My professional interests center on prevention programming to promote adolescent competence and well-being. In the context of this type of program, I'm interested in effective implementation, dissemination, and scale-up in settings outside of the research environment. As an Evaluation Specialist at the EPISCenter, I have been actively applying my training from the Penn State Human Development and Family Studies doctorate program to address these issues at the level of community-implementation and with state-level stakeholders. Over the past year I have been working closely with our partners in Berks County Juvenile Probation, the Juvenile Court Judges Commission, and the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency to improve juvenile justice service for youth, to reduce recidivism, and to prepare for statewide roll-out of this initiative. I will be taking on the role of Managing Director at EPISCenter beginning November 1st, 2013, and am enthusiastic about the upcoming responsibilities and challenges.
Present - I am currently working on my dissertation which is an extension of my master's work. The dissertation is a measurement and validity study of a 9-item instrument designed to measure adolescent agency. In a sample of youth in 6th and 7th grades, the study first examines the factor structure of agency using confirmatory factor analysis. Next, within a structural equation modeling framework, the study aims to evaluate the measure's convergent and divergent validity by examining correlates between agency, positive and detrimental characteristics of adaptation (e.g., self-esteem, internalizing), and household characteristics unlikely to be associated with agency (e.g., SES). Lastly, the measure's incremental validity is examined in models predicting ATOD use, measures of life and school satisfaction, and antisocial behavior.
2011- My comprehensive exams focused on adolescent development and prevention science. Specifically, my readings and exam centered on the development of agency and of identity, their interconnected nature, and how prevention and positive youth development programs address these developmental tasks.
2010- My master's thesis entailed the development and validation of a 15-item global measure of adolescent agency that taps into intrinsic motivation, cognitive strategies, and behaviors of agency. The pilot instrument performed very well with 7th and 8th grade students who were participating in an adaptation of TimeWise, which was designed to promote physical activity during free-time.
Strengthening Families in Pennsylvania Project with J. Douglas Coatsworth, Ph.D.
HealthWise South Africa with Ed Smith, Dr. P.H.
TimeWise with Linda Caldwell, Ph.D.
Prevention and Methodology Training (PAMT) Fellow 2008-10
Prevention Research Center
HDFS Graduate Student Steering Committee