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CSC Administrative Core

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

Karen Bierman is an Evan Pugh University Professor and Director of the Child Study Center at The Pennsylvania State University. Her 30+ 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). She also directs a predoctoral training program in the interdisciplinary educational sciences, funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences. Bierman has received  funding for prevention and school readiness promotion from the National Institutes of  Health, the Institute of Educational Sciences, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. She has published three books and over 190 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.

Laureen Teti

Laureen Teti

  • Associate Research Professor of Psychology
  • Associate Director, Child Study Center
  • Associate Director, Parents and Children Together (PACT)

Dr. Laureen Teti has researched children’s emotion regulation and its relation to parent-child interactions in a variety of high risk families, including children prenatally exposed to cocaine and low-income urban African-American adolescent mothers. She has worked since 2006 with a small group of Penn State faculty to promote relations between the African American community in Harrisburg and child clinical and developmental researchers at the Child Study Center, which resulted in the establishment in 2007 of Parents and Children Together (PACT), a community-university partnership which includes representatives from early childhood agencies, parents, and other key leaders from the African American community in Harrisburg, PA. As an Associate Director of PACT, Laureen is involved in PACT’s administration.  In her role as the CSC’s Associate Director, Dr. Teti facilitates initiative activities and events, works closely with the Director on strategic planning, annual reports and budget management, and organizes the CSC’s Speaker Series.

Shannon Ranio

Shannon Ranio

  • Program Manager and Grants Specialist, Child Study Center

Shannon Ranio is a Penn State Alum and joined the Child Study Center as our Program Manager and Grants Specialist in May 2015 after having more than 10 years of experience at Penn State, from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Applied Research Laboratory, College of Engineering, and most recently the Psychology Department. In her role as Program Manager and Grants Specialist, Shannon works with CSC faculty on both pre- and post-award budgets, and helps with the development of grant applications and work plans. She also manages the CSC Training Institute, both its programs and its budget.

Nancy English

Nancy English

  • Administrative Support Coordinator, Child Study Center

Nancy came to the CSC from the Penn State Executive Programs in September 2017. She is a Penn State alumna and has been employed by Penn State since 2002. As the CSC Administrative Support Coordinator, her responsibilities range from managing Center procedures and operations to supporting research and education needs for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. She provides direct support to the Director and Associate Director, communicates and collaborates among campus units, and serves as liaison for visitors and guests at the Center.

Jacqui McKee

Jacqui McKee

  • Research Data Management Specialist, Child Study Center

Jacqui graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree (Psychology) and has been working at the Child Study Center since 2010. Her primary responsibilities at the CSC are to manage the FIRSt Families database, edit the CSC, PACT, and FIRSt Families websites, as well as manage the CSC’s social media accounts and informational monitor.

Jennifer Murray Connell

Jennifer Murray Connell

  • Project Specialist, Child Study Center

Jennifer Murray Connell is a Penn State alumna and joined the CSC in September 2017. Jenn earned her Masters of Social Work from the University of South Carolina and is a licensed clinical social worker. She has over 20 years of experience working with children and families around issues of mental health, family engagement, education, child welfare and juvenile justice. Prior to joining the CSC, she worked as a school social worker and the Coordinator of Social Work and School Counseling for Achievement First Connecticut and as Clinical Instructor of Social Work at the Yale Child Study Center. At the CSC, Jenn is the Project Manager for the Guided Play Program with Dr. Karen Bierman and is the Friendship Group Program Director.  Additionally, Jenn provides clinical supervision and clinical and consultative services to children, youth, and adults at the Penn State Psychological Clinic. Jenn provides clinical supervision and serves as a member of the Center’s Trauma Informed Collaborative.

Kayla Brown

Kayla Brown

  • Graduate Research Assistant, Child Study Center

Kayla Brown is a doctoral student in developmental psychology under the mentorship of Dr. Erika Lunkenheimer. She received her B.S. from Penn State with a major in Neuroscience and her M.S. in Developmental Psychology from Penn State. Her research interests focus on how individual differences in both parents’ and children’s characteristics influence their interaction patterns and how these patterns shape children’s development of self-regulation. As the CSC graduate research assistant, Kayla prepares for and takes notes during CSC faculty meetings, assists with the Speaker Series, maintains CSC-related databases, and writes articles for the CSC website.