Rachel Abenavoli, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Resarch Associate
Dr. Rachel Abenavoli is a postdoctoral research associate in NYU Steinhardt’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change and holds a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University. Her research is grounded in developmental, prevention, and education sciences and focuses on understanding and supporting children’s social-emotional and academic development, particularly as they transition to school. As an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral fellow at Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Abenavoli collaborated on evaluations of school-based interventions targeting student and teacher social-emotional competence, and her dissertation examined how teacher quality and children’s school-entry skills jointly contribute to their behavioral and achievement outcomes. In her current work, she joins Dr. Pamela Morris, NYU researchers, and district leaders at the NYC Department of Education in efforts to use and conduct research in the context of NYC’s recent universal pre-K expansion. Current projects examine the implementation and impacts of differentiated professional development within this system.
Jessica Young, B.S.
Jessica Young is a project and data manager on the Universal Pre-K project. As a recent graduate of the Applied Psychology program at New York University - Steinhardt, she earned her B.S. degree while focusing on areas of educational, cultural, and developmental psychology. Working through college and graduating early, she was also an intern for the UPK project. With a minor in computer science, she applies her technical and organizational skills to the program. Her research interests include the overlap between family, culture and education, primarily on how intersectionality may inform early development and children’s learning styles. Jessica’s goal is to enter a Ph.D. program to further research how social interventions and practices can help adapt the education system for a diverse population.
Hailey Vogel, M.Sc.
Hailey Vogel is a project coordinator for the NYU UPK project. After earning her B.S. in Public Health and Food Studies from NYU, Hailey participated in an alternative teaching certification program with the NYC Teaching Fellows. She taught life science to students with disabilities in Brooklyn, NY while simultaneously earning her Masters of Science in Education from Long Island University. Hailey’s research interests broadly include the intersection of education, health and nutrition, and psychology. Her goal is to pursue her PhD and further investigate how parents and teachers can best educate children about health and nutrition.
Natalia Rojas, Doctoral Student
Natalia Rojas is the project manager on the project "Strengthening the Architecture for High Quality Universal Pre-K: Leveraging the opportunity of a historic expansion" and a doctoral student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program at New York University. Previously, she received her BA from New York University. After graduating, she worked at MDRC, a non-profit social policy research organization, as a research associate, working to implement and evaluate two large-scale randomized control trials of early childhood interventions focused on social-emotional and math skills in low-income preschoolers. Broadly, her research interests include the intersection between research and social policy. More specifically, her interest areas include the effects of program and policies related to early childhood, poverty reduction, immigration and on the lives of low-income children and families.
Travis Cramer, Doctoral Student
Travis Cramer is a 4th year student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU Steinhardt and an Institute of Educational Sciences Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Program Fellow. His research focuses on teacher workforce development, children’s social-emotional development, and program implementation and quality improvement. Travis works with Pamela Morris and Elise Cappella on multiple research projects aimed to support workforce development and preschool quality within New York City’s universal preschool expansion. Travis also works closely with a large nonprofit service provider to identify how children's and families’ needs for services vary across communities in New York City. Travis graduated from Dartmouth College magna cum laude with a degree in Anthropology. Before beginning his doctoral studies, Travis taught elementary school and worked as a research assistant on projects studying kindergarten readiness and mindfulness interventions.
Jessica Siegel, M.Ed., Doctoral Student
Jessica Siegel is a doctoral student in the Psychology and Social Intervention Program at New York University. Jessica received her Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Cognitive Studies from Vanderbilt University. She remained at Vanderbilt to receive her M.Ed. in Child Studies, with a specialization in Poverty and Intervention. After graduating, she worked at NYU School of Medicine on ParentCorps, a family-focused, school-based intervention that aims to strengthen family engagement and support parents and teachers to create high-quality learning environments for children of color in low-income communities. Broadly, Jessica’s research interests include investigating the impacts of poverty on child development and how policies and systems can effectively and equitably serve children and families.