Steven Zhou

Steven Zhou

Steven Zhou

Graduate Professional Assistant

Leadership, measurement, education, scientist-practitioner gap

Steven Zhou is a fourth year doctoral candidate (ABD) in the Industrial & Organizational Psychology program, studying under Dr. Stephen Zaccaro and Dr. Philseok Lee. He previously received a B.A. in Industrial & Organizational Psychology and M.A. in Religion from Pepperdine University. Prior to starting the Ph.D. program, he worked in human resources and data analytics for a 250+ FTE sales strategy department at a $1.44 billion global food subscription company. He has prior research experience in cross-cultural leadership and college student development, teaching experience in Organizational Behavior and K-12 speech & debate, and extensive corporate training experience including a leadership seminar at the Alibaba International HQ.

At Mason, Steven's research centers around leadership, personality, and psychometrics. He is currently working on projects in early childhood leadership development, new methods of conceptualizing and measuring leadership behavior, multidimensional forced choice (MFC) methods of measuring personality, faith and work, and text analysis methods of assessing job ads and syllabi. He won the 2021 International Leadership Association's Kenneth Clark Student Research Award for his work on leader behavior profiles. He also has taught undergraduate statistics and is a graduate TA for Mason's online Master's in I-O program, and was the 2021 Outstanding Grad Student Instructor award winner. Finally, he served as the 2021-2022 President of Mason's Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA), and he now serves as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of the Provost for Graduate Education. Outside of Mason, Steven is an Associate Contributor for Young Voices and Director of Finance & Administration for Project SHORT. Steven is interested in pursuing an academic career and is passionate about teaching, research, and policy in higher education.

Selected Publications

McCarron, G. P., Zhou, S., Campbell, A., Kodama Muscente, K., & Schierbeek, E. (2022). We’re not working with a blank slate: Students’ pre-college leadership activities and perceived parenting behavior as predictors of college-based leader emergence and leader self-efficacy. Journal of Leadership Education, 21(1), 33-47. Retrieved from 

Ahmad, A. S*, & Zhou, S.* (2021). Spreading the word: Equipping I-O students to use descriptive statistics for effective data visualization. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 14(4), 510-513.

Maskell, S., McCarron, G. P., Cannon, J. A., Zhou, S., Zaccaro, S. J., & Goldstein, T. (2021). The leadership stories our children are told: An examination of the characteristics of leadership behaviors and orientations in popular youth TV shows. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 

Zhou, S., & Field, J. G. (2021). Many forces at play: Ethical dilemmas in academic research. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 14(3), 360-366.

Zhou, S., & Ahmad, A. S. (2020). Who's your audience? Expanding I-O teaching to non-I-O students. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 13(4), 585-589.

* denotes equal contribution

Courses Taught

PSYC 300: Statistics in Psychology
PSYC 320: Psychological Tests and Measurements
PSYC 379: Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology 
MGMT 313: Organizational Behavior (Writing TA)
PSYC 601: Applied Data Analytics I (Online GTA)
PSYC 603: Research Methods (Online GTA)
PSYC 616: Selection (Online GTA)
PSYC 792: Practicum (Online GTA)


B.A. Industrial & Organizational Psychology, summa cum laude | Pepperdine University
M.A. Religion | Pepperdine University

Recent Presentations

Zhou, S., Aitken, J. A., Montaño, L., & Kuykendall, L. (2022, April 28-30). Complexifying calling: Exploring the multifaceted nature of calling [Research Incubator]. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, United States.

Zhou, S., McEachern, P. J., Aitken, J. A., & Lee, P. (2022, April 28-30). Are we attracting the right candidates? A text analysis approach to understanding the applicability of O*NET in job advertising. In Zhou, S. (Co-Chair), McChesney, J. E. (Co-Chair), & Hoff, K. A. (Co-Chair), Putting the O*NET into good use: A critical evaluation of the use and misuse of O*NET [Symposium]. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, United States.

Zhou, S. (2022, February 16-19). Pursuing diversity in an inclusive manner: The impact of taboo topics on expression of diverse perspectives [Poster session]. Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA.

McCarron, G. P., & Zhou, S. (2021, October 20-25). An examination of the major pre-college influences on college students’ leader self-efficacy. In J. Kaufman (Chair), Reimagining the leadership life cycle: From formation to global transformation [Symposium]. International Leadership Association Annual Conference, Geneva, Switzerland.

Zhou, S., & Kuykendall, L. (2021, April 15-17). When infrastructure and ethics collide: A panel on ethical policy-making in higher ed [Panel discussion]. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Annual Convention, Online. [Presenters: Chen, G., Pierce, C. A., McAbee, S. T., & Thornton-Lugo, M. A.]

Zhou, S., & Kodama Muscente, K. (2021, April 15-17). Why do people work for free? A meta-analysis of volunteer motivations [Poster session]. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Annual Convention, Online.

Zhou, S. & Lee, P. (2020, August 6-9). Not much more than PsyCap? A new psychometric investigation using bi-factor exploratory SEM [Online poster session]. American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Washington, DC.

Lee, P., Joo, S. H., & Zhou, S. (2020, July 13-16). Detecting ideal point-based DIF using dominance-based DIF methods [Poster session]. International Meeting of the Psychometric Society 2020, College Park, MD. (Conference canceled)

In the Media

Zhou, S. (2022, February 25). The academic bait-and-switch: Do professors make good administrators? The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2021, November 17). Are students learning the right skills? Why academia needs to go back to the "basics". The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2021, November 16). Failure isn't really failure: What academia can learn from start-up culture. Heterodox: The Blog. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2021, June 7). 3 warning signs to consider before using a personality test. Fast Company. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2021, May 12). The shift from liberal arts to STEM comes at a cost. RealClearEducation. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2020, August 10). Permanent work from home can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Washington Examiner. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2019, June 24). What psychology offers Christians amid political polarization. Christianity Today. Retrieved from