Education, Research & ImpactOur Education, Research & Impact team, led by Tia Kim, consists of educational designers, research scientists, and implementation staff who build on Committee for Children’s extensive experience in the field of social-emotional learning (SEL) to develop and continuously improve our programs and products. Our educational designers use their deep knowledge of best practices in pedagogy and teaching to create engaging, easy-to-use curricula designed to address real-life challenges and improve the lives of students and school staff. Our researchers translate recent research from the field and the current challenges and needs of classrooms into practical application to ensure every program and product we create promotes the social-emotional development, safety, and well-being of children. The Committee for Children research advisory group also provides consultation and guidance to our staff. Join our growing team! Visit our Careers page to learn about our current openings. Tia Kim, PhD Vice President of Education, Research & Impact × Tia Kim, PhD Vice President of Education, Research & Impact Tia Kim leads the development and evaluation of Committee for Children’s programs. She’s committed to enhancing their quality, effectiveness, and reach through innovation, partnerships, and rigorous, continuous improvement processes. Tia received her doctorate in developmental psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and completed three years of post-doctoral training at the Academic Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention, where her research focused on the etiology and prevention of youth violence and aggression. She served for three years as an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State, Brandywine, before taking her current position at Committee for Children. Educational Design Bridgid Normand, MEd Special Advisor to Learning and Impact × Bridgid Normand, MEd Special Advisor to Learning and Impact When Bridgid Normand was growing up in Scotland, she had no idea that the perfect position would one day be waiting for her on the other side of the world, in Seattle. And yet, her every work experience and passion has led to her new role as special advisor to Learning and Impact at Committee for Children, which highlights her deep understanding of our products and unparalleled institutional knowledge. Prior to this, she spent more than 10 years overseeing a team of educational designers creating research-based programs that teach self-regulation and social-emotional skills to children in developmentally and culturally appropriate ways. Before coming to Committee for Children 18 years ago, Bridgid worked as a teacher (from preschool to high school), an elementary school counselor, community developer, curriculum writer, parent educator, and prevention coordinator for a youth and family services agency. She has a BA in European studies from the University of East Anglia, a postgraduate certificate in education from the University of London, and an MEd from the University of Washington. Given her experience living in three countries, she helps our international partners culturally adapt Committee for Children programs. “Working overseas has helped me understand things from a cross-cultural perspective,” she says. Her social-emotional learning (SEL) superpower is empathy, which she pairs with her professional skills in mindfulness. “Empathy by itself is not enough,” Bridgid says. “Sometimes people’s empathy can lead to distress, which can lead to wanting to hide out from things. Learning how to manage those feelings helps people take compassionate or just action.” For Bridgid, Committee for Children offers the ideal environment for doing what’s most important to her. “I’ve always been focused on kids thriving and doing well,” she says. “This job has given me the opportunity to bring together all the skills I have in one place, in an organization that continues to have a big impact—much more so than one school or one community could have. I’m someone who’s always wanted to make change in the world, so that’s pretty exciting for me.” Elise Potts Educational Designer × Elise Potts Educational Designer Before Elise began working with Committee for Children in 2017, she was a curriculum developer for the Mendez Foundation’s Too Good programs. In this role, she collaborated with a team of researchers and developers to create evidence-based bullying, violence, and substance-abuse prevention programs for grades K–12. In addition, she started an outreach campaign with her local community to coordinate pilot projects—like an afterschool initiative to integrate SEL into makerspaces. Elise enjoys the challenge of building developmentally and culturally appropriate and engaging lessons. Given Elise’s experience building children’s social-emotional skills and inspiring them to be active, lifelong learners through fun, interactive programs, she and Committee for Children are a natural fit. She holds a BA in English from Wellesley College. Research Team Sherri Widen, PhD Director of Research × Sherri Widen, PhD Director of Research For a long time, Sherri Widen was quite satisfied doing basic research, especially with a focus on looking at how children’s understanding of emotion develops and changes with age. She received a BA in psychology and an MA in developmental psychology from the University of British Columbia, and a doctorate in developmental psychology from Boston College. Then, she moved into the more applied field of educational psychology, working on a social-emotional learning (SEL) program. “It helped open up my eyes to all the possibilities there are to supporting children to develop and flourish,” she says. With that combined background in research plus intervention, Sherri joined Committee for Children in 2018. As the director of research, she manages research scientists and assistants as they help develop SEL products that are both research informed and evidence based. “We want to make sure any claims we’re making, or particular things we’re trying to teach kids, are supported by the research out there,” she says. “We also collect our own data so we can inform people about changes in our curricula.” Sherri is particularly excited to be working with a team at Committee for Children that’s focusing on children from birth to four years old. This team is currently looking into creating a mom-to-mom mentoring program, with the goal of supporting the development of social-emotional skills in kids from day one. As for her own SEL superpower, she believes it’s perspective-taking, which she employs in all her interpersonal interactions. “I use it when things aren’t going the way I expect,” Sherri says. “I think about the other person’s perspective so I’m not just focusing on what’s happening to me.” A fan of hikes, bike rides (when the weather’s nice!), farmers markets, and word games, Sherri is grateful that she has the opportunity to use science to improve lives. “I really love our mission of helping children thrive in a peaceful world, and just the opportunity to contribute to that work and maybe even improve it—it’s really exciting,” she says. “Committee for Children has enormous reach in America and internationally. This is an exciting time to work toward the goal of reaching 100 million children per year by 2028.” Mylien Duong, PhD Senior Research Scientist × Mylien Duong, PhD Senior Research Scientist Mylien began her time as the senior research scientist at Committee for Children in October 2018. Having worked with the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Justice, and private foundations, she’s developed and evaluated psychosocial interventions that promote social-emotional and academic success and that prevent and treat mental health problems. As part of our Education, Research & Impact team, Mylien brings her expertise in developing evidence-informed interventions that are multiculturally responsive, feasible for institutions to implement, and effective at scale. Cailin Currie, PhD Research Scientist × Cailin Currie, PhD Research Scientist Cailin Currie was welcomed to our Committee for Children team in early 2018. She has extensive experience as an educational researcher who is passionate about using research to support student success. Cailin has developed school-based intervention programs and curriculum reforms in PreK–12 settings, and her graduate work focused on student engagement, student academic coping, and teacher-student relationships. Before earning her doctorate, she developed and facilitated professional development and associated training for caretakers in the mental health community. Cailin considers program evaluation and applied-research implementation in an educational context to be her best skills. She completed her MS and PhD degrees in applied developmental psychology at Portland State. Tricia Maas, PhD Research Scientist × Tricia Maas, PhD Research Scientist Before coming to Committee for Children in early 2018, Tricia worked as a research analyst at the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education. Her research focused on how schools support personalized, social-emotional, and blended learning, how school community members experience these approaches, and how education systems can support these methods. Before her graduate studies in educational leadership and policy, Tricia spent three years teaching high school math. Tricia’s skilled in research design, data collection, and analysis, and she’s using these skills in her work with the Out of School Time project at Committee for Children. Tricia has dual BAs in economics and French from the University of Richmond, an MA in policy, organization, and leadership studies from Stanford, and her PhD in education leadership and policy from the University of Washington. Jasmine Williams, PhD Research Scientist × Jasmine Williams, PhD Research Scientist Jasmine supports the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs at Committee for Children. She developed a passion for youth advocacy and research during her undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech and service with City Year DC, and she has been an educator in various formal and informal learning settings. Jasmine completed her doctoral training in applied developmental psychology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Psychology in Education, with a focus on adolescent development, motivation, and teacher-student relationships. Her scholarship has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Early Adolescence, Teaching and Teacher Education, and Research in Human Development. Research Advisory Group Dorothy Espelage, PhD × Dorothy Espelage, PhD University of Florida Dr. Dorothy Espelage is a professor of psychology at the University of Florida. She is the recipient of the APA Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention Science and the 2016 APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy, and is a fellow of APS, APA, and AERA. Over the last 20 years, she has written over 140 peer-reviewed articles, five edited books, and 30 chapters on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, dating violence, and gang violence. Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming, and she has secured six and one-half million dollars of external funding. She advises members of Congress and the Senate on bully prevention legislation. She wrote a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011, and has been a consultant on the stopbullying.gov website and consultant to the National Anti-bullying Campaign, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show; Anderson 360, and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Sandra Graham, PhD × Sandra Graham, PhD University of California, Los Angeles Dr. Sandra Graham is a distinguished professor in the Human Development and Psychology Division in the Department of Education at UCLA and the University of California presidential chair in education and diversity. Her major research interests include the study of academic motivation and social development in children of color, particularly in school contexts that vary in racial/ethnic diversity. She is principal investigator on grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Graham has published widely in developmental, social, and educational psychology journals and received many awards. Among her awards, she is a 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development Award from the Society for Research on Child Development and the 2014 E. L. Thorndike Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Educational Psychology, Division 15 of the American Psychological Association. Most recently, in 2015 she was elected to the National Academy of Education. Nancy Guerra, EdD × Nancy Guerra, EdD University of California, Irvine Dr. Nancy Guerra is the dean of the School of Social Ecology and professor of psychology and social behavior at UCI. Her research focuses on preventing youth violence and promoting healthy youth development. She has been the lead investigator for a number of large-scale projects, including the Southern California Academic Center for Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention (2000–2011) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before that she was the principal investigator on an eight-year development and prevention study in the Chicago Public Schools, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. More recently she has been involved in international programs, as associate provost and senior international officer at the University of Delaware (2011–2015), and as a consultant for international agencies, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and USAID. She currently serves as co-chair for kNOw Violence, a global initiative to prevent violence in childhood sponsored by the Public Health Foundation of India. Kevin Haggerty, PhD × Kevin Haggerty, PhD Social Development Research Group, University of Washington Dr. Kevin Haggerty is the director of the Social Development Research Group, University of Washington School of Social Work. He has specialized in the development and implementation of prevention programs at the community, school, and family levels. Since 1993, he has been the project director for the Raising Healthy Children study, a school-based approach to social development. He is an early implementer and trainer of the Guiding Good Choices parenting program. He is principal investigator of the NIDA-funded Family Connections study, testing the Parents Who Care program, and the Focus on Families study. He is an investigator of the Community Youth Development Study, testing the effectiveness of Communities that Care. Shelley Hymel, PhD × Shelley Hymel, PhD University of British Columbia Dr. Shelley Hymel’s research addresses the interface of social and academic functioning, with the goal of understanding social developmental processes in order to support children and youth in school settings. Of primary interest is research to promote social-emotional learning (SEL) in children and youth. Her research is conducted through ongoing school-university partnerships and in collaboration with graduate students in the Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) research laboratory. John Love, PhD × John Love, PhD Retired Dr. John Love began retirement after 18 years with Mathematica Policy Research, where he was senior fellow and area leader for early-childhood policy and research. He now provides independent consulting in early care and education research, program evaluation, and policy. He has been involved for more than 40 years in teaching, research, and evaluation studies of programs for children birth to age five and their families. Dr. Love is an authority on early-childhood program evaluation and assessment. He has directed numerous program evaluations that have included randomized control studies, implementation/process studies, and qualitative research. He was a key player in Early Head Start research and evaluation studies from the infant-toddler phase through its prekindergarten follow-up study. He directed a multisite study of preschool curricula for the US Department of Education (the Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research or PCER project) and a single-county study of universal preschool for First 5 LA.