New Faculty Profile: Professor Kimberly Rios


We are honored to welcome Professor Kimberly Rios to the Department of Psychology faculty as of Fall 2023! Dr. Rios is primarily affiliated with the Social-Personality area.

Can you briefly share your academic and professional background that led you to the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

I am an experimental social psychologist who focuses on social identity - including but not limited to religion, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexuality - and intergroup relations. I received my PhD in Organizational Behavior in 2008 from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and was previously employed at Ohio University (2013-2023), the University of Chicago (2010-2013), and the Ohio State University School of Communication (2008-2010). I serve as Associate Editor for several academic journals and, starting in January 2024, will be Editor-in-Chief of the journal Self and Identity. 

I enjoy making connections with social and behavioral scientists within and outside psychology, so a large part of what attracted me to UIUC's Department of Psychology was the intellectual life. The opportunities to collaborate with and learn from researchers across disciplinary boundaries are unparalleled, and I'm honored to join this community!

Looking ahead, what do you hope to achieve during your time at UIUC's Department of Psychology? Are there any long-term goals you're aiming for?

I look forward to continuing to conduct research, teach courses, and mentor undergraduate and PhD students in diversity science, and to helping rebuild the Social Psychology area at UIUC. Equally important, I hope to build lifelong collaborations and friendships with my new colleagues.

On a personal note, what do you enjoy doing outside of your academic and professional life? Any hobbies, interests, or experiences you'd like to share?

I am an avid animal lover and have four pets, all rescues: Jimmy, an 11-year-old little mutt who manages his own Twitter account and often crashes conferences and Zoom meetings; Stella, a 17-year-old black domestic shorthair cat whom I've had since my grad school days; Nadia, a 14-year-old black longhaired Manx cat who is quite the diva; and Jackie, a 5-year-old black longhaired cat whom I adopted right after I moved to Champaign. I am also a licensed group fitness instructor and enjoy teaching Zumba (since 2011) and barre (since 2014)!