Department of Applied Psychology

Developmental Psychology

Graduate Students

  • Allison Friedman

    Allison Friedman is a 4th year doctoral student in Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She is an IES Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Fellow. Her research interests include the impacts of early childhood education programs and interventions on children's development in cognitive, social-emotional, and self-regulation domains. She is also interested in how biological and environmental factors interact to influence a child's development in the context of the preschool environment. Allison has worked on projects about the bidirectional influences between child behavior problems, classroom quality, and teacher stress in preschool classrooms. She is currently working on projects examining different types of mobility and instability in young children's education settings on children's school readiness skills and academic achievement. She also is involved in work on the reanalysis of the Head Start Impact Study, focusing on the role of classroom quality.  Allison is interested in the policy implications of her work. She is originally from Long Island, NY, and worked at the National Institute for Early Education Research before coming to NYU.  She has a B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University and an Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Allison's research mentors are Cybele Raver and Pamela Morris. 

  • Alyssa Pintar

    Alyssa Pintar
     is a second-year doctoral student in the Psychological Development Program at NYU Steinhardt. She is interested, in general, in the development of children’s coping; the dynamic between the socialization, and the child’s own organization, of developing self-regulatory skills to effortfully mitigate contexts of stress. In this vein, she is interested in how parents experiencing poverty-related stress perceive their child’s experiences of stress, in addition to their child’s capacity to effortfully mitigate stress (i.e. coping). Alyssa received a bachelor of science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2012, double-majoring in child psychology and art history. During her time in Minnesota, she worked as a research assistant in several labs, completing her undergraduate honors thesis under the direction of Dr. Megan Gunnar, as well as working in labs run by Dr.’s Stephanie Carlson, Philip Zelazo, and Ann Masten. Currently, she is being mentored by Dr.’s Clancy Blair and Cybele Raver in the Neuroscience and Education Lab at NYU Steinhardt, and is working on a manuscript investigating how effortful control is protective against the influence of maternal depression on early anxiety symptoms. See Alyssa's full CV.  


  • Andrew Ribner

    Andrew Ribner is a first year graduate student in the Psychological Development program at NYU Steinhardt. He received a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Educational Psychology and Learning Theory, Biology, and Psychology, and worked in the Cognitive Development Labs under Dr. Anna Shusterman. There, he did research on numerical and spatial development in 3-7 year olds and had a specific interest in individual differences in mathematical development across socioeconomic status. He plans to continue investigating early mathematical development across SES and its interplay with self-regulation. View Andrew's CV.

  • Brian Spitzer

    Brian Spitzer is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program in Applied Psychology. Most broadly, he is interested in how to shape adolescent behavior by studying the social forces that underlie motivation and learning. He believes in combining research from psychology and education to develop brief interventions that improve the course of a behavior over time. He received his B.A. in psychology and child development at California State University, Chico and went on to work at Stanford University to understand how students' beliefs about learning and school affect their motivation. Currently, he is working with his mentor, Dr. Joshua Aronson, studying the effects of elevation on cognitive ability and effort. Additionally, he is working with Dr. Clancy Blair to develop an intervention that teaches students that emotions can be effectively regulated. For Brian's full CV please click here.

  • Emily Bostwick

    Emily Bostwick is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program in the Applied Psychology department at NYU Steinhardt. She received her B.A. in both Psychology and Spanish from Bucknell University, from which she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Emily works on the Latino Family Engagement and Language Development Research Team led by Gigliana Melzi, her advisor and research mentor. Most broadly, Emily is interested in language development and the interrelations between language and culture. She is interested in the language and narrative skill development of young dual-language learners and is also interested in dual-language learners’ language attitudes and code-switching processes. Emily also volunteers at a bilingual Head Start center in Manhattan that has a close partnership with her research team.

  • Eric Finegood

    Eric Finegood
     is a doctoral student in the Psychological Development program at NYU Steinhardt.  Broadly, his research interests are in exploring the psychobiological relationship between stress and neural development in parents and their children.  Particularly, he is interested in the interface of biology and environment as it shapes parenting strategies and influences cognitive and social-emotional outcomes in children via stress physiological systems.  Before coming to New York, Eric received his BA at the program for Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science at the University of Michigan.  After graduating, he worked as a research technician in a neuroimaging laboratory at the University of Michigan’s Psychiatry Department, investigating functional brain changes in response to attachment-based parenting interventions provided to at-risk families.  Eric’s primary advisor at NYU is Dr. Clancy Blair. 

  • Jessica Cressen

    Jessica Cressen is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program in NYU Steinhardt's Department of Applied Psychology.  She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Applied Psychology Undergraduate Program.  She holds a B. A. in both Psychology and Spanish from Bucknell University, from which she graduated summa cum laude in 2009.  Before beginning her doctoral studies at NYU, she worked as a research assistant under Dr. Carolyn Rovee-Collier at Rutgers University, studying learning and memory in infancy.  Her personal research interests differ greatly from her pre-doctoral work.  Most broadly, Jessica is interested in the influence of stereotypes (racial/ethnic and gender) on various facets of development across middle childhood and adolescence.  Under the mentorship of both Dr. Niobe Way and Dr. Selcuk Sirin, Jessica has investigated various predictors of social and emotional development and academic adjustment among urban adolescents.  In her own work, Jessica utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methods to shed light on the underlying processes driving the development of stereotype knowledge and, in turn, how that knowledge affects children's outcomes. To see Jessica’s full CV, please click here.

  • Juan Del Toro

    Juan Del Toro
    is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University. His research interests include examining (a) how ethnic-racial dynamics influence youth’s experiences in school, (b) the role of peers, parents, and adults in school in these dynamics, and (c) the role of gender in these ethnic-racial dynamics. With Dr. Diane Hughes, Juan is currently working on a few quantitative and mixed-method (i.e., survey and interview data) studies examining ethnic-racial and gender variations on youth’s reports on racial discrimination, ethnic-racial socialization, academic outcomes, and other ethnic-related dynamics, particularly in school. In another study, Juan is exploring how perceived barriers to upward social mobility and perceived meritocracy are associated with these ethnic-racial and gender dynamics overtime. Juan’s interests stem from his prior work applying feminist and critical race theory, “intersectionality,” to understand the narratives of young adult men of color within predominantly White colleges. Juan received his B.A. from Bowdoin College with an honors thesis exploring the narratives of men of color within underrepresented colleges and workplaces. Juan has presented at multiple academic conferences, including the National Latina/o Psychological Association and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.


  • Kat Adams

    Kat Adams is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She is interested in how social-psychological and environmental factors affect students' identity, resiliency, and self-regulation in educational settings through experimental and intervention research. Kat graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in linguistics from UCLA in 2010. She joins NYU after four years as a lab manager and research coordinator at Stanford University.

  • Kelly Escobar

    Kelly Escobar
     is a doctoral student in the Psychological Development program in Applied Psychology. Broadly, her research interests focus on examining communicative development in young infants and on through early preschool, especially in Latino dual-language learners. Namely she is interested in seeing how parent-child interactions across contexts change and foster language development. Kelly is a New York City native and graduated Cum Laude from Villanova University in Pennsylvania. Kelly works with Dr. Gigliana Melzi in the Latino Family Engagement and Language Development research team studying child narrative development, as well as with Dr. Catherine Tamis-LeMonda at the Center for Research on Culture, Development, and Education studying language development in naturalistic settings. Kelly is also involved in ongoing collaborations with Dr. Rebecca Brand at Villanova University on infant motor development and language acquisition. She received her B.A. in Psychology and B.A. in Italian Language and Literature, as well as her M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Villanova University.


  • Paula Daneri

    Paula Daneri is a doctoral student in the Psychological Development program at NYU Steinhardt. She received her B.A. in psychology from Duke University and spent two years doing early childhood education research at a non-profit research organization before coming to NYU. Her current research interests include executive function development in early childhood, particularly in dual language learners, and its associations with school readiness. She’s currently working with her mentor, Dr. Clancy Blair, on a project examining the efficacy of a preschool curriculum with dual language learning children. 


  • Rachel McKinnon

    Rachel McKinnon is a doctoral student in the Psychological Development program in Applied Psychology. Rachel works with Dr. Clancy Blair on the Family Life Project and with Dr. Cybele Raver on the Chicago School Readiness Project. Her research interests focus on understanding the development of children’s self-regulation and executive functions as preparation entering school, particularly among children from low-income families. Rachel received her B.S. in Family Studies and Human Development from Arizona State University and her M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College. To see Rachel’s full CV, please click here.

  • Taveeshi Gupta

    Taveeshi Gupta is a doctoral candidate in the Psychological Development program in Applied Psychology. She is broadly interested in understanding how families and schools influence child development in terms of psychological and academic outcomes, as well as how policies and the cultural context facilitate the ways that these contexts shape child development. Working with her mentors, Drs. Selçuk Sirin & Niobe Way, her research has focused on using mixed methods to investigate the experiences of urban kids in poverty in the U.S., India, and China. She has conducted her own multi-informant, mixed method, longitudinal study in India to understand the social and emotional development of urban adolescents, focusing specifically on the effect of parents’ gender socialization on child development. She has also worked on a randomized control trial with Dr. Larry Aber on the Opportunities for Equitable Access to Quality Basic Education (OPEQ) in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a data analyst. In addition, she has acted as a consultant with the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. Before moving to New York, Taveeshi received her B.A. (honors) in Psychology and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Delhi, India. To see Taveeshi’s full CV, please click here.

  • Yana Kuchirko

    Yana Kuchirko is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Development Psychology. Her research focuses primarily on language development in early childhood. Specifically, she is interested in examining how the patterns of infants’ everyday interactions with others shape their language development. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Yana finished a B.S. from NYU in Applied Psychology and spent a few years as a project manager at the Center for Research on Culture, Development and Education at NYU working on several aspects of a longitudinal study following a sample of ethnically diverse mothers and infants from infants’ birth until 1st grade. As she moves forward with her career, Yana is interested in using mixed-methods to understand the role that cultural and contextual factors play in shaping infants’ language experiences. Yana’s adviser and research mentor is Dr. Catherine Tamis-LeMonda. View Yana’s CV