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Benedict McWhirter is a professor in the Counseling Psychology and Prevention Science programs. His research focuses on factors that contribute to adolescent risky behavior and that enhance adolescent resilience; interventions to enhance the sociopolitical development and academic outcomes among Latino and low income youth; and retention and support of college student emerging adults with particular emphasis on students of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds and first-generation college students. He is especially interested on the role of connectedness to others (e.g., peers, parents, teachers), environments (e.g., schools, neighborhoods) and to the self as factors that contribute to outcomes among adolescents and emerging adults.

His scholarship interests have led to the implementation of community- and school-based research with adolescents, families, and college students in the United States and internationally. He was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2004 to teach and conduct research in Santiago, Chile, and along with Ellen Hawley McWhirter he conducted community consultation and collaborative research projects (with the University of Development and the University of Chile in Santiago) for fifteen years. His current focus is on supporting interventions that enhance the academic and social outcomes of immigrant and Latino/a youth.  Along with other McWhirters, he is author of At Risk Youth: A Comprehensive Response, now in its 6th edition.