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Research Team

P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale

P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale

Associate Provost for Faculty, Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, and an IPR fellow

View her IPR expert profile.

P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale 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 Eckrich Sommer

Teresa Eckrich Sommer

Research Associate Professor at IPR

View her IPR biography.

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.

Affiliated Faculty

Terri J. Sabol

Terri J. Sabol

Assistant Professor in Human Development and Social Policy, and IPR Fellow

View her faculty profile on the School of Education and Social Policy website.

Terri J. Sabol is Assistant Professor in Human Development and Social Policy, and an IPR Fellow 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.

Elise Chor

Elise Chor

Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Temple University, and former postdoctoral fellow at IPR

View her IPR expert profile.

Elise Chor is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Temple University, and former 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.

Will Schneider

Will Schneider

Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and former postdoctoral fellow at IPR

View his IPR expert profile.

Will Schneider is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and former 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.

Research Support

Sarah Guminski

Sarah Guminski

Research Data Analyst and Project Coordinator

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. 

Kenn Dela Cruz

Kenn Dela Cruz

Mixed Methods Research Manager

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.

Marisa Sclafani

Marisa Sclafani

Project Coordinator

Marisa Sclafani is a Project Coordinator at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research. In 2018, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor's degree in Global Health, minoring in Spanish and Social and Economic Justice. Marisa is passionate about cross-cultural research to support the wellbeing of children and their families. She conducted qualitative research on international migration at the University of Bologna, Italy. Marisa also collaborated with Dr. Elizabeth Olson (UNC-CH) to analyze cultural predictors of youth caregiving in the US. Formative to her personal and professional life are internship experiences at Advocate Children’s Hospital and TABLE–Feeding Hungry Kids.

Doctoral Students

Courtenay Kessler

Courtenay Kessler

Doctoral student in Human Development and Social Policy

Courtenay Kessler is a fifth-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 Busby

Andrea Busby

Doctoral student in Human Development and Social Policy

Andrea Busby is a fifth-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.

Olivia Healy

Olivia Healy

Doctoral student in Human Development and Social Policy

Olivia Healy is a fourth-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

Sally Kim - Quantitative IPR Summer Research Assistant (Class of 2022)

Caroline Werner - Mixed Methods IPR Summer Research Assistant (BS 2020, Social Policy and Political Science)

Reena Burt - Research Assistant (BS 2020, Social Policy and Economics) 

Emily Ash - Research Assistant (BA 2019, Economics and Political Science)

Tianyu Luo - Research Assistant (BS 2020, MMSS)

Jose Trejos - Research Assistant (BS 2019, MMSS and Economics)

Lab Alumni

Research Staff: Amy Anderson (Research Coordinator and Data Manager, BS from the University of Oklahoma), Amy Sanchez (Research Project Coordinator, BS in Social Policy, Northwestern University)

Doctoral Students: Emily Ross (PhD in Human Development and Social Policy, and IPR graduate research fellow, Northwestern University; BSc in Psychology, McGill University)

Research Assistants: Kelsey Pukelis (BA 2017, MMSS), Margaret Graham (BS 2017, Social Policy), Ali Pelczar (BA 2017, Sociology and Statistics), Katherine Liu (BA 2019, MMSS and Economics), Ross Baker (BS 2020, Social Policy)