Theresa Pfister

Theresa Pfister

  • Ph.D. Student


Theresa Pfister's doctoral work focuses on the intersection of social-emotional learning (SEL) and equity. The first paper of her dissertation explores the development of civic efficacy in 4th grade science classrooms, while her second paper offers insight into middle school students' experiences of empathy. Her final paper addresses the experiences of adolescents living and learning in Chicago during the pandemic – particularly their social-emotional learning and critical consciousness development. Other projects include a series of qualitative studies highlighting Black women's high school experiences and a paper analyzing disproportionality in school discipline using a national dataset. Pfister is highly committed to bridging the research-practice gap through authentic partnerships with schools and districts and writing for practitioner audiences. Upon graduation, she will be taking on a role as a researcher and technical assistance provider.


Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2023
M.A., Relay Graduate School of Education, 2016
B.A., Pomona College, 2013


  • Social-emotional learning, equity, adolescent development, qualitative methodologies, critical psychology