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NYU Team

Dr. C. Cybele Raver | Professor of Applied Psychology; Deputy Provost


Phone: 212 998 2274

Dr. C. Cybele Raver is Deputy Provost at NYU. 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 new articles in Child Development and Social Service Review.

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.

See Dr. Raver's Steinhardt faculty page.

Hannah Ellerbeck | Research Coordinator 


Phone: 212 998 5964

Hannah Ellerbeck is the Research Coordinator for the Chicago School Readiness Project. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hunter College, where she studied adolescent suicidality among primarily low-income, ethnic minority communities. Her research interests center around evidence-based interventions and policies to reduce education and health disparities in underserved populations. 

Jill Gandhi


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.

Teachers College, Columbia University Team

Dr. Tyler Watts | Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology


Phone: 212 678 8148

Dr. Tyler Watts is an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology and the director of the Watts Lab within the Department of Human Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. He studies educational policies designed to promote the cognitive and socio-emotional development of children from underserved communities. Watts worked as a Postdoctoral Scholar at New York University, and he received his Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Irvine in 2017.

Watts is currently working on several large-scale, longitudinal, studies of early childhood development, including the evaluations of the Chicago School Readiness Project and the Building Blocks preschool mathematics curriculum. Across his projects, he seeks to understand whether interventions designed to boost children’s early cognitive and behavioral skills will make long-lasting changes on developmental outcomes.

Watts’ work is funded by the the Institute of Educational Sciences and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 

Javanna Obregon | Research and Grants Manager


Phone 212 678 3922 

Javanna Obregon-Steeby is the Research Development and Grants Manager for the Chicago School Readiness Project at the Watts Lab. Previously, she served as the Project Manager on the Chicago School Readiness Project for three years. She received her master’s degree in Human Development and Social Intervention at New York University, where she completed a thesis on the complexity of low-income Latino caregivers' language richness during book sharing interactions with their preschool aged children and its effect on children's language development. Additionally, she received her Bachelors of Science degree in Applied Psychology from New York University. Prior to her time on the Chicago School Readiness Project, 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.

Chen Li | Data Manager

Chen Li is the Data Manager for the Chicago School Readiness Project at the Watts Lab in Teachers College, Columbia University. She is interested in utilizing her analytical skills while focusing within the scope of education issues she is passionate about. She received a master’s degree in International Education from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in Economics-Mathematics from Colby College. Prior to her current position, she worked at the Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity as a technical research fellow, and she was also an assistant researcher for the Chicago School Readiness Project at New York University.

Loyola University, Chicago

Dr. Christine Li-Grining | Associate Professor of Psychology


Phone: 773 508 8225

In addition to CSRP, Dr. Christine Li-Grining also directs the SEEDS (SElf-regulation, Early Development, and Settings) Lab at Loyola.  She studies children’s self-regulation as a source of resilience, and how educational and policy contexts can best support the needs of children, parents, and teachers.  Her work includes research-practice partnerships with early childhood agencies serving ethnically diverse Chicago neighborhoods.  With a Ph.D. in human development and social policy from Northwestern University, Li-Grining’s research has been supported by the Spencer Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

See Dr. Li-Grining's faculty page at Loyola University Chicago.

University of Illinois-Chicago 

Dr. Amanda Roy | Assistant Professor of Community and Prevention Research division


Phone: 312 413 0992

Dr. Amanda L. Roy is an Assistant Professor in the Community and Prevention Research division of the University of Illinois-Chicago's Psychology Department. Her research explores the ways that (1) neighborhood risk and resilience and (2) family poverty influence individual health and development.

See Dr. Roy’s Environment, Development, and Health (EDH) research group website.

Previous Faculty Researchers on CSRP

Dr. Fuhua Zhai | Associate Professor, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service; Research Associate, Columbia Population Research Center


Phone: 646 293 3966

Dr. Fuhua Zhai is an Associate Professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service and a Research Associate at Columbia Population Research Center. His research interests include early childhood education, early interventions, child maltreatment and child welfare, cultural values and childrearing practices, and cross-national child and family policies and programs. His work has been supported by multiple research grants and published in peer-reviewed journals in the fields of developmental psychology, economics, social policy, education, demography, and social work.

See Dr. Zhai's faculty page at Fordham University.

Dr. Stephanie M. Jones | Professor of Education, Harvard University


Phone: 617 496 2223

Dr. Stephanie Jones is a Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research, anchored in prevention science, focuses on the effects of poverty and exposure to violence on children and youth's social, emotional, and behavioral development. Over the last ten years her work has focused on both evaluation research addressing the impact of preschool and elementary focused social-emotional learning interventions on behavioral and academic outcomes and classroom practices; as well as new curriculum development, implementation, and testing. Jones is a recipient of the Grawemeyer Award in Education for her work with Zigler and Walter Gilliam on A Vision for Universal Preschool Education (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and a recipient of the Joseph E. Zins Early-Career Distinguished Contribution Award for Action Research in Social and Emotional Learning. Jones' research portfolio emphasizes the importance of conducting rigorous scientific research, including program evaluation, that also results in accessible content for early and middle childhood practitioners and policymakers. Her developmental and experimental research investigates the causes and consequences of social-emotional problems and competencies; strategies for altering the pathways that shape children's social-emotional development; and programs, interventions, and pedagogy that foster social-emotional competencies among children, adults, and environments. Her policy-driven research with colleague Nonie Lesaux focuses on the challenge of simultaneously expanding and improving the quality of early childhood education, at scale (The Leading Edge of Early Childhood Education, Harvard Education Press, 2016). Jones serves on numerous national advisory boards and expert consultant groups related to social-emotional development and child and family anti-poverty policies, including the National Boards of Parents as Teachers and Engaging Schools. She consults to program developers, including Sesame Street, and has conducted numerous evaluations of programs and early education efforts, including Reading, Writing, Respect and Resolution, Resolving Conflict Creatively, SECURe, and the Head Start CARES initiative.

See Dr. Jones' faculty page at Harvard University.

Dr. Dana Charles McCoy | Assistant Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Phone: 617 495 0624

Dr. Dana Charles McCoy is an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Her work focuses on understanding the ways that poverty-related risk factors in children's home, school, and neighborhood environments affect the development of their cognitive and socioemotional skills in early childhood. She is also interested in the development, refinement, and evaluation of early intervention programs designed to promote positive development and resilience in young children, particularly in terms of their self-regulation and executive function. McCoy's work is centered in both domestic and international contexts, including Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, and Jordan. She has a particular interest in interdisciplinary theory, causal methodology, and ecologically valid measurement. Before joining the HGSE faculty, McCoy served as an NICHD National Research Service Award post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, where she studied differential effectiveness of early childhood education programs (e.g., Head Start) across diverse communities in the United States. She graduated with an A.B. in Psychological and Brain Sciences from Dartmouth College and received her Ph.D. in Applied Psychology from New York University.