Our Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Ph.D. Graduates

Lidong Xiang (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2023) has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Unviersity of Pittsburgh teaching courses in children’s literature and childhood studies.

Katheleen Kellett (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2023) accepted a position as a lecturer in the School of Humantities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the Steven’s Institute of Technology.

Heather Reel (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2023) has accepted a position as the Teaching Assistant Professor at the Univesrity of Pittsburgh in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, & Womens’ Studies Program.

Smruthi Bala Kannan (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2022) will begin as a postdoctoral scholar at the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Chicago in Fall 2022 as part of a team researching the urban built environment and bicycling in a global multi-city project.

Kacey Doran (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2022) has been appointed Esports Lecturer for Sports Communication and Media in the Journalism Department at Rowan University.

Elisabeth Yang (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2022) has accepted an appointment as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Kilachand Honors College at Boston University where she will teach seminars in the History of Medicine, Childhood Studies, and Health Humanities, participate in service to the Honors College, and continue to advance her research in the history of medical constructions of infant moral agency.

Michelle Lyttle-Storrod (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2021) will be joining Widener University as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice.

Mary Mitsdarffer (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2021) has moved from her post-doctoral position at Lehigh University to Research Assistant Professor in the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware with primary responsibilities in the Center for Community Research and Service (CCRS).

Diana Garcia (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2021) will be joining the faculty of Bridgewater State University as Assistant Professors of Childhood Studies in September 2024.

Rosemarie Pena (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2020) is the president of the Black German Heritage & Research Association.  She is also an adjuct professor for the Department of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies at The University of British Columbia.

Janice Stiglich (Ph.D, Childhood Studies, 2020) is a Community Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) and Inspire Youth Connection (IYC) researcher for Boulder county Public Health.  They are desiging a reseach project that takes a look at substance use with Latinx and LGBTQAI+ youth in Boulder county, CO.  This project is grant-fudned and designed to creat policy to address prevention efforts in often over-looked groups in programming.

Samantha White (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2020) is an assistant professor of sport studies at Manhattanville College. Previously, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at SUNY-Plattsburgh where she taught courses such as African-American sport studies. She is also an alumna of the International Summer School for Sport Researchers at the Universite de Paris Est.

Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2019) is a Librarian Emerita of the Rutgers University Libraries. She is a contributor and technical advisor for The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, a peer-reviewed publication of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers Camden. She also serves on the editorial board of Rowman & Littlefield series Children and Youth in Popular Culture.

Theresa Murzyn (Ph.D., Childhood Studies, 2018) is the Senior User Experience (UX) Researcher at Comcast Headquarters. She also teaches part-time for Rutgers-Camden’s psychology department.

Ellen Malven (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2018) is a Research Coordinator for the Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology at Iowa State University.

Clovis Bergere (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2017) is Assistant Director for Research at the Center for Advanced Studies in Global Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, In August 2021, he will join Northwestern University in Qatar as Assistant Director for Research.

Julian Burton (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2017) lives in Scotland, and is currently Education Officer for the Edinburgh Young Person’s Guarantee, a program that works with universities, employers, and youth work providers across the city to support young people whose education and early careers have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also continues to teach Introduction to Childhood Studies for Rutgers-Camden as an online course.

Abigail Todhunter-Reid (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2017) completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship with the Harvard Strategic Data Project after completing her degree at Rutgers-Camden. As part of her fellowship, she worked with the School District of Palm Beach County to increase the cost-effectiveness of educational programs. She is now working as an education research consultant for a wide range of education and public health non-profits.

Dianne Fabii (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2017) provides school counseling services for the Diocese of Venice in southwest Florida. Currently she works with students from PreK-4 through 12th grades in the Naples area, and serves children, teens and families with diverse needs.  She also works to advance the mission of Catholic education through various fundraising projects.  In addition, she provides remote counseling services through Better Help.  She is working on publishing her research about Indian-American youth and their constructions of the arranged marriage process in the near future.

Stephen Bernardini (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2016) is currently an Organizational and Equity Consultant for the School Climate Transformation Project (SCTP) at the Graduate School for Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. In this role, Stephen consults with over 30 schools in New Jersey to help them collect and analyze data and engage in organizational change management on issues of school climate and culture. He also continues to teach in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University and Wilmington University. Stephen writes and publishes on LGBTQ youth of color, best practices for inclusion and diversity, and visions and voices of children and youth.”

Neeta Goel (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2016) serves as the Senior Evaluation Specialist for the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). 3ie is an international NGO that funds and produces high-quality research in international development. Neeta is a currently the 3ie team lead on a $2.4M grant window designed to generate evidence on the application of behavioral science approaches to address the issue of sanitation.

Jamie Dunaev (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2016) is currently an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Health Sciences Program at Rutgers University, Camden. In addition to teaching, she is continuing to pursue research on stigma, bias, and health.

Leigh-Ann Brown (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2016) is an Assistant Professor of Education at Castleton University in Vermont.  She teaches both general and special education courses to future educators. Now that she has finished, she enjoys hiking the green mountains, learning to snowboard, and living a happy simple life with her husband and two children.

Cyndi Maurer (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2016) specailizes in qualitative and quantitative research methodology in the fields of media, gender, social justice, play theory, and education.  She is currently exploring the role of mediation in health outcomes for young children.  She is an Adjunct Professor in Sociology and Research Associate at the Center for Play Research at Mills College.

Nyeema Watson  (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2015) is the Associate Chancellor for Civic Engagement at Rutgers University—Camden which is focused on connecting the university to communities beyond the campus. Working with community partners, the Office of Civic Engagement supports efforts to meet the challenges facing the host city of Camden, the county, and region through engaged civic learning, volunteerism and service, community-based research, and integrated efforts and partnerships.

Marcus Woods (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2015) teaches at Central City Primary KIPP  school in New Orleans .

Martin Woodside (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2015) anticipates the publication of This River Goes Both Ways, a book of original poetry, in the fall of 2015. Currently teaching in the Philadelphia area, he is working on a book manuscript based on dissertation research about narratives of boyhood and the frontier in the American West.

Anandini Dar (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2014) is Assistant Professor in the School of Education Studies at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD), India. She is also engaged in research projects at the Centre for Early Childhood Education and Care (CECED) at AUD. Her research interests include sociology of childhood; migration, culture, and identity; youth spaces; globalization; children’s geographies and politics, children’s rights, right to education, South Asian diaspora; race and ethnicity; qualitative research methods.

Diane Marano (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2014) is the author of Juvenile Offenders and Guns: Voices behind Gun Violence (Palgrave 2015), which is based on her dissertation research. She has taught part-time at Rutgers Camden since 2014, and continues to serve on youth-serving committees in Camden County.

Marianne Modica (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2014) is Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at University of Valley Forge in Phoenixville, PA. She published an article, “Unpacking the Colorblind Approach: Accusations of Racism at a Friendly, Mixed Race School” with Race Ethnicity and Education in December 2014. Her book, Race Among Friends: Exploring Race in a Suburban School, is scheduled for October 2015 release with Rutgers University Press.

Lara Saguisag (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2013) has been named the Georgiou Chair in Children’s Literature and Literacy at New York University. Previously, she was Associate Professor of English at CUNY College of Staten Island. Her book Incorrigibles and Innocents: Constructing Childhood and Citizenship in Progressive Era Comics (Rutgers University Press, 2018) received the Charles Hatfield Book Prize from the Comics Studies Society and the Ray and Pat Browne Award for Best Single Work by One or More Authors from the Popular Culture Association. Incorrigibles and Innocents was also nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Academic/Scholarly Work. With Matthew B. Prickett, she co-edited The Lion and the Unicorn‘s 2016 special issue on Children’s Rights and Children’s Literature.

Deborah Shine Valentine (PhD Childhood Studies, 2013) has been the Executive Director of Early Care and Education at UCLA since May 2017.  In this role, she provides leadership and oversight for UCLA’s early care and education programs, serving over 500 children of UCLA faculty, staff and students.  On the side, she is a writer and life coach for social justice oriented educators at thriving4equity.com.

Marla Wander (PhD, Childhood Studies, 2013) continues her position as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Camden County College as well as her research involving adolescent decision making and optional HPV vaccination.

MA Graduates

Megan Shupp (MA, Childhood Studies, 2019) is putting her multi-disciplinary degree to work as a training coordinator for a social service agency specializing in foster care, adoption and kinship in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

Angela Randall (MA, Childhood Studies, 2017) is currently a Director of Supportive Housing working at Volunteers of America Delaware Valley. She works to provide housing and supportive services for homeless adults as well as families.

Jessica DePaul (MA, Childhood Studies, 2017) is currently taking the pre-requisites for a MS to become a Physician Assistant.  She plans to use her MA to utilize a preventative perspective for children’s health.  Her end goal is to be able to contribute to a gap in children’s health with an interdisciplinary approach.

Stephanie Contreras (MA, Childhood Studies, 2015) continues her work in social services in Philadelphia.

Sarah Stone (MA, Childhood Studies, 2015) continues her study of mom-blogs and mediated social intimacy as a PhD student in the Department of Childhood Studies.

Doan Vassaf  (MA, Childhood Studies, 2015) works as Teen Leadership Program Coordinator at the Emagination Computer Camps in Boston, MA.

Rosemarie Pena (MA, Childhood Studies, 2014)  continues her work on children, adoption, migration and race as a PhD.

Sarita Espinosa (MA, Childhood Studies, 2013; J.D., 2013) clerks for the Honorable Charles Dortch who is the Presiding Judge of the Family Division of the Camden County Superior Court of New Jersey.

Clinton Connor (MA Childhood Studies, 2012) serves as the Director of Youth Services for the Drueding Center. Clinton leads a staff in the development and implementation of Head Start, Early Childhood Education and Out of School time (afterschool) programming.

Erin Hoesley (MA Childhood Studies, 2012) is a Behavior Therapist for children on the autism spectrum.

Omari Baye (MA, Childhood Studies, 2011) works in Philadelphia as family therapist with children and families deemed at risk for placement/incarceration or children returning home from such placements.

Qiana Cooper (MA, Childhood Studies, 2010) is currently Supervising Family Service Specialist II for the State of New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Denise Holmes (MA, Childhood Studies, 2010) continues her work in the Camden City School system as a teacher making use of her training and research on childhood emotions to turn classroom disruptions into teachable moments. She strives to influence as many students as possible with the proper guidance and instruction on academic and non-academic issues.