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Contact Information

405-7 Cooper Street
Camden, NJ 08102
(856) 225-6741

Department Chair
Dr. Lynne Vallone

Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Sarada Balagopalan

Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Dr. Susan Miller

Spring 2014 Newsletters

Student Spotlight

We R Rutgers-Camden: Rosemarie Peña

Rosemarie Pena on couch"Now, as a master’s degree student in the Department of Childhood Studies, I am privileged to be a part of an internationally respected, pioneering research program." Read more ...

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Graduate Students

Lisa Archibald

After graduating with a dual Psychology/Philosophy degree from Albright College, Lisa Archibald taught 9th and 11th grade English in Philadelphia as a Teach for America corps member. Through her involvement with various nonprofits and education reform groups, Lisa now researches effective ways to empower teachers and students to generate meaningful change in urban public schools and their communities.

Lisa currently volunteers as a spoken word poetry coach as part of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, a nonprofit organization where high school students compete and collaborate locally to represent voices of change in their community.

Clovis Bergère

Clovis Bergère’s research interests are in emergent urban forms, youth cultures and inventive methods for urban research. His work explores the spontaneous uses of urban space and spans across London, UK and Guinea, West Africa.

His interest in youth and urban life and research also draws on his experience working as a local government manager, and community actor, most notably in children’s play and sports development in London.

Stephen Bernardini

Stephen Bernardini received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University. Simply put, Stephen employs ethnographic/interpretive methods to explore the intersections between queerness (broadly imagined), the Child, and children.

Two of his current projects include an investigation of how children and sexuality can inform ethics and rights discourses and a cyberethnography of virtual communities of queer children and youth.

Leigh-Ann Brown

Leigh-Ann Brown is a third year PhD student with a Bachelor of Arts in International Business/French and a Masters of Arts in Special Education.

Her dedication to students with disabilities and commitment to social justice has led her to research the community experiences of children with differing abilities across populations. Leigh-Ann is particularly interested in the effects of socio-economic status and military life on children with autism.

Julian Burton

Julian is a former teacher who has travelled extensively and worked with children on five continents since completing his dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Social Studies Education and Anthropology. He also holds a Master of Arts in Gifted Education. His research interests center on changing experiences and perceptions of childhood in the early 21st century, and more specifically on how the social concept of the child is being altered through children’s interaction with emerging genres and forms of media. Some of Julian’s work can be found at

Patrick Cox

Patrick Cox is writing his dissertation on the influential children’s magazine Highlights for Children and the addition of new digital media platforms to its previous print format.

His research interests include children’s literature, edutainment, and children’s print, digital, and material cultures.

More about Patrick’s work can be found at

Vibiana B. Cvetkovic

Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic is is library faculty at the Rutgers-Camden Paul Robeson Library, Rutgers University.

Her books include The Plagiarism Plague: A Resource Guide and CD-ROM Tutorial for Educators and Librarians (Neal-Schuman, 2004), Scholarly Resources for Children and Childhood Studies: A Research Guide and Annotated Bibliography (Scarecrow Press, 2007), and Teaching Generation M (Neal-Schuman, 2009), and Stop Plagiarism: A Guide to Understanding and Prevention (Neal-Schuman, 2010).  Vibiana’s dissertation research deals with the figure of the host in local children’s television shows.

Anandini Dar

Anandini Dar has received a B.A. Hons. in English Literature from University of Delhi, India, a diploma in Gender, Sexuality, and Diversity Studies and an M.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from La Trobe University, Australia, and continues to nurture an interest in multi-disciplinary inquiry.

Dar’s doctoral research focuses on children’s urban, ethnic, developmental and recreational spaces, South Asian diasporic youth and girl cultures, and the construction of ‘multicultural’ childhoods. She has been the co-recipient of the David K. Sengstack Endowed Fellowship for 2010-2011, and currently teaches her own undergraduate level Introductory course on Childhood Studies at Rutgers-Camden

Jamie Dunaev

Jamie Dunaev received her Bachelor of Arts degree from East Tennessee State University where she majored in Sociology and Anthropology. She has worked with youth across the Rural-Urban spectrum in a variety of capacities, including spending four years working with adolescents in East Tennessee as well as a two years working with youth in North and West Philadelphia. She has also done research on topics concerning youth participation in after-school programs, infant attachment patterns in daycare settings, and urban youth tattooing practices. Her current research interests include adolescent health, rural health, and childhood obesity, and youth identities.

Dianne Fabii

Dianne Fabii is a nationally certified and New Jersey licensed professional counselor who works for Evesham Township Schools, and she also is in private practice in Moorestown, NJ. Her research interests in Childhood Studies stem from her travel and charitable work in southern India, where she has been involved for the last ten years. Dianne is focusing upon the transformation of arranged marriage traditions and practices within Indian-American families in her doctoral dissertation.

Neeta Goel

Neeta Goel has a master’s degree in social work (MSW) and has spent the last 17 years working with children and youth in national and international non-profits.

Her research interests relate to children’s rights, including child protection, and child participation in decision-making.

Amy Henry

Amy Henry holds a Bachelors of Arts in English from Dartmouth College and a Masters of Education in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She has worked in the applied research and consulting field for almost 15 years and has a passion for helping organizations translate an authentic understanding of youth and parents into ideas that can improve their lives. She has conducted research and consulted for media and non-profit organizations including Nickelodeon, Disney, PBS Kids Sprout, Scholastic, National Geographic Society, The American Museum of Natural History, Boy Scouts of America, Common Sense Media and The Joan Ganz Cooney Center. In this program, Amy intends to study the role of youth in social movements and youth as social activists.

Thomas Holmes

Thomas Holmes is CEO and Founder of Powerful Visions, LLC, a holistic educational consulting organization and currently serves as an associate pastoral leader at Beloved Community, Trenton, New Jersey. He recently retired from Rutgers University, on the New Brunswick campus after 27 years in financial aid administration. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers-Newark in the School of Public Affairs and Administration, a Masters in Divinity from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and a B.S. from Rutgers College. As a founding member of the Doulos Agape Group, a not for profit youth empowerment organization, Thomas developed the planning model and wrote the grant proposal for the Asbury Park Middle School “Improve the Odds for Children Project.” He is an active member in Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Upsilon Sigma Chapter in Burlington County. He is an accomplished poet and mobile disc jockey who has a passion for old school music. Through his work in the community with youth from diverse backgrounds and social environments, he realized that many young African American adolescents lacked a vision and a sense of purpose. He discovered the problem: young people were suffering from an identity crisis. To meet this challenging issue, Thomas comes to the Childhood Studies program with a research interest in exploring how social, cultural and spiritual capital, with an Afrocentric and Bourdieurian framework, can influence African American youth identity and resiliency.

Eva Lupold

Eva Lupold holds an M.A. in Literary and Textual Studies from Bowling Green State University and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh with certificates in Children’s Literature and the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

She has previously performed research on cyborgian aspects of childhood and the technophobia inherent in many texts written about children by adults, using posthumanist theories to examine representations of children in adult literature as well as texts for young people. In the past, Eva has been a college composition instructor and has presented research at conferences on the work of Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Mary Borden, Walt Whitman, and Orson Scott Card.

Her current research interests include Modernist and Postcolonial Literature, Children’s and Young Adult Literature, children’s relationship to technology both in dystopian fiction and in the everyday world, the use of tactics and space in cyberia by children, the tensions between children’s online protection and participation rights, and the ways that childism can inform feminism and other identity-based politics.

Ellen Malven

Ellen Malven holds a Masters in English from San Diego State University, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Children’s Literature from Hollins University. Before beginning the Childhood Studies program at Rutgers, Ellen spent three years teaching English composition, and several more years working with school-aged children.

Her research interests (thus far) include youth education and socialization, visual-textual dissonance in children’s literature, children’s media, and body image.

Diane Marano

Diane Marano joined the Childhood Studies program in 2007, after a legal career in the public sector.

Her research interests include adolescent offending and victimization, identity development, and gun acquisition and use by juveniles.

Diane received her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Pennsylvania, and her J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden.

Cyndi Maurer

Cyndi Maurer received her B.S. in Anthropology and B.A. in Psychology from UC Riverside.

Her current research interests are in children’s use of television in daily life and Nickelodeon’s influence in children’s lives. She hopes to begin her dissertation research in Fall 2012.

Jane Shattuck Mayer

Jane Shattuck Mayer ,a graduate of Phillips Academy, Andover, holds a B.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and an M.A. in children’s literature from Simmons College.

Her research interests include the history of education, children’s literature, literacy acquisition, and  nineteenth-century girlhood. Her dissertation considers nineteenth-century girls’ education and the development of children’s authors. 

Ines Meier

Ines Meier is is the co-owner of Smart Apple LLC, an educational consulting firm and holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Psychology from Rutgers-Camden. 

For her dissertation, she is synthesizing the capabilities approach of economist Amartya Sen with analyses of rationality and personhood in social sciences and philosophy in order to develop a new framework to increase children’s opportunities through education.

Marianne Modica

Originally from Queens, New York, Marianne Modica has taught in the education department at Valley Forge Christian College in Phoenixville, PA, for the past 15 years.

She is interested in researching the effects of studying multicultural literature on students’ constructions of race and racial identity.

Theresa Murzyn

Theresa Murzyn , a second-year Ph.D. student, earned her Bachelor of Science in film production and minor in history from Boston University. She has worked for a number of years in the film and television industry as an editor – experience from which she intends to use in her future social science research.

Theresa is now investigating the effect of perceived peer judgment and beliefs on youth identity and value development and has co-authored several articles on moral identity and development. 

She is a recipient of the Rutgers University Presidential Fellowship for 2010 to 2012.

Matthew B. Prickett

Matthew B. Prickett holds a BA, along with a MA, in English from Longwood University and an MA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University. Since beginning his PhD studies in Childhood Studies at Rutgers-Camden, Matthew B. Prickett has presented his research at several conferences, including the Children’s Literature Association’s annual conference and the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Conference.

He has published articles and book chapters on L. M. Montgomery, C. S. Lewis, and Mary Downing Hahn. His research interests include children’s literature, history of childhood and children, and children’s role in the history of religion. Matthew’s dissertation will focus on children and the religious movements of early nineteenth-century America.

Deszeree E. Thomas

Deszeree E. Thomas is the Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Community Based Prevention Services of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services. She manages over 225 city-wide programs delivering services in the areas of family community supports, youth development, violence and deliqnuency prevention, truancy, child and family violence, housing support services, educational support services and out-of-school time. With a special interest in gender specific programming, Deszeree is interested in examining ways to mitigate the public health consequences associated with African American girls’ involvement in intimate relationships by exploring how societal representations of femininity, sexuality and love impact their attitudes and behaviors.

Abigail Todhunter-Reid

With a background in Fine Art and Anthropology as well as 8+ years of working with children in rural Ohio, California, and Spain, Abigail’s interests lie in the ways in which school, neighborhood, and familial contexts effect childhood development. Her current research interests include exploring the ways in which temperamental and genetic traits interact with the environment to create personality and more specifically, exploring how individual strengths can be utilized to mitigate the effects of stress. Abigail intends for her research to inform innovations in education and policy reform.

Brandi J. Venable

Brandi J. Venable received her MA in Popular Culture from Bowling Green State University in 2011 and her BA in Theatre Arts, Dramatic Writing Option from Boise State University in 2006.

She is interested in monsters and in themes of food and consumption in children’s and young adult literature and media.

Nyeema C. Watson

Nyeema C. Watson is is interested in examining historical and contemporary visual images and representations of African-American children, seeking to understanding how African-American children make meaning of such representations.

Her dissertation is tentatively titled, “Reading Camden: Examining the Lives of Children in Camden through African-American Children’s Literature.”

Marc Woods

Marc holds a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Educational Leadership. In the past, Marc has spent 2 years teaching ESL and HIV/AIDS prevention & awareness in Thailand, been a youth social worker in Philadelphia, and a counselor at a youth partial care unit.

His research interests include immigrant youth and how public policies and political discourse influence their identity formation.

Martin Woodside

Martin Woodside holds an MA in English from UC-Davis and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State, where he also specialized in Childrens Literature. He’s written five books for children (Sterling Publishing), a chapbook of poetry, Stationary Landscapes (Pudding House Press), and an anthology of Romanian poetry in translation, Of Gentle Wolves (Calypso Editions), which grew out of his research as a Fulbright Fellow in Romania. 

Martin’s work in the Childhood Studies department chiefly focuses on constructions of boyhood and masculinity in Children’s Literature.