[View Image] School of Education

Korinthia Nicolai

Treasurer/Secretary, VCU Holmes Scholars Program

Ph.D. Student, School of Education
Program Area: Educational Psychology
Graduate Assistant in Department of Foundations of Education

Headshot of Korinthia Nicolai, a VCU Holmes Scholar. [View Image]


  • Ph.D. (expected May, 2023 ) in Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • B.S. in Psychology, James Madison University

Line of Research

My line of research is motivation and belongingness for students belonging to underrepresented groups. I examine how attainment value and academic identity interventions impact the persistence of students belonging to underrepresented groups in STEM positively addressing the underrepresentation of the underrepresented students in STEM majors and careers.

Research and Scholarship

  • Nicolai, K.D., Koenka, A.C., & Braxton, D. (manuscript proposal submitted). Differential feedback, its motivational consequences, and evidence-based strategies. Theory into Practice.
  • Nicolai, K.D., Koenka, A.C., & Braxton, D. (2020, October). Differential and Adaptive Feedback: Defined and Explained. 2020 Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium Conference at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.
  • Koenka, A.C., Nicolai, K.D., Zumbrunn, S.K., & Barnes, N. (data collection). Perceptions of feedback and research synthesis.
  • Koenka, A.C., Broda, M., Agger, C. A., Anderman, E.M., Nicolai, K.D., & Lester, A. M. (2020, August). Longitudinal relations between high school science motivation and performance. Division 15 Presidential Poster Session at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC
  • Nicolai, K.D. & Koenka, A.C. (2020, March). Culturally responsive teaching and motivation in higher education. School of Education Research Colloquium at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.
  • Nicolai, K.D. (2020, February) Culturally responsive teaching: A motivational perspective. Holmes Scholars Preconference at Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Atlanta, GA.
  • Nastos, C. & Nicolai, K.D. (2018, April). Meta-cognitive awareness: Does instructional method matter? Virginia Association for Psychological Sciences, Roanoke, VA.
  • Blitzstein, H., Clarke, S., Nicolai, K.D., Prabhu, S., & Shively, E. (2018, April). Savoring and entitlement. James Madison University Psychology Symposium, Harrisonburg, VA.


Korinthia Nicolai is a second-year doctoral student at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Education in the educational psychology track. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology at James Madison University. There she became interested in the cultural effects on psychology and the unique experiences historically underrepresented minorities have. She is interested in conducting research that brings to the forefront (a) how race, ethnicity and culture can affect academic identity, belonging and motivation; and (b) the implications of these relations for fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in education. At James Madison University, she was the president of Psi Chi, an international honor society for psychology, and gained leadership experience.

What does the Holmes Scholars program mean to you?

The Holmes Scholars program is an opportunity to receive mentorship and peer support to navigate academia as an underrepresented minority. The Holmes Scholars program provides a community at Virginia Commonwealth University and across the nation to connect, collaborate and learn from other scholars. Through the guided support from peers and mentors,along with the professional development workshops, I can continue my development as a scholar.

Curriculum Vitae


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