Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Karen L. Bierman

Karen L. Bierman

Evan Pugh University Professor
Director, Child Study Center
Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies
School Readiness Initiative Director
(814) 865-3879 / 814-863-5676


Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies

Headshot of Karen Bierman


Karen Bierman is an Evan Pugh University Professor and Director of the Child Study Center at The Pennsylvania State University. Her 40+ year research career has focused on social-emotional development and children at risk, with an emphasis on the design and evaluation of school-based programs that promote social competence, school readiness, positive peer relations, and that reduce aggression and related behavior problems. She has directed several longitudinal studies evaluating the long-term impact of early school-based and family-focused preventive interventions designed to reduce aggression (Fast Track) and enhance school success (Head Start REDI). She has also developed and evaluated small-group social skill training interventions for peer-rejected children (Friendship Group). Bierman has received funding for prevention and school readiness promotion from the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Educational Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Society, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Prevention Research. She has published eight books and contributed to three published intervention manuals, and authored over 240 articles and chapters, and has served as an educational advisor to a number of organizations devoted to improving early education for disadvantaged children, including Head Start and Sesame Street.