2018 Workshop

The Fragile Families Summer Data Workshop was held July 11-13, 2018, at Columbia University in New York City. The 2018 workshop introduced researchers to data from the Year 15 follow-up wave and new study resources.


Aerielle Allen

Aerielle Allen is a NIH Social Process of AIDS training fellow and social psychology PhD student at the University of Connecticut. My research interests are centered on social justice, health disparities, and sociopolitical and structural determinants of health among ethnic minorities and other vulnerable populations. Specifically, I am interested in how stigmatization, prejudice, and discrimination affect social, psychological, and physical well-being, as well as, how coping with disadvantage has the potential to produce harmful and/or beneficial outcomes for one’s health.

email: [email protected]



Shareefah Al’Uqdah

Dr. Shareefah Al’Uqdah is an Assistant Professor and Director of Training in the Counseling Psychology Program at Howard University. Her research focuses on promoting family wellness and reducing mental health disparities for African American families. She is particularly interested in how African American families are resilient in the face of community violence.

email: [email protected]


Sarah Appleby

Sarah Appleby is a doctoral student in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland. Her primary research interests include the collateral consequences of incarceration on returning inmates and their families, as well as the potential role of housing insecurity during early childhood on later crime and delinquency. Prior to her doctoral studies, Sarah was a Crime Analyst with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

email: [email protected]


Samantha Awada

Samantha Awada is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Northern Illinois University. Her research interests include examining factors that influence the development of child conduct problems. More specifically, her current research focuses on examining how changes in contextual variables (e.g., sociodemographic variables, parental work-hours) across time differentially influence family processes (e.g., increasing/decreasing parental stress) and how these changes impact the development of child conduct problems.


email: [email protected]


Michael Chen

Michael Chen is a PhD student in the Health Services Research and Policy program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry in Rochester, New York. His current research interests include father involvement, maternal behavior during pregnancy, and early childhood health and development. Michael has a special interest in the development of theory-based explanations and consequent interventions in public health and policy.


email: [email protected]


Qiana R. Cryer-Coupet

Qiana R. Cryer-Coupet is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at North Carolina State University. She received her Ph.D. from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois-Chicago and her MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Qiana's program of research focuses on parenting practices and their impacts on family health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Her current research, funded by the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network, explores the experiences and needs of nonresident fathers with children living in formal and informal kinship care.

email: [email protected]


Juan Del Toro

Juan Del Toro is a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Policing Equity. He is a developmental psychologist conducting research with the Juvenile Justice and Education team. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in developmental psychology at New York University. He received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College. Juan’s research interests include understanding the unique antecedents, functions, and consequences of ethnic-racial discrimination from various settings, including from peers, teachers, and law enforcement.

email: [email protected]


Jenalee Doom

Jenalee Doom is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan. She will be an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver starting in Fall 2019. Jena's research interests include the biological and behavioral mediators between early childhood stress and adolescent mental and physical health, including potential moderators of development that might predict risk and resilience in the face of stress.

email: [email protected]


Jennifer Duer

Jennifer Duer is a third year doctoral student in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine with a specialization in Educational Policy and Social Context. Jennifer’s research focuses on the well-being of children and families from under-resourced neighborhoods. She is particularly interested in studying variation in state-level policies involving children, including Head Start, State Pre-K, and child care subsidies. Her firsthand experience in early child care and education (ECCE) programs motivates her to understand how to improve current policies using rigorous scientific methods. Currently, Jennifer is working on research projects examining the characteristics of programs that participate in Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS) and exploring the effects of blended funding within ECCE centers.

email: [email protected]


Allison Dwyer Emory

Allison Dwyer Emory is currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the School of Social Work at Rutgers University, and completed my PhD in Sociology and Policy Analysis at Cornell in 2017. Her research focuses broadly on how interactions with legal institutions, including family courts and the criminal justice system, shape father involvement and family processes. Her recent work examines the implications of state policies impacting low-income or criminal justice involved individuals for fathers, children, and family structure.

email: [email protected]


Adria Dwyer

Adria Dwyer is a doctoral candidate in the Family Science and Human Development Department at Montclair State University. Her research interests center on access to early intervention services, children with developmental delays, family, social capital, race, income, and neighborhood effects. She is more specifically interested in examining the sociodemographic barriers facing children with developmental delays, and how these barriers impact the identification of these delays, thereby impacting early intervention service receipt.

email: [email protected]


Shawn Gardner

Shawn Gardner is a PH.D. Candidate in the Mississippi State University Human Sciences department. His research examines maternal facilitation of father-child relationships in FFCWS families. Shawn’s interests in studying how conflict, race, and culture influence co-parenting between never wed couples are informed by his experiences as the founder of a non-profit with a focus on fathers and families.

email: [email protected]


Lexie Grove

Lexie Grove is a PhD student in health policy and management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include the social determinants of health, quality of and access to mental health services for underserved populations, and evaluation of programs and policies intended to integrate social and health services. She hopes to use Fragile Families data to study the pathways by which housing affordability affects mental and physical well-being.

email: [email protected]


Alex Haralampoudis

Alex Haralampoudis is a PhD student at Rutgers School of Social Work and a Presidential Fellow at the Graduate School New Brunswick. Her research focuses broadly on the impact of social policies on families living in poverty, with a particular interest in single-parent families. Previously, Alex worked in applied research and program evaluation, as a Research Analyst II at CUNY Office of Research, Evaluation, & Program Support (REPS) and a Research & Evaluation Program Manager at McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research at NYU. Alex holds an MSW from NYU Silver School of Social Work and a B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University.

email: [email protected]


Justin Harty

Justin Harty is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. He is currently the Project Coordinator for the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH) using longitudinal data to measure the impact of extended foster care on youth outcomes. His research interests include pregnancy, parenting, and parental involvement among youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood. His current work includes studies of involvement and engagement among fathers in foster care and those involved in the child welfare system. His research is informed by several years of practice experience in child welfare as a foster care caseworker in Chicago, IL.

email: [email protected]


Avery Hennigar

Avery Hennigar, MPH is a doctoral student in Human Development and Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research explores how characteristics of low-income and ethnic minority families are related to the early home environment and the cognitive and social development of young children through parenting practices. She is also interested in how interventions can be most effective for at-risk families and the application of research to policy.

email: [email protected]


Christine James

Christine James, MSW, LSW, is a PhD student in the School of Social Work at Rutgers University. Her research interests are broadly focused on youth with disabilities and factors impacting their access to care and health outcomes.  This includes access to care for youth transitioning to adulthood, disparities in transition preparation for youth with intellectual disabilities, outcomes in young adulthood, as well as risk of victimization, such as exposure to adverse childhood experiences. She works in Philadelphia at a community behavioral health/intellectual disabilities agency as the Director of Systems & Evaluation & Chief Compliance Officer, responsible for the administration of health information services, program evaluation, quality improvement, training, and information technology.


email: [email protected]


Yong Ju Cho

Yong Ju Cho is a PhD student at the Steve School of Social Work at the University of Texas, Austin. Her research interests include mental health, mental health service utilization, and mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. She is now interested in understanding the roles of family and neighborhood dynamics on mental health outcomes.


email: [email protected]


Sarah Kim

Sarah is a doctoral candidate in Developmental Psychology at Columbia University. She earned her master’s degree in Applied Developmental & Educational Psychology with a focus in Community & Social Justice while attaining a Certificate in International Human Rights & International Social Justice from Boston College and a bachelor’s degree in Human Development  from Boston College. Before entering her doctoral program, she has gained diverse professional experiences in research and program evaluation in the youth development field from direct service to research as well as in the field of early education and care for low income families and children. Her current research interests include studying comprehensive services and interventions that are sensitive to the families' cultures to address and extricate traumatic sociopolitical circumstances like poverty.

email: [email protected]


David J. Knight

David J. Knight is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, where he is also a fellow in the Interdisciplinary Training Program in Education. The general focus of his work is on the politicized and racialized nature of young adulthood for those from historically marginalized groups. His current research is mostly Chicago-based and examines how social policy, segregation, citizenship status, and racial inequality shape youth outcomes in the U.S. 


email: [email protected]


Irem Korucu

Irem Korucu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. Her program of research focuses on the development of self-regulation and school readiness skills in at-risk children. She is particularly interested in investigating the role of early contextual factors (e.g., family and school contexts) shaping the development of children’s self-regulation and subsequent academic and behavioral outcomes. Her research also has an applied focus that emphasizes the development and evaluation of interventions designed to promote self-regulation and school readiness skills prior to kindergarten entry. She works with both small-scale, community data-sets and national-level, secondary datasets to address this line of research, and uses complex quantitative methods to analyze data. 


email: [email protected]


Shelagh Larkin

Shelagh Larkin, MSW/LISW, is a Ph.D. student in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. Since 1998, she has been a faculty member and director for field education in the social work department at Xavier University where she was recently promoted to Senior Teaching Professor. Her primary research interests are in maternal child wellbeing with specific focus on child health outcomes. Additional scholarship is in the areas of generalist field education, professional development, and interprofessional teaming and education. She has also been awarded several grants most notable being the Council on Social Work Education’s Gero-Ed Center Curriculum Development Institute grant.


email: [email protected]


Jin-kyung Lee

Jin-kyung Lee is a doctoral candidate in Human Development and Family Science at the Ohio State University. She is interested in investigating significant factors for children's social-emotional development. Her research interests include gene and environment interplay, mothers' and fathers' parenting, supportive coparenting, and family socioeconomic resources. Her recent work is exploring how mothers' and children's genetic sensitivities are associated with fathers' coparenting, mothers' parenting, and children's later social-emotional development.

email: [email protected]


Kate Leifheit

Kate Leifheit is a third year PhD student in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Kate’s research interests include social epidemiology, links between housing and health, and the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs and policies to improve wellbeing among low income, urban families. For her doctoral dissertation, Kate will characterize the effects of eviction on child health and development.

email: [email protected]


Sabrina Liu

Sabrina Liu is a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before graduate school, she spent time working for both the Harvard Study of Adult Development and Sangath, a community-based mental health research organization in Goa, India. Her research and clinical interests include resilience in youth exposed to adversity, and trauma prevention and intervention in culturally diverse communities.  Sabrina’s work has focused on understanding and addressing the impact of exposure to community violence, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), mass violence, and natural disasters. With her most recent project, Sabrina is examining patterns of risk and protective factors for youth of different racial/ethnic backgrounds and how these patterns contribute to health and health disparities.

email: [email protected] 


Branden A. McLeod

Branden A. McLeod is an assistant professor at Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Branden's overall social justice interests focus on the well-being of urban communities and families. Given the overrepresentation of African American males within the criminal justice system and its impact on their families and communities, he dedicates his research to understand the experiences and outcomes of Black males who’ve had contact with the criminal justice system with particular attention to their roles as fathers.


email: [email protected]


Tiana Moore

Tiana Moore is a second year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College and a Graduate Fellow at the National Center for Children and Families. Her research interests center on the effects of neighborhood poverty and housing quality on the well-being of low-income children and families. Her current research evaluates the impact of federal housing programs and policies on health and education outcomes of children living in public housing.

email: [email protected]


Kevin Nesbitt

Kevin Nesbitt has a career dedicated to working on the behalf of students and faculty in diverse settings ranging from the Department of Education (NYC) and Charter School Management to institutions of higher learning including: Columbia University, the New School for Social Research, John Jay College and presently Hunter College as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.  He cultivates a culture of cross-trained academic and student affairs professionals engaging in high impact practices on student persistence, and student retention. A product of NYU, Nesbitt has an MS in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and an MA in Politics from the New School University. He is ABD at the New School for Social Research in the Department of Political Science.  He has spent time trying to better understand the recognizable shift in how families are defining and organizing themselves today.  In specific, he is examining the movement for men to reclaim a role in families, even those without the physical presence of a mother or partner (single-fathers). He explores this shift around single-fatherhood through legal analysis and court decisions. Particular attention is paid to organizations that manage and implement fatherhood initiatives and programs.  Nesbitt is a Brooklyn native of Jamaican descent with a passion for traveling, and Soca music. He & Dr. Jewel James are the proud parents to an eight-year old boy, and ten-year old girl -ready for her journey to middle school this fall.

email: [email protected]


J. David Nugent

J. David Nugent is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. He earned his B.A. at Brandeis University with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Chemistry. He received his M.A. in Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University with a focus on Risk, Resilience and Prevention. Before joining NCCF, he was the project manager at New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University Medical School in the Safe Passage Study – a multi-site project looking at factors that impact behavioral, physiological and cognitive development. His research interests include environmental influences on developmental outcomes for children and families.

email: [email protected]


Sehun Oh

Sehun Oh is a PhD candidate in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. His research interests revolve around the intersection of poverty, epidemiology of behavioral health (especially among adolescents and young adults), and social welfare policies. In particular, he examines risk factors and consequences of poverty and behavioral health risks, and the development and evaluation of social policy to support economically disadvantaged families.

email: [email protected]


Brittany Schuler

Brittany Schuler is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Temple University's College of Public Health. Dr. Schuler's research aims to understand social determinants of pediatric obesity and the parental, socio-environmental, and policy-related factors that influence risk and adverse health and mental health outcomes. By incorporating a focus on social determinants of health and engaging in cross-sector collaborations, her research actively works to advance the Grand Challenge for Social Work to close the health gap, focusing on strategies to increase access to the health resources necessary for optimal growth and development in childhood.

email: [email protected]


Gabriel Schwartz

Gabriel Schwartz is a social epidemiology PhD student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His work focuses on neighborhoods, social policy, and health inequity. Current projects examine whether eviction in early life shapes children's health trajectories, explore how multilevel models can be used to quantify intersectional health inequalities, and help develop public health monitoring systems for police violence. Before starting his doctoral program, Gabe worked as a ​​public policy researcher at Abt Associates, focusing on low-income people's access to community and government resources and the impact of those resources.

email: [email protected]


Jisuk Seon

Jisuk Seon is a doctoral student in School of Social Work at Michigan State University. She is interested in child welfare system and the experiences of immigrant families. Her current research focuses on how neighborhood structural and social processes factors affect child maltreatment risk among immigrant families.

email: [email protected]


Antonius D. Skipper

Antonius D. Skipper, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Winston-Salem State University. His research interests include examining the roles of religiosity and spirituality as stress buffers for African American families. More specifically, he utilizes a strength-focused approach to explore how religion contributes to familial and marital stability for minority families disproportionately impacted by systemic stressors.

email: [email protected]


Nina Smith

Nina Smith, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Sciences at North Carolina Central University. Her research focuses on the role of parental employment in shaping family processes and child well-being. She is also interested in the relationship between early care and education settings and children’s academic preparedness.

email: [email protected]


Nicole Schmidt

Nicole Schmidt, PhD is a Research Scientist in the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on adolescent risky behavior and mental health, transitions to adulthood, and the life course effects of stressors, such as residential mobility, on health and well-being. Dr. Schmidt has a particular interest in applying advanced quantitative and longitudinal methods to study these issues.


Anaïs Stenson

Anaïs Stenson, Ph.D. is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine, where she received her Ph.D. in Psychology in 2017. Broadly, she is interested in how children’s physical and psychological development impact cognitive and emotional processes during adolescence. Dr. Stenson primarily conducts research as part of the Grady Trauma Project, a large study aimed at understanding genetic and environmental risk and resilience factors to PTSD in a highly traumatized, urban population. Her research utilizes psychophysiological, behavioral, genetic, endocrine, and clinical measures to understand how traumatic experiences impact children in high-risk populations.

email: [email protected]


Amanda Telias

Amanda Telias is an Associate Researcher at the Center for Advanced Studies on Educational Justice (CJE) at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She graduated from the University of Manchester with a PhD in Development Policy and Management in 2018. Her research interests include poverty, inequality, childhood and social protection. She has worked at the Ministry of Social Development in Chile; at the Inter-American Development Bank; and as a consultant at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). She was also an intern at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at Oxford University.

email: [email protected]


Alvin Thomas

Dr. Alvin Thomas is an Assistant Professor, and Co-Director of the Center for Excellence in Diversity at Palo Alto University, in Palo Alto California. A graduate of Morehouse College, Dr. Thomas completed his doctoral education in Clinical Psychology at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He subsequently held a 2-year position as a Clinical Child Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. Dr. Alvin Thomas investigates risk and protective factors for African American boys who are situated in conditions that imperil them toward negative outcomes including youth violence and suicide. This is closely related to Dr. Thomas’ overall interest in ethnic identity, father-son relationships, and mental health in men and boys. His current work explores training gaps in diversity training specifically related to father (nonresident) involvement in service provision to their children. Dr. Thomas’ work has clinical and primary intervention implications - focusing on the resilience of African American boys as well as the family unit, in the face of social and psychological stress.

email: [email protected]


Maggie Thomas

Maggie Thomas, MSW, is a PhD candidate at Boston University School of Social Work. Her research centers on social policy with a focus on deprivation and poverty among children and families. She is particularly interested in the impact of material hardship on children’s wellbeing.

email: [email protected]


Kazumi Tsuchiya

Kazumi Tsuchiya is a doctoral candidate in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan.  Her research interests focus broadly on social and structural determinants that affect racial and ethnic health disparities. She is specifically interested in examining the impact of psychosocial stress on the health of families.

email: [email protected]


Kendra Whitfield

Kendra Whitfield is currently a 3rd year doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh. She is pursuing a joint PhD in clinical and developmental psychology. Her research interests lie broadly within the developmental psychopathology perspective and aim to understand the psychosocial needs of families in clinical settings, underserved and underrepresented communities, and otherwise challenging contexts. Her current research explores protective factors of fathering that buffer against the emergence of externalizing behavior problems in school-aged children living in “atypical”, yet common, unmarried family structures, with a particular focus on father-child relationship closeness.

email: [email protected]


Yanfeng Xu 

Yanfeng Xu, MSW, is a PhD student in the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland. Her research interests focus on child maltreatment, kinship care, foster care, and child behavioral health outcomes in cross-cultural contexts.

email: [email protected]