People

Principal Investigators

Clancy Blair
Clancy Blair | Neuroscience & Education Lab Director & Principal Investigator

Dr. Clancy Blair is a developmental psychologist who studies self-regulation in young children. His primary interest concerns the development of cognitive abilities referred to as executive functions and the ways in which these aspects of cognition are important for school readiness and early school achievement. He is also interested in the development and evaluation of preschool and elementary school curricula designed to promote executive functions as a means of preventing school failure.

In 2002, Dr. Blair and his colleagues at Pennsylvania State University and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for a longitudinal, population-based study of family ecology and child development beginning at birth. In his part of the project, Dr. Blair is examining interaction between early experiential and biological influences on the development of executive functions and related aspects of self-regulation. Ultimately, Dr. Blair and his colleagues plan to follow this sample through the school years and into young adulthood. Prior to coming to NYU, Dr. Blair spent ten years as an assistant and then associate professor in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State. He received his doctorate in developmental psychology and master's degree in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1996.

Dr. Blair's faculty biography and Curriculum Vitae can be found here.

Cybele Raver
Cybele Raver | Neuroscience & Education Lab Director & Prinicipal Investigator; Deputy Provost

C. Cybele Raver is Deputy Provost at New York University. She examines the mechanisms that support children's self-regulation in the contexts of poverty and social policy. Raver and her research team currently conduct CSRP, a federally-funded RCT intervention and she regularly advises local and federal government agencies and foundations on promoting school readiness among low-income children. See our articles in Child Development and Social Service Review- downloadable here.

Dr. Raver also directs the Children's Self-Regulation (CSR) lab at NYU, focusing on self-regulation among older children in classroom contexts. Raver has received a William T. Grant Faculty Scholar award as well as support from the Spencer Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. Raver earned her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Yale University.

Dr. Raver's faculty biography and Curriculum Vitae can be found here.

Staff

Rosemarie Perry | FLP Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Rosemarie Perry holds a B.S. degree from the University of Delaware in Neuroscience and a Ph.D. from New York University School of Medicine in Physiology and Neuroscience. As a Ph.D. student, she worked in the lab of Dr. Regina Sullivan, studying how exposure to early-life stress (particularly from an abusive caregiver) impacts the developing brain and behavior throughout the lifespan. She joined the Neuroscience and Education lab in 2016 as a postdoctoral research scientist. Her work has primarily focused on integrating human research related to the impact of poverty with a rodent model of “low resources”, which allows her to address research questions related to poverty and child outcome at multiple levels of analyses. Outside of the lab, Rosemarie is passionate about science communication to the public, and serves as Vice President and a frequent speaker for a nonprofit organization, Know Science Inc. Her curriculum vitae can be found here.

Tyler Watts | CSRP Assistant Professor of Research

Tyler Watts is an Assistant Professor of Research and a Postdoctoral Scholar. His research focuses on understanding the long-run cognitive and behavioral effects of early interventions. His work examines whether educational policy can transform children's trajectories and spur meaningful change in the lives of children from under-served communities. Watts came to NYU after studying with Greg Duncan at the University of California, Irvine, where he learned to apply econometric methods to questions regarding children's long-run development. He is currently investigating the long-run effects of the CSRP program on children's neurocognitive and academic outcomes, and he also has projects evaluating the effects of several other large scale early childhood interventions. His curriculum vitae can be found here.

Meriah DeJoseph | Lab/Project Manager

Meriah DeJoseph is the Lab Project Manager for NEL, where she primarily oversees the ECHO and 12 year follow-up data collection for the Family Life Project. Outside of the lab, she serves as a speaker for a non-profit science communication organization, Know Science, Inc and a mentor for the New York Academy of Sciences 1000 Girls 1000 Futures STEM program. Prior to joining NYU, Meriah received her B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego and an M.A. in Psychology from Columbia University. While at Columbia, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Karen Froud's EEG lab, investigating attention in kindergarten children from a Bronx school post-completion of a mindfulness program. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology to further examine how early-adversity influences the neurodevelopmental mechanisms underlying self-regulation in ways that ameliorate or exacerbate risk for psychopathology. Her curriculum vitae can be found here. 

Javanna Obregon | CSRP Project Coordinator

Javanna Obregon is the Project Coordinator for the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) in the Neuroscience and Education Lab. She received her master’s degree in Human Development and Social Intervention at New York University, as well as her bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from New York University. Prior to her current role, Javanna worked as a Program Specialist at the Research Foundation of the City University of New York’s Early Childhood Professional Development Institute. She was also a Research Assistant on NYU’s Latino Family Engagement and Language Development Project.

Deanna Ibrahim | Data Manager

Deanna Ibrahim is the Data Manager for the Neuroscience and Education Lab at New York University. She previously conducted research in social neuroscience in the Social Perception and Evaluation Lab at NYU, upon receiving a grant from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Deanna holds a B.A. in Psychology and Theatre from Muhlenberg College, where she conducted several studies in social and health psychology. Her undergraduate research on the social factors of depression has recently been published in Neuroethics. Throughout her time at Muhlenberg, Deanna also worked as the research assistant to Provost John Ramsay, conducting multidimensional institutional research projects on Muhlenberg and its peer colleges and universities. Outside of the lab, Deanna is a dance educator passionate about utilizing both psychology and the arts for positive social change. Her curriculum vitae can be found here. 

Rivka Narvekar | Research Financial Manager

Rivka Narvekar is the Research Financial Manager for the Family Life Project. She studied medicine focusing on psychiatric illnesses during her undergraduate years in Mumbai, India before coming to New York to study psychology at NYU. She graduated in 2016 with an M.A. in Psychology after completing a thesis on the influence of self-esteem and racial/ethnic regard on electoral participation. While at NYU, Rivka worked as a Research Assistant in the Applied Psychology department at Steinhardt investigating civic engagement and education in youth. She also held a position at the NYU Metro Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools where she performed several program functions including budget administration, contract management, proposal writing, database management and program publicity.

Lara Kyriakou | NewFAMS Project Manager

Lara Kyriakou is the Project Coordinator for the New Father and Mothers Study. Her previous research experience includes the Making Pre-K Count Study, which examines an emerging math curriculum for pre-school students. She also worked on a primary care-based study at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, exploring the effectiveness of developmental screenings for infants and toddlers. Her research interests include strategies to maximize healthy development during the first three years of life, especially within marginalized communities. Lara is also interested in examining and creating strength-based practices with which to empower parents and families who live in under-resourced communities and have high exposure to trauma. Lara holds a B.A. in Psychology from Pace University and a M.S. Ed. in Interdisciplinary Studies of Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania. Her resume can be found here.

Michael Masucci | Assistant Researcher

Michael Masucci programs, administers and analyzes psychometric tasks for the Chicago School Readiness Project, and focuses on new ways of implementing electronic data collection. In addition to his work at NEL, Michael is a clinical intern at the Center of Prevention and Evaluation (COPE) Clinic in the CUMC New York State Psychiatric Institute, where he observes and facilitates interviews and therapy sessions of participants in a longitudinal psychosis-risk research study. He also analyzes COPE data and writes manuscripts related to psychosis. Michael received his B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from the George Washington University, where he concentrated in Visual Attention and Philosophy of Mind. He was awarded his M.A. in Psychology at NYU in 2015, where he focused on Clinical Psychology, completing a thesis on the relationship among psychopathology, motivation, and aesthetic experience.

Bedrich Vargas | Assistant Researcher

Bedrich Vargas holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the City University of New York, with concentrations in Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, Psychology, and Hispanic Languages and Literatures. Since early in his career, he has made it his mission to help the disadvantaged communities of New York City. His research interests predominantly stem from his own personal and professional experiences, including his work with the New York City Department of Education. As a bilingual public school teacher, Bedrich always recognized the importance of community partnerships in transforming our communities, our country, and the world. Prior to working at the Neuroscience and Education Lab, he collaborated with the U.S. Department of Education on a national study that focused on the effects of best teaching practices.

 
Alyssa Strysko | Retention and Communications Coordinator 

Alyssa Strysko is the Retention and Communications Coordinator for the Family Life Project, where her primary focus is finding new strategies to maintain participants’ interest and involvement. Before moving to New York Alyssa received her B.A. in Psychology from San Francisco State University. During  her time there, she was a research assistant in Dr. Melissa Hagan’s psychophysiology lab investigating the physiological effects of early childhood trauma on young adult women. After graduating, Alyssa became a childcare volunteer for 1736 Family Crisis Center, where she cared for children residing in a domestic abuse shelter while their mother’s were in therapy sessions. She also worked as a research intern for Upstream Cinema, a production company creating documentaries about epigenetic studies and societal views on mental disorders. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology to continue her career in research psychology, and one day apply her knowledge in a private clinical practice. Her curriculum vitae can be found here. 

Students

Alyssa Pintar | Doctoral Student

Alyssa Pintar Breen is a doctoral candidate in the Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program at NYU Steinhardt. She is interested in the development of children’s coping: the dynamic between the socialization and the child’s own organization of developing self-regulatory skills to mitigate contexts of stress. In this vein, she is interested in how parents experiencing poverty-related stress perceive their child’s experiences of stress and respond to their children's negative emotions. Alyssa is currently working on her dissertation, which is focused on testing the statistical equivalence of a commonly used measure of parents' responses to their children's negative emotions and how it relates to children's later psychological health. Her curriculum vitae can be found here.

Andy Ribner | Doctoral Student

Andy Ribner is a 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. His curriculum vitae can be found here.

Eric Finegood | Doctoral Student

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 context 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 B.A. 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 economically disadvantaged families. Eric’s primary adviser at NYU is Dr. Clancy Blair. His curriculum vitae can be found here.

Jill Gandhi | Doctoral Student

Jill Gandhi is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at NYU Steinhardt. She is broadly interested in examining home- and school-based inputs on early childhood educational development, particularly to inform interventions with low-income families. She is currently working with Dr. Cybele Raver on a project to examine patterns of classroom quality in New York City’s Universal Pre-K Program, as well as projects examining the long-term impacts of the Chicago School Readiness Project. Prior to attending NYU, Jill worked at the University of Chicago’s Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab, where she coordinated parenting interventions in Head Start centers. Additionally, Jill taught Algebra at a public school in Jackson, Mississippi. She received her B.A. in Plan II Honors and Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Kat Adams | Doctoral Student

Kat Adams is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at NYU Steinhardt. She is interested in how experience shapes children’s real-time cognitive and emotional processes, particularly in the context of social and environmental risk. A key aim of her research is to create and collaborate on innovative uses of technology and statistical methods for data collection and analysis. Kat graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in linguistics from UCLA in 2010. She joined NYU after four years as a lab manager and research coordinator at Stanford University. Her curriculum vitae can be found here.

Paula Daneri | Doctoral Student

Paula Daneri is a doctoral candidate and IES-PIRT Fellow in the Developmental Psychology 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 focusing on early childhood education interventions before coming to NYU. Her current research interests include the development of language and executive function in early childhood and their associations with school readiness, particularly in Latino and dual language learner populations. She is currently working with Dr. Clancy Blair on several projects examining early predictors of language and executive function, and working with Drs. Pamela Morris and Cybele Raver on a project to support the research infrastructure behind New York City's Universal Pre-K Program. Her curriculum vitae can be found here.

Rachel McKinnon | Doctoral Student

Rachel McKinnon is a doctoral student in the Psychological Development program at New York University. She received a bachelor's degree in Family Studies and Human Development from Arizona State University and a master's degree in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests are in self-regulation and children's school readiness, especially in the context of economically disadvantaged children. She is particularly interested in the extent to which the social relationships children develop in the classroom setting (with peers and teachers) are related to self-regulation. Her curriculum vitae can be found here.

Stephen Braren | Doctoral Student

Stephen Braren is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at NYU Steinhardt. Broadly, he seeks to better understand how social and biological factors contribute to learning and cognitive development, particularly within the context of stress and poverty. Currently, in the Neuroscience and Education Lab, he is examining how neural, inflammatory, and endocrine biomarkers associated with early life adversity interact with executive function. Ultimately, he hopes to use this and other research to critically inform education and health policy, especially to improve outcomes for disadvantaged and underprivileged groups. Previously, he earned a B.A. in Psychology and Public Policy from Hunter College of the City University of New York where he worked with Dr. Peter Serrano researching the neurobiology of spatial learning and working memory. He has also participated in psychology and neuroscience research with Dr. Elizabeth Phelps at NYU, Dr. Jon Kaas at Vanderbilt University, and Dr. Eduardo Vianna at LaGuardia Community College. His curriculum vitae can be found here. 

Annie Aitken | Doctoral Student

Annie Aitken is a first-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology department. In the Neuroscience and Education Lab, Annie is broadly interested in coupling biological and behavioral assessment methods to explore the impact of early childhood experiences on executive functioning and academic achievement. As an NSF Fellow, Annie aims to incorporate EEG methods in her research to better understand the relationship between SES and academic achievement and to ultimately inform intervention methods. Prior to attending NYU, Annie worked in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience research at UC San Francisco. Annie graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Psychology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Her curriculum vitae can be found here.

 

Lab Alumni

Rachel McKinnon, Ph.D. - Former graduate student
Currently a SRCD Federal Policy Fellow 
 
Aida McNabb, M.A. - Former Lab Manager
 
Jessica Burdick - Former CSRP Project Manager 
Currently a Budget and Business Analyst at University of Southern California 
 
Allison Friedman-Krauss, Ph.D. - Former postdoc
Currently an Assistant Professor at National Institute for Early Education Research
 
Alexandra Ursache, Ph.D. - Former postdoc 
Currently an Assistant Professor at NYU School of Medicine