Before coming to NYU in 2006, she finished a double degree in Psychology and Anthropology at Los Andes University, a very prestigious institution in Colombia, her country of origin.
With Dr. Lawrence Aber as her advisor, she has been a research assistant in the longitudinal evaluation of the 4Rs Program: Reading , Writing, Respect and Resolution, a school-wide universal intervention aimed at improving overall school climates, teachers' instructional strategies and psychological well-being, and children's social-emotional and academic competences. She has also worked with the Early Childhood Longitudinal Program (ECLS-K) database, which comprises information about children's academic and social-emotional development from Kindergarten and up to 8th grade, and provides unique opportunities to look at individuals' change over time all across the U.S. Finally, under the supervision of Dr. Elise Cappella, Catalina is beginning to examine the complex interactions between peer networks and children's and classroom's characteristics.
Catalina's research interests focus on the individual and contextual processes that shape social-emotional competence and aggressive tendencies of behavior over time. She is particularly interested in identifying factors that protect individuals from the risks that they encounter in daily life, and in finding strategies to foster the necessary skills that allow for a peaceful society.