., Montoro, J., Ceballo, R., & Cranford, J. (2019, March 7-9). Every second matters: A daily diary study of adolescents’ after-school activities, risks, stress, and well-being. In Alers-Rojas. (Chair). ¡Aquí estamos y contamos! Effective recruitment and retention of Latinxs. International Convention of Psychological Science, Paris, France.    

Alers-Rojas, F., Ceballo, R., & Sypher, I.  (2018, June 29 – July 1). "Background noise:" Becoming emotionally numb to community Violence. In Kennedy., T. & Jocson, R. (Chairs). Community violence exposure and sexual harassment among racial/ethnic minority adolescents. Society for Psychological Study of Social Issues, Pittsburgh, PA, United States.  

Kennedy, T., Alers-Rojas, F., Jocson, R., & Ceballo, R. (2018, April 12-14). Latino adolescents’ community violence exposure and well-being: Desensitization and attitudes toward violence. Society for Research on Adolescence, Minneapolis, MN, United States.  

Alers-Rojas, F., Jocson, R.M., & Ceballo, R. (2017, September 18-20). Religion and spirituality: Benefits for Latino adolescents exposed to community violence. Innovations in Injury Prevention Science (SAVIR) Conference, Ann Arbor, MI, United States.    

Jocson, R.M., Alers-Rojas, F., Ceballo, R., & Cranford, J.A. (2017, September 18-20). Community violence exposure and psychological distress among Filipino mothers: The protective role of religiosity. SAVIR Conference, Ann Arbor, MI, United States.    

Kennedy, T., Jocson, R.M., Alers-Rojas, F., & Ceballo, R. (2017, September 18-20). Preventing the cycle of violence: Community violence exposure and attitudes toward violence among Latino adolescents. SAVIR Conference, Ann Arbor, MI, United States.    

Alers-Rojas, F. (2017, January 30). Latina mothers’ awareness of children’s exposure to community violence. University of Michigan, Department of Psychology Developmental Area Brown Brag, Ann Arbor, MI, United States.    

Alers-Rojas, F., Jocson, R., Cranford, J., Fike, K., & Ceballo, R. (2016, September 29 – October 2). Latino mother-adolescent agreement about adolescents' exposure to community violence. National Latina/o Psychological Association, Orlando, FL, United States.  

Alers-Rojas, F., Jocson, R., Cranford, & Ceballo, R. (2016, July 10-12). Associations between gender, language used by mother and mother-child nativity status on Latino youth’s community violence exposure. In Kennedy, T. (Chair). Unpacking community violence exposure: The differential impact of multiple dimensions of violence on youth. International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference, Portsmouth, NH, United States.   

Kennedy T., & Alers-Rojas, F. (2016, July 10-12). Colombian youth’s subjective perceptions of dimensions of community violence exposure: A qualitative investigation. In Kennedy, T. (Chair). Unpacking community violence exposure: The differential impact of multiple dimensions of violence on youth. International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference, Portsmouth, NH, United States.   

Jocson, R. M., Alers-Rojas, F., Garcia, A. S., & Kennedy, T. M. (2015, August 19-22). Experiences of community violence exposure among low-income urban Filipino mothers. Asian Association of Social Psychology, Psychological Association of the Philippines, Cebu City, Philippines.   

Kennedy, T. M., Alers-Rojas, F., & Chaux, E. (2015, August 6-9) A qualitative study of the role of family in Colombian youths' community violence exposure. [Co-presenter] American Psychological Association, Toronto, ON, Canada.  

Cordova, D. Bauermeister, J., Alers-Rojas, F., Nurenberg, R., Mendoza Lua, F., Feil, D., Salas-Wright, C. (2015, July 28-31). Physician-adolescent HIV/STI risk behaviors communication in primary care. AIDSIMPACT, Amsterdam, Netherlands.  

Cordova, D., Bull, S., Coleman-Minahan, K., Chavez, M., & Romo, T. (2015, May 26-29). The direct and indirect effects of social capital on HIV/STI risk behaviors among urban adolescents. [Presenter Alers-Rojas, F.] Society for Prevention Research. Washington, DC, United States.  

Kennedy, T. M., Chaux, E., Alers-Rojas, F., Walter, E. R., Esquivel, L., & Chapa, O. O. (2015, March 19-21) How do Colombian children and adolescents experience and cope with violence exposure? A qualitative, dimensional approach. Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, PA, United States.  

Córdova, D., Bauermeister, J., Delva, J., Alers-Rojas, F., Nurenberg, R., Mendoza, F., & Fell, D. (2015, January 15-18). Developing a primary care HIV preventive intervention app: Grounded in the voices of adolescents. Society for Social Work Research. New Orleans, LA, United States.  


University of Texas at Austin

Fall 2024 

        HDF 378K/PSY 341K Growing Up Latine/x/a/o

Spring 2021, 2023, 2024, 2025

HDF 362 Children and Public Policy

University of Michigan (Graduate Student Instructor)

Winter 2018 & Fall 2017

PSYCH 351 Developmental Research Methods

Winter 2015 & Fall 2014

PSYCH 353 Social Development (grader)

Winter 2014

SPAN 440 Literature and Cultures of the Borderlands: The Politics of Language (grader)

AMCULT 301 Immigration Law: Critical Approaches to Contemporary Issues (grader)





There are multiple opportunities to join my newly established APOYO Lab, including:

Data collection: help support projects with Mexican college students, Black and Latina women, and minoritized adolescents

Data anaysis: learn how to clean and analyze existing data from minoritized youth

Lab meetings: identify, read, and discuss recent research articles related to minoritized youth development

Develop your own research: conduct an independent research study using existing data to answer research questions related to minority youth development, family relationships, stressors, etc.

**If you have questions or would like to join the lab, send me an email: falers@utexas.edu. Briefly introduce yourself (academic standing, major, minor, etc.), let me know why your interested in joining the lab, and attach your resume (if available). 

FINAL APOYO Lab poster