Team

project respect small 

Principal Investigators

Dr. Jenny Frank

Frank

Dr. Frank is an Assistant Professor of School Psychology and Special Education and Research Assistant Professor at the Prevention Research Center at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Frank will serve as PI, and will be responsible for overseeing IRB, data management, data analysis, co-authoring of reports, co-development of program content, reporting, and overall project and fiscal management. Dr. Frank has prior experience serving as a principal investigator on similar projects from federal and state agencies, is lead methodologist on several federally funded IES and NIH grants. Dr. Frank has worked at the Prevention Research Center since 2011. Her research interests focus on school-based prevention and the ecology of risk (family-school-peer-community) across middle to late childhood. Dr. Frank has extensive experience developing, implementing, and evaluating teacher professional development programs. Dr. Frank brings experience in Positive Behavior Support, coordinating the development of products involving a technological component. Dr. Frank completed her post-doctoral training at the University of Oregon, with a focus on advanced statistical methods to evaluate universal prevention practices. Dr. Frank currently serves on the editorial boards of several professional journals.

Dr. Peter Nelson

Nelson

Peter is an Assistant Professor of School Psychology at Penn State University. He completed his doctoral training in school psychology at the University of Minnesota after obtaining his M.A. in education from the University of Mississippi.  A former high school teacher, his primary research interests focus on data-based decision-making, prevention, and intervention in the classroom setting. He has published and presented on issues related to effective math intervention, classroom environment assessment, teacher development, screening, and progress monitoring.

Dr. Deb Schussler

Schussler

Dr. Schussler is Associate Professor in the College of Education at Penn State University with an affiliation at the Prevention Research Center. Dr. Schussler will serve as Co-PI and lead program development, school-based implementation efforts, and qualitative data collection and analysis. Dr. Schussler brings expertise in curriculum development and teacher education, and has designed and conducted qualitative and mixed methods studies exploring teacher candidate dispositions and teacher reflection. She has worked with pre-service and experienced teachers for 16 years at Vanderbilt University, Villanova University, and Penn State. Her work has been recognized by the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education where she serves as the chair of the TEAM-C (Teacher Education as a Moral Community) taskforce.


Project Managers

Dr. Michelle Wright

Wright

Michelle Wright, Ph.D. is currently serving as Project Manager for Project RESPECT. She is also affiliated with the Child Study Center. Michelle brings 12 years of project management experience, working with children, families, and schools. Prior to coming to PSU, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Children, Youth, and Family at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, where her research interests focused on cultural differences in cyberbullying involvement among youths in China, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, India, Japan, and the United States. She received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with a focus on Developmental and Social Psychology from DePaul University, and her Masters in General Psychology from Auburn University Montgomery. She possesses extensive research knowledge and experience involving children’s, adolescents’ and young adults’ offline and online emotional risks, particularly bullying and cyberbullying. Michelle works with faculty on innovative ways of collecting data and delivering interventions. Her current research interests involve developing interventions to improve teacher-student interactions, academic outcomes, and classroom climate. Michelle has also published over 45 articles and book chapters on how youth navigate social relationships in various contexts. The following is a link to her publications, book chapters, and technical reports: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michelle_Wright3

Charishma Soni

Soni

Charishma Soni is currently serving as the Assistant Project Manager for Project RESPECT.  She is a third year doctoral candidate in the School Psychology program within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Penn State.  Charishma completed her Master’s degree in School Psychology in May 2016 at Penn State.  Prior to attending Penn State, she graduated with her B.S. in Psychology from The University of Pittsburgh in 2012.  After graduating, she joined the 2012 Teach for America Northeast Ohio Charter Corps and taught 2nd grade in Village Preparatory School: Woodland Hills for two years prior to enrolling in her doctoral program.  Charishma is currently interested in the development of effective evidence-based prevention programs to serve at-risk youth and associated stakeholders.  She is also interested in researching the applications of positive psychology in schools.  


Team Members

Kayla Bell 

Bell

Kayla Bell is a second year doctoral candidate in the School Psychology program within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Penn State.  Kayla completed her B.A. in Psychology at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2015.  Kayla is currently interested in the long-term effects of adverse childhood experiences and the impact these experiences have on education.

Victoria Buser

Buser

 

Victoria Buser is currently serving as a research assistant for Project RESPECT. She is a second year doctoral candidate in the School Psychology program within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Penn State. Prior to attending Penn State, she graduated with her B.S. in Psychology from Juniata College in 2015. Victoria is currently interested in the relationship between class size and student perceptions of the classroom environment. She is also interested in future research regarding parent academic involvement among low-income families.
Gwendolyn Deger  Gwendolyn Deger is currently serving as a research assistant for Project RESPECT. She is a first year doctoral candidate in the Special Education program within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Penn State. Gwendolyn completed her Master's degree in Reading in December of 2014 at Edinboro University. Prior to attending Edinboro University, she graduated with her B.S.E in Special Education and Elementary Education from Millersville University in 2009. Prior to and after graduating, she worked as a Family Supports Specialist at Lifepath, Inc, providing lifeskills and community based instruction for adults with disability for 2 years. In 2010, she was hired as a long term learning support substitute at Benner and Bellefonte Elementary Schools in the Bellefonte Area School District. She then was hired to work as a full time learning support teacher at the Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School for 5 years prior to entering her doctoral program. Gwendolyn is interested in developing both pre-service and in-service evidence based mentoring or induction programs to serve special education teachers to prevent attrition and burnout. She is also interested in technological advances in improving teacher delivery instruction and better understanding how to implement universal design for learning for students with disabilities (especially reading disabilities). 

Lamiya Khan

Khan

Lamiya Khan is a first year student in School Psychology program within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Penn State. Lamiya completed her B.A. in Psychology in 2014 at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). After graduating, she began working on her M.A. in Experimental Psychology at FAU and is finishing up her thesis work on reading comprehension and verb memory. Lamiya's current interest include social-emotional learning and interventions in schools.

Kimberly Kohler 

Kohler

Kimberly Kohler, a third year doctoral candidate in Special Education within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Penn State, is a graduate assistant member of the Project RESPECT team. She earned her B.A. in French Literature and a minor in Psychology from Penn State University in May 1995.  After graduation, Kimberly worked in various roles for Bon Ton Department Stores, including General Sales Manager. In May 2002, Kimberly completed her Master’s of Education degree in Special Education at Penn State.  She went on to teach 6th grade Learning Support at Park Forest Middle School (State College Area School District) for 12 years, mentoring many first year teachers and Penn State Special Education teacher candidates.  Kimberly is currently interested in increasing retention rates of Special Education professionals through the development of programs and strategies that address emotion regulation, mindfulness, stress, and physiological/psychological well-being.

Julia Mahfouz 

Mahfouz

Julia Mahfouz is currently a 3rd year PhD candidate in Educational Leadership with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction and Comparative and International Education at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research agenda has been shaped by more than 10 years of educational work as an international educator in the capacity of high school teacher, principal (K-12), curriculum coordinator, and developer of a summer camp program. As an educator, she has always been intrigued by the idea of care, compassion, and trust and their impact on effective schools. She has considerable experience in international education, having worked in American International Schools and in USA-based education through research on Common Core, teacher preparation, and school-based mindfulness programs. Broadly, she uses qualitative methods to examine teachers’ and principals’ well-being and leadership within certain school context and how social emotional learning professional development programs could be implemented to ensure a positive school environment. For RESPECT project, she has been involved in video coding of teachers, students through CLASS and BOSS respectively.

Ashley Marinez

Marinez

Ashley Marinez is currently a coder for the Project RESPECT team. She is a second year doctoral candidate in the School Psychology program within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Penn State.  She currently works for the Clearinghouse of Military Family Readiness and focuses on work within the Air Force and suicide prevention efforts. Prior to attending Penn State, Ashley graduated with her B.A. in Psychology from CUNY Queens College in 2014.  Ashley is currently interested in motivation and its role to as a protective factor for at-risk students.  She is also interested in researching the applications of mindfulness practices of psychology in schools. 

Patrick Metoyer 

Metoyer

Patrick Metoyer is a Graduate Assistant for Dr. Frank and currently working on Project Respect.  He is a second year doctoral candidate in the School Psychology program within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Penn State.  Prior to attending Penn State, he graduated with his B.S. in Health Science and a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton.  Patrick has also worked as personal trainer and a fitness manager from 2003 to 2015.  Patrick is currently interested in the development of effective evidence-based prevention programs and cultural inclusion within school.  He is also interested in researching the applications of wellbeing and positive psychology in schools, and educational philosophy as it relates to the purpose and aims of education. 

Jared R. Morris

Morris

Jared R. Morris is a second year doctoral candidate in special education within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at the Pennsylvania State University. Jared worked with Project RESPECT for the 2015-2016 school year and will work as a graduate assistant for Dr. Frank beginning fall of 2016. Jared is CLASS certified and proficient in conducting the BOSS assessment. He completed a Master's degree in special education in 2013 from the University of Utah and a Bachelors degree in English from Brigham Young University in 2010. Jared has taught in a self-contained high functioning autism classroom, a resource classroom, a LDS Seminary, and assisted in a severe secondary life skills classroom. He has taught in elementary, middle and high school settings with 6 years of teaching experience. Jared is interested in academic interventions that address student learning and motivation including the use of behavioral momentum, task sequencing (e.g., high-p, task interspersal), interleaved worked solutions and practice.

Emily Sturtz 

Sturtz

Emily Sturtz is working with Project RESPECT as a Graduate Assistant. She is a first year doctoral student at Penn State in School Psychology, within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education. Emily completed her undergraduate degree in May 2016 at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA with a B.S. in Psychology. Her current research interests include classroom management and conflict, with a particular focus on positive behavior supports.