Pratik Mhatre is the Associate Director of the Institute and the Study Director for the National Study of Learning Mindsets. Dr. Mhatre received his Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Science from Texas A&M University and his Masters in Public Policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Mhatre is deeply interested in the relationship between public policy and the environment, especially the intersection of public education & health policies and their impact on socio-economic characteristics of the neighborhood/community through bettering college access and college readiness for low-income and disadvantaged students. Previously, Dr. Mhatre was the Co-PI and Project Director for the To College and Beyond GEARUP grant serving school districts in the greater Austin and San Antonio region and served as the Data and Research Administrator for the Texas GEAR UP State Grant.
Chandra Muller is the Alma Cowden Madden Centennial Professor and the Ashbel Smith Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on inequality in schools and its effects across the life cycle. In particular, she focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) preparation and careers. Of primary interest is the diversity in experiences and disparities according to gender, race and ethnicity, social class, disability, immigration, or language minority status. She has several large-scale studies that involve collecting, producing, and analyzing national longitudinal databases to study the roles of education in work, family, and health from adolescence through midlife. Dr. Muller is an elected member of the National Academy of Education, the Sociological Research Association, and is an American Education Research Association Fellow. Dr. Muller earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
Robert Crosnoe is Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Rapoport Centennial Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. He received a Ph.D. from Stanford University and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Crosnoe studies the health, social development, and education of children, adolescents, and young adults and how these connections factor into socioeconomic and immigration-related inequalities in American society. His books include Fitting In, Standing Out: Navigating the Social Challenges of High School to Get an Education, Debating Early Child Care: Media, Social Science, and the Battle over Early Child Care, and Families Now: Diversity, Demography, and Development. This work has been featured in various media outlets, including National Public Radio, Time, Newsweek, and The Onion. At UT, Dr. Crosnoe has won multiple university awards for teaching undergraduate coursework on children, families, education, and public policy. Outside UT, he has been President of the Society for Research on Adolescence, a member of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network, and a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on Improving the Health, Safety, and Well-Being of Young Adults.
David Yeager is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Yeager is the PI of the National Study of Learning Mindsets and the Texas Mindset Initiative. His research examines the causes of and solutions to adolescent health problems, such as bullying, depression, academic achievement, cheating, trust, or healthy eating. He often focuses on adolescent transitions—the transition to middle school, the transition to high school, or the transition to college—as a place where there is a great opportunity (and risk) for young people’s trajectories. Formerly, Yeager was a middle school English teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Yeager holds a Ph.D. and MA from Stanford University and a BA and M.Ed from the University of Notre Dame. Yeager is a Jacobs Foundation Advanced Research Fellow and has been a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar, a Residential Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), and a Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Previously, Yeager co-founded two major scholarly networks: the Mindset Scholars Network (now the Student Experience Research Network) and the College Transition Collaborative.
Christopher Bryan is an Assistant professor in the Business, Government, and Society Department in the McCombs College of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Bryan received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Stanford University. He studies psychological influence, behavioral decision-making, and political psychology with a particular interest in psychology as it relates to social and public policy. His research spans a range of theoretical interests and is driven by a core motivation to do work that enhances our understanding of and ability to address important real-world social, political, and policy problems. Much of his work has examined how subtle framing manipulations can change people’s attitudes and behavior in ways that benefit them, their communities, and the larger society. A central theoretical theme of Dr. Bryan’s work is the role of the self in influencing attitudes and behavior.
Matt Giani is a Research Associate in the Texas Behavioral Science and Policy Institute and an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. His research examines policies, practices, and interventions that promote social mobility and reduce socioeconomic stratification in K12 and higher education, particularly those that promote college access and success of low-income students. His methodological expertise in quantitative methods, including experimental and quasi-experimental techniques used to support causal inference in educational research. Dr. Giani has extensive experience using national and statewide longitudinal data, including the Education Research Center (ERC) at UT Austin.
Jonelle Bradshaw de Hernandez is a Research Assistant Professor at University of Texas Austin School of Information. Dr. Bradshaw de Hernandez’ research interests include the intersection of science and technological innovations, risk perceptions and job security in building a transformational U.S. workforce focused on economic competitiveness, national security and vulnerable populations. A key element of this ecosystem is public higher education and its intersection with funding and their combined roles in addressing large scale cultural and social challenges. Dr. Bradshaw de Hernandez translates her research into her work as Executive Director of Foundation Relations at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Bradshaw de Hernandez was selected as a Public Interest Technology University Network Social Justice Informatics Faculty Fellow in 2021. Dr. Bradshaw received her Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College, an Advanced Certificate in Instructional Leadership at St. John’s University, and her Doctorate from Stony Brook University, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Technology, Policy and Innovation.
Danielle Krettek Cobbis the Founder and Chief Design and Creative Officer of Google Empathy Lab. Before Empathy Lab, she ran special projects for Google X. Prior to joining Google she launched Apple’s top products of all time under the leadership of Steve Jobs (Intel Mac, MacBook Air, iPhone, and iPad), and worked at Nike for Tinker Hatfield and Phil Knight. At Empathy Lab, Krettek’s mission is to create humane, enlivening technology imbued with natural patterns of interconnected being and flourishing. Her method of “Design Feeling” has introduced vibrant humanity, creativity, resilience, and wisdom of heart to spaces ranging from AI to social impact to crisis responses. Danielle has pioneered unconventional explorations with scientific and cultural partners (e.g., NASA’s JPL).
Dr. Genecov is a board-certified Developmental/Behavioral Pediatrician and Nationally Certified Counselor with over 20 years of experience in caring for children and families. Dr. Genecov utilizes theories on attachment, family systems, and psychodynamic therapy to optimize adolescent development and strengthen family relationships. Dr. Genecov is a member of the Texas Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and its Sections on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Adolescent Health.
Jenny Buontempo is the Senior Database Administrator and Lead Programmer, ensuring efficiency and timeliness in code/syntax archiving, data cleaning and validation, and other related documentation tasks. Dr. Buontempo and the Lead Programmer work on providing the creation of analytical datasets for the PIs. Before working on the National Study of Learning Mindsets, Dr. Buontempo was the lead programmer for the Stanford Education Data Archive.
Rebecca L. Boylan is a research associate on the National Study of Learning Mindsets in the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Rebecca works with the Senior Database Administrator at the TxBSPI to process raw data, create analytical datasets for the researchers and help implement best practices in data management at the institute. Her research has explored factors that shape students’ movement through educational institutions over time, and as part of a collaborative team, she conducts work on charter schools. Rebecca received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Georgia.
Meghann Johnson is the Director of Behavioral Intervention Design and User Experience at TxBSPI. Previously, Meghann worked in education technology, as a Lab Manager overseeing Dr. Christopher Bryan’s behavioral intervention field research, and in behavioral science consulting. Meghann received her BA in Psychology and Public Policy and MBA in Behavioral Science and Economics from the University of Chicago. She is passionate about using behavioral science and designing interventions to help address inequalities.
Matthew Philbrook is a Senior Research Program Coordinator. He received his BA in Sociology from Centenary College of Louisiana and his Master’s in Social Science from the University of Chicago. He assists with the logistics and operations for the TxBSPI, primarily working on the Texas Mindset Initiative (TxMI). He has worked to organize the TxMI Faculty Fellowship, the TxMI Advisory Board, and the TxMI Speaker Series. Before joining the Population Research Center, Matthew worked for the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP) and helped to manage their summer academic programs in several states.
Alison Hageman is a Senior Research Program Coordinator working with Dr. Chandra Muller and Dr. David Yeager. She attended The University of Kansas for undergraduate studies, earning a degree in Psychology with a minor in Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Methodologies. Alison received a Master’s in Social Work from The University of Missouri – Kansas City. She coordinates study activities for TxBSPI and assists with the logistics and operations of several studies. Before joining the Population Research Center, she coordinated infant/maternal health studies and STEM research projects in the Kansas City Metro area.
Eunjin Seo is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Research Center and the Department of Psychology. Dr. Seo received her B.A. and M.A. in Education from Seoul National University, M.Ed. in Quantitative Methods, and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Seo’s research examines youth’s beliefs about themselves as psychological antecedents of educational achievement and school adjustment. Her research often utilizes a daily diary and a large-scale longitudinal design to reveal the complex nature of students’ motivation and emotions.
Eric Smith is a postdoctoral fellow in the Population Research Center at UT Austin. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Stanford University. Dr. Smith’s research examines how students’ perceptions of teachers can promote identity safety and motivation and the role teachers can play in boosting the effectiveness of social-psychological interventions. One current line of research examines how instructors can provide messages of broad regard—communicating that multiple dimensions of a student’s identity are acknowledged, welcomed, and valued—to promote academic success.
Kyle Dobson received his Ph.D. in Management & Organizations from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Dr. Dobson studies how we view ourselves and connect with others, focusing on authenticity, feeling human, relationships, and empathy. His work on organizations is primarily with the police but has expanded to schools and other organizations. With police, he studies how police view themselves and how this affects the way they connect with others. With schools and other organizations, he studies how teachers and other leaders can create supportive environments that encourage people to bring who they are into these contexts.
Cameron A. Hecht, Ph.D., is an NSF postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin in the Population Research Center. He conducts laboratory and field experiments to understand the motivational dynamics influencing students’ engagement, interest, and performance in academic contexts. He also tests interventions designed to enhance motivation and remove psychological barriers in these settings. In his research, Dr. Hecht examines how social-psychological interventions can promote equitable outcomes, examining the mechanisms that explain these effects and evaluating whether and how these effects persist over time. He also studies the contextual factors that amplify or reduce the impact of these interventions. He earned his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020, his MA in the social sciences from the University of Chicago in 2013, and his BA in philosophy from the University of Vermont in 2012.
Fortunato (Nick) Medrano is a Ph.D. student in the Developmental Area in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.S. in Psychology and Education & Social Policy from Northwestern University. His research interest center around the developmental mechanisms during adolescence that promote positive/negative trajectories; specifically, he is interested in the ideas of respect and status and how they relate to behavior change. His research takes a broad methodological approach, utilizing large representative surveys, daily diaries, interviews/focus groups, physiological measures, and experimental interventions. His current work focuses on how respectful contexts can promote adolescent behavior change and moderate intervention treatment effects, how educators can create these respectful contexts, and how developmental mechanisms interact with these contexts.
Molly Kudym, MA, is a current Ph.D. student in the Sociology Department and PRC trainee at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a former RA involved with developing deliverables from the National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM). As a former psychology undergraduate student with vital interests in social psychology and interdisciplinary research, Molly’s primary research agenda focuses on the relationship between teacher beliefs and their practices and student perceptions of teachers’ mindsets through teaching practices in math and science courses. Her proposed dissertation research uses data from the Texas Mindset Initiative (TxMI) fellowship, which includes one-on-one faculty discussions of change practices used in introductory CNS courses and student open-ended survey responses from multiple timepoints across either the fall of 2020 or spring of 2021, depending on when their instructor was part of the fellowship. She is interested in how instructors interpret inclusive teaching practices through their own words and the role of constraints in that interpretation process. Additionally, this work will illuminate student experiences with inclusive teaching practices and what practices or pedagogical strategies are relevant to their experiences of inclusivity in the introductory classroom.
Mac Clapper is a current post-baccalaureate fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. They graduated with their BA in Psychology and English from UT Austin in May 2021. Their current research interests include teacher-student relationships, adolescent development, mindset research, and classroom dynamics and culture. Their current work focuses on practical psychology, where they have helped create, adapt, and implement interventions across numerous fields. They have worked in labs in education, psychology, and population research departments. Because of this, they value the importance of interdisciplinary work. Mac likes to do fiber arts, cook, and write in their free time.
Michaela Jones is a postbaccalaureate fellow at the University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center. In May of 2021, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s studies from Loyola University in New Orleans. During her undergrad, she was an active member of her campus community through her work within various organizations. Her research interests focus on mental health stigmas within the Black community and broadly within communities of color. Through her research, she aims to encourage more people of color to receive mental healthcare and improve access to and the quality of the care being administered.
Jamie Turcios-Villalta is a post-baccalaureate fellow with TxBSPI at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a first-generation Latina who immigrated to the United States with her Salvadoran parents at the age of two. Jamie graduated with special honors from UT Austin with a B.A in Health and Society and a minor in Government. Her research interests include the intersection of immigration-related stressors and health disparities, migration and U.S intervention, the production of illegality, immigration policies and the educational trajectories of undocumented students, and suicidality and eating disorders among racial and ethnic minorities. Her work is inspired by the immigrant families and students she’s had the privilege of working with and her own family’s experiences with immigration. Jamie also dedicates much of her time to supporting and advocating for undocumented college students through her involvement with an immigration organization. Her goal is to advance solutions to challenge today’s educational, racial, and health inequities. She enjoys running around Lady Bird Lake, cooking plant-based meals, and exploring new hiking trails in her free time.
Nirel Jones Mitchell is a researcher, writer, and artist who studies freedom. She is interested in getting survivors of abuse the resources to heal and fight against abuse in society. Thus, she is invested in de-gentrification movements, abolishing involuntary psychiatric confinement, and developing ways for communities to respond to suicide crises without the police. She is a Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, asking the question: how can folks heal from trauma in a way that equips them to fight the state instead of function within it? She is a Bay Area-type perfectionist and a Los Angeles-type dreamer and has always been more interested in “what could be” as opposed to “what should be” or “what is.” When she isn’t reading, she wanders into coffee shops around the world, laughing loudly, dancing in the community, expressing gratitude, or listening to a radical elder talk somewhere.