Youth-Nex Affiliates

As an interdisciplinary and cross-University center, Youth-Nex has numerous faculty affiliates. Following is a list of Youth-Nex faculty and those personnel. (See separate list of Youth-Nex faculty.)

Joseph P. Allen, Ph.D.

Joseph Allen studies Adolescent Social Development, Family Relations, Peer relations & Problematic Behaviors (ranging from delinquency and teen pregnancy to depression and anxiety). Specifically, his research topics include the development of peer influence and peer pressure in adolescence, prevention of teen pregnancy, development of autonomy and relatedness in adolescent social interactions, and adolescent attachment organization.

Derrick P. Alridge, Ph.D.

Derrick P. Alridge is Professor of Education and an affiliate faculty member in the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies. An educational and intellectual historian, Alridge’s work examines American education with foci in African American education and the civil rights movement. He is the author of The Educational Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Intellectual History (2008) and co-editor, with James B. Stewart and V.P. Franklin, of Message in the Music: Hip-Hop, History, and Pedagogy (2011). Alridge is currently writing The Hip-Hop Mind: Ideas, History, and Social Consciousness (University of Wisconsin Press) and is co-editor, with Neil Bynum and James B. Stewart, of The Black Intellectual Tradition in the United States in the Twentieth Century (forthcoming, University of Illinois Press). He has published numerous articles in journals, such as History of Education Quarterly, The Journal of African American History, Teachers College Record, Educational Researcher, and The Journal of Negro Education.

Lanice Avery, Ph.D.

Dr. Avery’s overarching research interests are at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and mainstream media. Specifically, she is interested in Black women’s intersectional identities and how the negotiation of dominant gender ideologies and cultural stereotypes are associated with adverse psychological and sexual health outcomes. Currently, she has three lines of research that focus on understanding the ways in which gender-based psychological and sociocultural factors inform the sexual beliefs, experiences, and health practices of young Black women: (1) the health consequences associated with negotiating paradoxical expectations to perform hegemonic femininity; (2) the role of popular media in the socialization of disempowering gender, sex, and romantic relationship beliefs; and, (3) how the idealization of narrow feminine beauty and body standards contributes to adverse emotional, cognitive, and behavioral experiences during sexual intimacy. She runs the Research on Intersectionality, Sexuality, and Empowerment (RISE) Lab at the University of Virginia.

Ellen J. Bass, Ph.D.

Ellen Bass's research develops theories of human performance, quantitative modeling methodologies, and associated experimental designs that can be used to evaluate human-automation interaction in the context of total system performance. The outcomes of the research can be used in the systems engineering process: to inform system requirements, procedures, display designs and training interventions and to support system evaluation. The long term goal is to develop comprehensive measures, modeling techniques and evaluation methods that capture the contribution of human operators (knowledge, skills, and limitations), the dynamic task environment, the tools used (algorithms, decision support tools, displays), organizational factors (such as team roles) and all of their interactions. Her research contributions can be decomposed into four synergistic areas: Characterizing human judgment and decision making; Modeling human judgment when supported by information automation; Computational models of human-human and human-automation coordination; Design and evaluation of socio-technical system interventions to improve human judgment and decision making.

Amy Boitnott, D.N.P., R.N., F.N.P.-B.C.

Dr. Boitnott is the coordinator of the PNP-Primary Care program. As a DNP graduate, she combined both her practice and research, focusing on behaviors contributing to childhood obesity. She is also engaged in interprofessional research throughout UVA, working with School of Medicine faculty, to determine the clinical practice outcomes in collaborative standardized patient scenarios between SOM clerkship students and graduate family and pediatric nurse practitioner students. A faculty affiliate for Youth-Nex, the Center to Promote Effective Youth Development at the UVA Curry School of Education, her research explores the effect of family engagement on youngsters' health in collaboration with students from nursing, exercise physiology, nutrition and kinesiology.

Susan E. Bruce, M.Ed.

Susie Bruce, M.Ed., is director of the University of Virginia's Gordie Center, which works to end hazing and substance misuse among college and high school students nationwide through evidence-informed, student-tested resources.  Ms. Bruce's areas of expertise focus on health promotion with emerging adults, particularly through peer education, curriculum infusion, bystander intervention and the social norms approach.  She directs the NCAA-funded APPLE Training Institutes:  the leading national strategic training program for substance misuse prevention and health promotion for student-athletes and athletics departments and is a Faculty Affiliate of Youth-Nex: The University of Virginia's Center to Promote Effective Youth Development. She serves on the national Step UP! Bystander Intervention Program’s Executive Board, the Institute to Promote Athlete Health & Wellness' Advisory Board, and the James R. Favor and Company's Fraternity Health and Safety Initiative Advisory Panel. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Virginia.

Roger C. Burket, M.D.

Dr. Burket is Chief, Developmental Disorders Section and Director, Child and Family Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at UVA. He is a graduate of Penn State University (Aerospace Engineering), received his Medical Degree from George Washington University and completed General Psychiatry Residency and Child Psychiatry Fellowship training at the University of Florida. He then served in faculty positions at the University of Florida and the Medical College of Georgia before coming to UVA in 1997. His research interests include delinquency, ADHD, personality disorders, affective disorders, psychopharmacology, and most recently telemedicine. He is the author or coauthor of over thirty articles and book chapters on children's mental health topics.

Daniel J. Cox, Ph.D.

Professor Daniel Cox earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1976 from the University of Louisville, and completed his residency in 1977 at the University of Virginia Hospital, where he has continued to work. Professor Cox has written over 210 scientific articles, and has been Principal Investigator on over 40 National Institutes of Health and industrial grants. A primary focus of his research career has dealt with the impact of extreme blood glucose levels (including hypoglycemia) on brain functioning, and how these effects can be used to help individuals with diabetes better anticipate, prevent, recognize and manage exposure to extreme blood glucose. 

Mark DeBoer, M.D.

Dr. Mark DeBoer performed his pediatric residency at the University of Virginia and his fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Oregon Health and Science University.  Dr. DeBoer is interested in applications of technologies related to the artificial pancreas in children and adolescents, including how these technologies will affect blood sugar control and how they will affect overall family dynamics.  In addition to his interests in Type 1 diabetes, Dr. DeBoer is also interested in childhood and adult disease risks related to insulin resistance as part of the metabolic syndrome and has helped formulate a scoring system to assess the severity of metabolic syndrome within an individual over time.

Scott Gest, Ph.D.

Scott Gest's research focuses on the developmental processes linking children’s school-based peer experiences with their academic competence and problem behaviors. He is especially interested in how teaching practices and intervention efforts may promote positive peer experiences and better school adjustment. This work is centered on children in the elementary grades, but he is involved in research that extends from pre-Kindergarten through high school. He draws upon theories from developmental, educational and social psychology and methods from social network analysis to explore these issues in both non-intervention and intervention studies.

Erik W. Gunderson, M.D.

Dr. Gunderson is the Director and Founder of the Center for Wellness and Change. He also is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences and Department of Medicine at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine. Dr. Gunderson's clinical and research interests have focused on treatment of opioid use disorders, the interface between pain and substance use, integrating alcohol and other substance use disorder screening and intervention in primary care, medical education, and human behavioral psychopharmacology. Between 2003-2008, he was Medical Director of Columbia University's Buprenorphine Program, an outpatient program that specialized in the treatment of opioid use disorders.  Also during this time, he was Medical Director of Columbia's Substance Use Research Center, a human behavioral pharmacology research laboratory. In 2008, he moved to Virginia and became Director of UVA's Clinical Pharmacological Research Unit in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences.  From 2008 to 2014 he was Adjunct Associate Research Scientist in the Division on Substance Abuse, Department of Psychiatry, of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has received federal funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study the effectiveness of buprenorphine treatment of opioid dependence in primary care, as well U. S. Department of Health and Human Services funding from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to develop substance use curricula for physicians.

John Holbein, Ph.D.

John Holbein studies political participation, political inequality, democratic accountability, political representation, and education policy. His work has been published in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and Nature Human Behavior (to name a few). His research has been supported by two National Science Foundation grants. His book–Making Young Voters: Converting Civic Attitudes into Civic Action–is forthcoming at Cambridge University Press. It explores ways to increase perpetually low rates of voter participation among young people. His work has been covered by outlets such as the Washington PostVoxNew York Magazine, the Boston GlobeNPRBloombergPoliticoFast CompanySalonBusiness Insider, the 74VoxEu, and FiveThirtyEight.

Noelle Hurd, Ph.D., MPH

Dr. Noelle Hurd's research agenda has primarily focused on the promotion of healthy development among marginalized adolescents and emerging adults. Specifically, her work has focused on identifying opportunities to build on pre-existing strengths in youths’ lives, such as supportive intergenerational relationships. Increasingly, her work also has focused on opportunities to disrupt systems of oppression. She runs the Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development (PHAD) Lab at the University of Virginia. She is a former William T. Grant Scholar and a Spencer/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2015, she was recognized as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. In 2017, she received the Outstanding Professor Award from the UVA Department of Psychology. In 2019 she served as a Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellow. Her research has been funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Science Foundation. 

Andrew D. Kaufman, Ph.D.

Andrew Kaufman is currently an Associate Professor and Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Virginia. He helps faculty and teachers across the country create profound learning experiences that change the way students think, act, and feel, while making important contributions to their communities. At UVa he created and teaches  the renowned community-based course, Books Behind Bars: Life, Literature and Leadership, in which university students meet weekly with committed youth at a maximum-security juvenile correctional center to explore questions of meaning, value, and social justice though life-changing conversations about Russian literature. The course has been featured in the Washington Post, on The Today Show, NPR, and Russian national television, and is subject of the feature documentary, Seats at the Table. The documentary has appeared at film festivals throughout the United States (including SXSW EDU), France, and Great Britain, and in 2020 will air nationally on PBS. In addition to his teaching expertise, Dr. Kaufman is a nationally recognized Russian language, literature, and culture scholar, and has spent the last twenty-five years bringing alive the Russian classics to Americans young and old. 

Michael J. Kennedy, Ph.D.

Michael J. Kennedy is an Associate Professor of Special Education in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia.  He is the head of the STORMED Lab (Supporting Teachers through cOaching, obseRvations, and Multimedia to Educate students with Disabilities). Kennedy's main area of research is the design, implementation, and experimental testing of multimedia-based interventions to support pre- and in-service teachers' knowledge and implementation of evidence-based practices. He has designed and experimentally tested numerous multimedia products intended to support teacher and student outcomes. Innovations include Content Acquisition Podcasts (CAPs), which are instructional vignettes intended to support teachers’ knowledge and readiness to implement evidence-based and high-leverage practices. In addition, Kennedy and two former doctoral students created the Classroom Teaching (CT) Scan (, which is a flexible tool used for observing teachers or teacher candidates and providing data-driven coaching and feedback. 

Nathan Lau, Ph.D.

Dr. Lau's research areas include cognitive engineering, human performance, interface design, situation awareness, ecological interface design, and cognitive work analysis. His ongoing research projects include: (i) concept of operations and display design research in cyber-security for remotely piloted aircrafts operations center, (ii) hardware-and-human-in-the-loop research program for nuclear process control, (iii) efficiency investigation of the manufacturing and repairing processes of jet engine turbines, (iv) development of a driver distraction alert system using motion capture and sonification technology, and (v) usability and evaluation study for an artificial pancreas.

Seanna Leath, Ph.D.

Dr. Leath uses interdisciplinary approaches in education and psychology to understand and address issues related to the holistic development of Black girls and women in the context of families, schools, and communities. Specifically, her research program focuses on addressing how race and gender identity beliefs support psychological resilience among Black girls, and exploring the influence of discrimination and stigma on a variety of outcomes among Black girls and women.

Melissa Levy, Ph.D.

Melissa Levy obtained her Ph.D. through the Curry School and became influential in creating the Youth and Social Innovation major. She teaches academic service-learning courses in the Youth and Social Innocation Major that involves UVA students working with and building relationships with youth and others in the local community. Levy also collaborates with the Women’s Center on the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP).

Andrew Mondschein, Ph.D.

Andrew Mondschein is an associate professor of urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He studies transportation systems and travel behavior, seeking to foster equitable, sustainable accessibility in cities and regions.  He addresses a rapidly changing terrain of transportation and information technologies, identifying means to assert social imperatives during a period of urban transformation.  His research emphasizes the role of information and knowledge in fostering individual- and community-level capability and control over mobility

Charlotte J. Patterson, Ph.D.

Charlotte J. Patterson is a Professor in the UVA Department of Psychology and in the Center for Children, Families, and the Law, and is Director of UVA’s interdisciplinary program, Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS).  Her research focuses on the psychology of sexual orientation, with an emphasis on sexual orientation, human development, and family lives. In the context of her research, Patterson has worked with children, adolescents, couples, and families; she is best known for her studies of child development in the context of lesbian- and gay-parented families.

Sara Rimm-Kaufman, Ph.D.

Rimm-Kaufman conducts research on elementary and middle school classrooms with the goal of using evidence to improve the quality of schooling experiences for teachers and students. There is no simple formula for creating excellent schools. Yet, the majority of efforts focus on curriculum, content knowledge and accountability, not the psychological experience and social interactions of students and teachers within them. Over the past twenty years, Rimm-Kaufman has led a dynamic team of researchers, project managers, post-docs, students, and staff toward improved understanding of the systematic ways that classroom social and psychological experiences are productive (or not productive) environments for child and youth development. In doing so, her research considers the diversity present in schools, respects the challenges that teachers face every day, and recognizes the complexity of school improvement. In all of her work, she has a steadfast commitment to educational equity.

Erik Ruzek, Ph.D.

With a focus on middle and high schools, Erik Ruzek studies the impacts of classroom environments on students' motivation, engagement, and academic achievement. His research employs multiple methods for measuring the classroom climate and he has a particular interest on understanding and measuring students' interpretations of their unique experiences within the classroom. He primarily studies the classroom perceptions and motivation of middle and high school students, and continue to work with colleagues on research on Pre-K instruction and children's academic development.

Richard Stevenson, Ph.D.

Richard Stevenson, MD, completed his pediatric residency at the University of Virginia and joined the UVA faculty in 1989 following fellowship training in Developmental Pediatrics at the University of Iowa. He is board-certified in neurodevelopmental disabilities and is an active clinician, teacher and clinical investigator. He is a leader in several multi-center studies related to the care of children with cerebral palsy. Dr. Stevenson is the coordinator of the UVA Children’s Hospital Costa Rica exchange, was recently appointed Chair of the Institutional Review Board for Health Sciences Research at UVA. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine as past president.

Sophie Trawalter, Ph.D.

Sohie Trawalter is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Psychology. She studies phenomena related to social diversity. Specifically, she examines how people navigate intergroup contact and intergroup contexts. She is especially interested in how people develop competencies and learn to thrive in diverse spaces. In one line of research, she investigates stress and coping responses to interracial contact. Within this line of research, she examines people’s short-term behavioral and physiological responses to interracial contact as well as longer-term, health-relevant physiological changes in response to diversity experiences. Other lines of research explore people’s ability to detect discrimination accurately and the social ecology of privilege. Ultimately, the aim of this work is to develop constructive strategies to cope with the challenges of diversity in organizations, public arenas, and private spaces. In time, such strategies may reduce intergroup tensions and improve outcomes for both traditionally stigmatized and non-stigmatized group member

Matthew Trowbridge, M.D., M.P.H.

Matthew Trowbridge is a physician, public health researcher, and assistant professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Dr. Trowbridge’s academic research focuses on the impact of architecture, urban design, and transportation planning on public health issues including childhood obesity, traffic injury, and pre-hospital emergency care. Dr. Trowbridge is currently an advisor to the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (, a partnership between multiple federal and private funding agencies, on built environment and childhood obesity prevention research development.   Previously, he has served as Chair of the Built Environment & Transportation planning subcommittee for the 2012 Centers for Disease Control’s Weight of the Nation obesity prevention conference and as senior advisor on built environment and childhood obesity prevention research at the National Cancer Institute at NIH. Dr. Trowbridge was also recently named as the 2013 Ginsberg Fellow by the U.S. Green Building Council for his work to promote healthier built environments. 

Amrisha Vaish, Ph.D.

Dr. Amrisha Vaish received her B.A. in Psychology and English from the University of Virginia in 2002, her M.A. in Psychology from the University of Chicago in 2006, and her PhD in Psychology from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Free University Berlin in 2010. Prior to starting at U.VA, she was a Dilthey Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Her research focuses on the ontogenetic emergence of the moral emotions, cognitions, and behaviors that make children successful cooperators. This includes the emergence of social emotions such as sympathy, guilt, and forgiveness; of moral evaluations of one's own and others' actions; and of moral behaviors such as helping, sharing, and the enforcement of moral norms. She has also recently begun examining more uncooperative phenomena, such as cheating and reputation enhancement, in order to expand our understanding not only of when and why cooperation works but also of when and why it doesn’t. Her other research interests include infant social referencing, children's understanding of others’ desires as an early form of theory of mind, and the development of the negativity bias.

Rachel L. Wahl, Ph.D.

Rachel Wahl examines how ideas and ideals spread through education and advocacy, particularly in regard to state and civil society efforts to influence each other. Her focus has been on how implicit philosophical beliefs about morality, justice, and human nature facilitate and undermine receptivity to dialogue, deliberation, and formal education. She is especially interested in approaches to changing ideas and behavior that rely on voluntary learning in comparison to those that rely on various forms of public pressure.

Arthur L. Weltman, Ph.D. 

Dr. Weltman is the Director of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory (EPL) of the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC). His research interests include the use of exercise and lifestyle intervention to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life throughout the lifespan.

Diane Whaley, Ph.D.

Dr. Whaley’s primary research examines the relationship between self-perceptions/motivation and physical activity behavior in adults and older adults, with a particular interest in developing effective interventions that encourage at-risk groups (older, poor, overweight) to become more physically active.

Barbara Wilson, Ph.D.

Barbara Brown Wilson’s research and teaching focus on the history, theory, ethics, and practice of sustainable community design and development, and on the role of urban social movements in the built world. Dr. Wilson writes for both academic and mainstream audiences, and is the author of Resilience for All: Striving for Equity through Community-Driven Design (Island Press: 2018), and co-author of Questioning Architectural Judgment: The Problem of Codes in the United States (Routledge: 2013). Her research is often change-oriented, meaning she collaborates with community partners to identify opportunities for engaged and integrated sustainable community development that creates knowledge to serve both local and educational communities.

Melvin N. Wilson, Ph.D.

Dr. Melvin Wilson's academic, research, and training activities generally focus on understanding contextual processes and outcomes in African American families and service delivery in domestic violence issues. Specifically, his current research interests focus on young, low-income, unwed, and nonresident fathers. In addition, he is currently working on developing intervention protocols aimed at helping young men meet family responsibilities and involvements. Finally, Dr. Wilson has an intervention and research evaluation project focused on providing services to men who are court-ordered for treatment of wife-battering.

Joanna Williams, Ph.D.

Joanna Lee Williams earned her master’s degree in human development from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Temple University. As a developmental psychologist her primary interest is the period of adolescence. The first area of Dr. Williams scholarship focuses on understanding the role of race and ethnicity in individual and interpersonal contexts and at broader levels of the ecology (e.g., classrooms). This includes research on racial/ethnic identity, racial/ethnic diversity in adolescent friendship networks, and social network equity in diverse middle school classrooms. The second area involves the translation and application of research; this currently includes efforts to translate the science of adolescent development into useful recommendations and practices for parents, educators, and policymakers. Dr. Williams is a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Science of Adolescent Development and its Applications and is a member of the National Scientific Council on Adolescence. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Parent and Teen Communication, a multidisciplinary team based within the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Joseph Williams, Ph.D.

Joseph Williams is an Associate Professor in the Counselor Education Program at the University of Virginia. He is a faculty affiliate with Youth-Nex: The U.Va. Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, and with the Center for Race and Public Education in the South. He earned his Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of Iowa and his M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from Minnesota State University. His primary line of research focuses on identifying the protective factors and underlying processes that contribute to the academic resilience of K-12 students of color and those from low-income backgrounds. His secondary line of interest include multicultural and social justice training practices for (K-12) counselors, educators, and other helping professionals. In addition to publishing scholarly articles and book chapters in these areas, he also consults with school districts, communities, associations, and corporations to improve diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts and engage people in productive dialogue and action.