Zenaida Rivera

Zenaida Rivera

Doctoral Candidate
Clinical Graduate Teaching Assistant



Psychology, Clinical

Zenaida Rivera

Zenaida Anastasia Rivera was born in New York, New York. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 2010. She graduated with a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University in 2013. After graduating, Zenaida worked for two years as a research assistant in Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s LGBT Health and Development program. During that time she also worked as a community mental health counselor in the Chicago area.
Zenaida moved to Detroit to study Clinical Psychology at Wayne State University in 2015. She works with Dr. Valerie Simon in her research on the development of peer and romantic relationships for young adolescents, some of whom have experienced sexual abuse.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

Research and clinical interests include sexual and romantic relationships of LGBT populations, racial and ethnic minority issues, adolescents and emerging adult populations, resiliency, and trauma.


  • B.A., Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2010
  • M.A., Counseling Psychology, Northwestern University, 2013
  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, Wayne State University, 2018

Awards and grants

  • John Teahan Endowed Memorial Award, 2019
  • Honorable Mention in Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship - National Academies of Sciecnes, Engineering, & Medicine, 2019
  • Thomas C. Rumble University Graduate Fellowship, 2018 – 2019
  • Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute (MPSI) Pre-Doctoral Fellow, 2016 – 2019
  • Lifespan Alliance Research Day Best Graduate Paper Presentation (MPSI) 2018
  • Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Program Fellowship, 2016 – 2018
  • Wayne State University Dean’s Diversity Fellowship, 2015 – 2016


Selected publications

Kohlberger, B., Simon, V.A., & Rivera, Z. (in press) A dyadic perspective on sexual self-subjectivity and romantic relationship functioning. Journal of Relationships Research

DuBois, L. Z., Macapagal, K., Rivera, Z., Prescott, T., Ybarra, M., & Mustanski, B. (2015). To have sex or not to have sex? An online focus group study of sexual decision making among sexually experienced and inexperienced gay and bisexual adolescent men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44(7), 2027-2040. doi: 10.1007/s10508-015-0521-5

Macapagal, K. R., Greene, G., Rivera, Z. A., & Mustanski, B. (2015). “The best is always yet to come”: Relationship stages and processes among same-sex couples in emerging adulthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(3), 309-320. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000094