Research Team

Research Team - Affiliated Faculty - Research Support - Doctoral Students - Research Assistants

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Research Team

chase-lansdale P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale is the Associate Provost for Faculty and the Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, and an IPR fellow at Northwestern University. She is an expert on the interface between research and social policy for children and families. She specializes in multidisciplinary research on social issues and how they affect families and the development of children and youth. Much of her work addresses family and program strengths that lead to children's positive social and educational outcomes in the context of economic hardship. Specific topics include two-generation educational interventions for young parents and children, early childhood education, postsecondary education and training for low-income young adults, immigration, welfare reform, maternal employment, marriage and cohabitation, parent-child relationships, and social disparities in health.
teresa Teresa Eckrich Sommer is a Research Associate Professor at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University. Her work focuses on the intersection of policy and practice for economically disadvantaged families and their children. She specializes in how social and educational institutions influence the life course of families, especially through investments in human and social capital (including basic life skills, education, and social networks). Her current research focuses on two-generation educational investments for parents and children. She is expert in program design and implementation and qualitative data analysis.
elise Elise Chor is a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research. She draws on economic and developmental perspectives to consider the interaction between families, government, and the early childhood education market. Her research explores the impacts of universal and targeted public preschool programs on childcare quality, parents' childcare and employment decision making, family processes, and ultimately child development, with a focus on low-income families.
w_schneider Will Schneider is a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research. He draws on theory and methods from developmental psychology, demography, and sociology to consider the ways in which children's early experiences influence their wellbeing. His research centers on the role of fathers, family structure, parenting, and social policies in child social-emotional development and the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Affiliated Faculty

sabol Terri J. Sabol is Assistant Professor in Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on the individual and environmental factors that lead to healthy child development, with a particular emphasis on schools and families. She applies developmental theory, psychological measurement and advanced quantitative methods to pressing social policy issues that affect low-income children and families. In particular, she focuses on two key policy areas: (1) improving early childhood education; and (2) increasing families’ human capital, including parent education, employment, and income.

Research Support

sarah guminski Sarah Guminski is a Research Data Analyst and Project Coordinator at the Institute for Policy Research. She received her MPP from The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy in 2017, and her BSB in Economics with a Minor in Mathematical Sciences from DePaul University in 2015. Before joining Dr. Chase-Lansdale’s research team, Sarah worked as a Research Assistant for The University of Chicago Crime Lab, the Urban Institute Policy Advisory Group, The University of Chicago Center for Survey Methodology, and the DePaul University Department of Economics. Sarah also works with the DEEP Lab in the School of Education and Social Policy. 
amy Amy Sanchez is a Research Project Coordinator at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research. She received a Bachelor of Science in 2015 from Northwestern with a major in Social Policy and a minor in Psychology. Amy completed her Honor’s Thesis for the School of Education and Social Policy through Dr. Chase-Lansdale’s lab, and joined the research team in her current role in August 2015. Stemming from her undergraduate experiences as a Jumpstart AmeriCorps member in a Head Start classroom, her interests include the improvement and expansion of high-quality early childhood education, and two-generation program design.
kenn dela cruz Kenn Dela Cruz is a Mixed Methods Research Manager at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research. He received his BA from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2013 with a major in Psychology and a double minor in Applied Developmental Psychology and Education Studies. Kenn then received his MA in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University in 2017, where he also completed his master’s thesis exploring the cultural influences on the relationship between children’s cognitive skills and empathy development. Kenn has first-hand experience working with children of various ages in a multitude of settings through his previous roles as an Early Childhood Educator at the Loyola Marymount University Children’s Center, an Infant and Toddler Art Instructor at the Randall Museum, and a Child Life Volunteer at the Miller Children’s Hospital.
Amy anderson Amy Anderson is the Research Coordinator and Data Manager for the Northwestern University Two-Generation Child and Family Outcomes Study (NU2Gen) of CAP's CareerAdvance Program. She joined the team in December 2015 from the nonprofit services sector. She received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oklahoma.

Doctoral Students

emily Emily Ross is a fifth-year doctoral student in Human Development and Social Policy and a graduate research fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. She uses mixed methodology to explore the processes that link economic disadvantage, parents' own human capital and well-being, parenting practices, and young children's development. She is also interested in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies that foster healthy child development through strengthening the early contexts in which they live. Emily received her BSc in psychology from McGill University.
courtenay Courtenay Kessler is a third-year doctoral student in human development and social policy. She previously completed her master’s degree at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the department of society, human development, and health. She worked as an academic evaluator of a wide range of public health programs, including early childhood development and infant mortality interventions. Courtenay’s research interests focus on the social determinants of health and multi-generational interventions to improve health and educational outcomes. She is also interested in community-based methodologies and mixed methods.
andrea Andrea Busby is a third-year doctoral student in human development and social policy. She has an undergraduate degree and research experience in family science. Her research interests center on the intersection of home and school environments and their impacts on children’s development, especially among families from low-income, immigrant, or ethnic-minority backgrounds. She worked for two years as a middle school math teacher and for two years as a Spanish-speaking representative with immigrant families prior to returning to graduate school.
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Olivia Healy is a second-year doctoral student in human development and social policy. She is interested in early care and education, family well-being, and anti-poverty policy, with a particular focus on the intergenerational impacts of policy. Previously, Olivia worked as a research associate at the Urban Institute where she studied publicly funded programs designed to support low-income families, including child care subsidies, Head Start, and home visiting. She received her B.S. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University.    

Research Assistants


Margaret Graham (BS 2017) is majoring in social policy at Northwestern University.

Kelsey Pukelis (BA 2017) is majoring in mathematical methods in the social sciences at Northwestern University. 

Ali Pelczar (BA 2017) is majoring in sociology and statistics at Northwestern University.

Katherine Liu (BA 2019) is majoring in mathematical methods in the social sciences, mathematics, and economics at Northwestern University.

Reena Burt (BS 2020) is majoring in social policy at Northwestern University.

Ross Baker (BS 2020) is majoring in social policy at Northwestern University.

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