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Stephanie M. Jones, Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development, Director of EASEL Lab, Harvard University

Stephanie M. Jones

Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development, Director of EASEL Lab, Harvard University

Stephanie M. Jones is the Gerald S. Lesser Professor of Child Development and Education in the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Her research, anchored in prevention science, focuses on the effects of poverty and exposure to violence on children and youth’s social, emotional, and behavioral development.

Over the last ten years her work has focused on evaluation research addressing the impact of preschool and elementary focused social-emotional learning interventions on behavioral and academic outcomes and classroom practices; as well as new curriculum development, implementation, and testing. Jones’ research portfolio emphasizes the importance of conducting rigorous scientific research, including program evaluation, that also results in accessible content for early and middle childhood practitioners and policymakers.

Her developmental and experimental research investigates the causes and consequences of social-emotional problems and competencies; strategies for altering the pathways that shape children’s social-emotional development; and programs, interventions, and pedagogy that foster social-emotional competencies among children, adults, and environments. Jones has conducted numerous evaluations of programs and early education efforts, including Reading, Writing, Respect and Resolution, Resolving Conflict Creatively, SECURe, and the Head Start CARES initiative.

In 2002, she received her doctorate in developmental psychology from Yale University, where she trained with Edward Zigler and Alice Carter. Previously, she worked as a Research Associate at Columbia University’s National Center for Children in Poverty. Jones serves on numerous national advisory boards and expert consultant groups related to social and emotional development and child and family anti-poverty policies, including the National Board of Engaging Schools. She was awarded the 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Education for her work with Zigler and Walter Gilliam on A Vision for Universal Preschool Education, published by Cambridge University Press.

In 2013, Jones received the Joseph E. Zins Early-Career Distinguished Contribution Award for Action Research in Social and Emotional Learning, which recognizes the efforts of outstanding contributors in advancing social emotional learning research and expanding evidence-based practice. She was co-editor of the 2018 issue of Future of Children focused on social and emotional learning and is a member of the Council of Distinguished Scientists for the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development convened by the Aspen Institute.

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