Megan Applegate

Megan Applegate

Megan received her BA in childhood studies, as well as receiving a double minor in sociology & psychology from Rutgers University-Camden in 2015 before returning to her alma mater to work on her master’s degree in childhood studies. She is set to graduate in 2018. Her interest for her master’s thesis is to research the dynamics of children’s hospitals across the country and see how they use their online websites to promote their nationally ranked hospitals to parents around the world.

Ryan Bunch

Ryan Bunch

Ryan Bunch’s interests are in music, theater, film, and other media related to childhood and youth. His recent work has engaged with the meanings of narrative, affect, music, animation, nostalgia, and vocal/embodied performance in the representation and participation of young people in musicals and popular culture. His research on stage and screen musicals adapted from The Wizard of Oz appears in the journal Studies in Musical Theatre, and his forthcoming publications include chapters on Disney films, Schoolhouse Rock, NBC’s live musical broadcasts, The Sound of Music, and Sesame Street. Ryan’s work further draws upon his past experiences as a puppeteer, music director, writer, composer, and vocal coach for community and youth theater. With a degree in historical musicology from the University of Maryland, Ryan has taught courses in music at Temple University, the Community College of Philadelphia, and Holy Family University. He currently teaches vocal performance in the Fine Arts Department at Rutgers-Camden.

Julian Burton

burtonJulian Burton

Julian is a former teacher who has traveled extensively and worked with children in eight countries since completing his undergraduate studies in teaching and anthropology. During his time abroad he also completed his master’s in educational psychology with a focus on talent development. His research interest include children’s rights, children’s media cultures, children’s participation in the arts, and student-centered educational reform. His dissertation work is a cyberethnographic study of social commentary discourse and political engagement within youth spaces online, particularly those primarily devoted to media fandom.

Patrick Cox

coxPatrick Cox

Patrick Cox is Vice-President of H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online where he builds and edits open-access digital-first academic publications. He sits on the Editorial Board of the journal Global Studies of Childhood. Patrick is also a Museum Researcher at the Science Museum of Minnesota where he studies the efficacy of using YA literature to engage youth in STEM.

He lives in bucolic Minnesota with his wife, Dr. Vania Brightman Cox, and their two extraordinary children Finn and Leo.

His research interests include children’s literature, informal education, and children’s digital culture within the context of 20th and 21st century American culture. His dissertation is on representations of American childhood in the influential children’s magazine Highlights for Children, especially on the subversiveness and deviance within the mainstream publication’s seemingly normative representation of childhood.More about Patrick’s work can be found at

Vibiana B. Cvetkovic

VibVibiana 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.

Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer holds a BA (Hons) from Middlesex University in London and a MSc in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics. Her thesis at the LSE focused on alternative political discourse and the advent of entertainment news.

Most recently, Jennifer has been teaching middle school in Las Vegas, NV and has previous experience teaching in Newark, NJ.

Jennifer is interested in the foster care system, parenting children through trauma, traumatic childhoods and neonatal abstinence syndrome. A former foster parent and adoptive mother, Jennifer hopes to focus her research in a way that can help others navigate the complicated world of parenting in a non-traditional family.

Kacey Doran

Kacey Doran

Kacey Doran studies American culture and visual media for children at Rutgers-Camden’s Childhood Studies doctoral program. Specifically, she investigates cross-medium adaptations present in modern American children’s media following their mythological and folkloric origins to their current technological incarnations. Kacey’s other research interests within the field of Childhood Studies include Scandinavian, Welsh-Celtic, and various European fairy tales, mythologies, legends, and folkloric traditions. Her interests outside of the field include queer theory and analytical art philosophy. Her master’s thesis “The Claimed American, the Ignored Immigrant: Superman and What It Means to be American” explores a glaring, yet often overlooked, aspect of America’s first superhero. Kacey’s conference paper discussing Wreck-It Ralph, video games, and their impact on children’s film is being considered for publication by the Children’s Literature Journal. Kacey graduated from the Children’s Literature M.A. program at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

Katie Fredricks

KFredricksKatie Fredricks

Katie Fredricks received her BA and MA in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee as well as an interdisciplinary certificate in Childhood and Adolescence Studies. Her master’s thesis was a content analysis comparing racial representations between two television programs popular among pre-school aged audiences.

Her areas of interest include qualitative research methods and the influence of media in the lives of children and adolescents in the United States, specifically television’s role in the development of racial and ethnic identity, children’s understandings about race, and the dissemination of colorblind ideology.

Diana Garcia

foto-dcggDiana Garcia

Diana Carolina García has a BA in Political Science with a Minor in Political Participation and Communication from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana – Bogotá, Colombia. She also has a MA in Cognition and Communication from the University of Copenhagen.

She is interested in the different process in which Global South governments are trying to close the social and the technological gap and understanding the purposes of such initiatives. Her interests lie in Digital Communication, Children and Media, Children’s Media Usage and Culture, among others.

Amy Henry

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.

Smruthi Bala Kannan

smruthiSmruthi Bala Kannan

Smruthi has an integrated MA in English Studies with a minor in Economics from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. She is a Young India Fellow 2014. She has worked with schools in South India in different capacities including on monitoring education policy implementation, storytelling, remedial teacher support, and teacher workshops on classroom strategy.

She is interested in observing the experience of being a child in post-colonial situations. Studying language, culture, and ability in these contexts, she is curious about the gap between schools and the communities they serve in terms of their aspirations for the child.

Eva Lupold

Eva Lupold

Eva Lupold holds her 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.

Her research interests include health and disability studies, children’s and young adult literature, Nineteenth-Century or Victorian literature, girlhood and gender studies, life writing, and new media/digital studies. She is interested in the construction of health narratives, particularly the illness narratives of youth or young women, and as a result her work is often interdisciplinary. More about Eva’s work can be found at:

Ellen Malven

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.

Mary Mitsdarffer

maryMary Mitsdarffer

Mary Louise Mitsdarffer holds a masters degree in Public Health from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and a bachelors in Kinesiology from Temple University. While completing her masters Mitsdarffer began working in Camden, NJ to help increase food access, nutrition education, and youth leadership development through community health initiatives. Mitsdarffer’s past research has largely focused on the built environment and youth interventions, specifically around urban gardening and active transport programs. Her research interests are place-based health disparities and ethnic minority youth, social capital, and active transport and the built environment.

Theresa Murzyn

Theresa Murzyn

Theresa Murzyn’s research interests include interpersonal rejection (particularly among peers), self-esteem, personality development, and personality change.  Her dissertation research will explore the effect that past experiences of rejection have on how youth perceive and behave in social situations.

Theresa graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with a BS in film production and pursued graduate work in anthropology at the University of Maryland.  She is a member of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), Association for Research in Personality (ARP), and International Society for Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection (ISIPAR).

Rosemarie Peña

Rosemarie Pena - Rutgers Childhood Studies Graduate StudentRosemarie Peña

Rosemarie Peña holds an MA in Childhood Studies and BAs in Psychology and German from Rutgers University-Camden. She is also the founding president of the Black German Heritage and Research Association (BGHRA).

Rosemarie’s research explores the historical and contemporary intersections of international adoption and migration. She is also interested in visual, filmic, and literary portrayals of international adoption.

Rosemarie has delivered keynotes and conference presentations internationally on the postwar adoptions of Afro-German children, and is an active member of a number of academic organizations. Among these are the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture, and International Association for the Study of German Politics.

Rosemarie is published in Adoption & Culture: The Interdisciplinary Journal of the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture, and most recently, her chapter essay in German translation, in Kinder Der Befreiung: Transatlantische Erfahrungen Und Perspektiven Schwarzer Deutscher Der Nachkriegsgeneration.

Matthew B. Prickett

2015-09-11 13.13.22Matthew B. Prickett

Matt 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, chaired the Visions and Voices of Childhood Graduate Student Conference, and served on the Article Award Committee of the Children’s Literature Association.  

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 spaces. Matthew’s dissertation focuses on the place of children in two religious groups of the 19th Century, the Oneida Community and the Mormons. 

Ana Puchau de Lecea

Ana PdL - Profile PicAna Puchau de Lecea

Ana Puchau de Lecea holds a BA in Hispanic Philology from the Autonomous University of Madrid, an MA in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from the University of Barcelona and an MA in Hispanic Studies from Villanova University. She was awarded the Villanova University Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship in 2014 for her project “From the Girls’ Voice: A New Vision of Contemporary Spain.”

Her professional experience includes teaching Spanish at Villanova University during her time there as an MA student, a Spanish Teaching Assistantship at Oberlin College and an internship at the Linguistics Certification Department at the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid. She has worked and conducted research in the National Library of Spain and the British Library.

Ana volunteers as a tutor for young Spanish heritage speakers in Bryn Mawr and South Philadelphia. Her current research interests include: Literature, Girlhood, Psychology, Creativity, Education and Children’s rights.

Lisa Puga

LisaLisa Puga

Lisa’s experience as a Teach for America corps member and involvement with various nonprofit groups exposed her to educational inequities that motivated her passion for reform. Lisa’s interests in the fast-growing alternative education movements across the country – particularly democratic schooling, homeschooling, and unschooling – shed insight into various spaces of learning as they intersect with socioeconomic privilege and racial access.

Lisa’s research involves how the spatial processes across both traditional and alternative education settings influence [and become influenced by] youth identities.



Rashmi received her M.A in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics, Universty of Delhi, and an MPhil from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She has worked with young adults especially girls in a variety of conflict zones including the Maoist conflict zone of Bastar, India. Taking her research forward, her current research interests are in exploring gendered childhoods in a conflict zone.

Heather Reel

heatherHeather Reel

Heather Reel holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in African American Studies from Wesleyan University.  Prior to beginning graduate education, she spent several years working in pediatric clinical research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Kidney & Urology Foundation of America. 

Her research interests include histories of childhood health and disease; childhood and the body; motherhood studies; intellectual and cultural histories of trauma; and African American childhoods.

Janene Ryan

Janene Ryan

A native of Camden, NJ, Janene holds a B.A. from Rutgers-Camden in English with a focus on Creative Writing and Pre-Modern Day Era Literature and a M.S. from Cairn University in Christian Counseling with a concentration in trauma therapy.

Janene is currently employed with the Division of Children and Families (DCF) as an investigator for child abuse and neglect. She holds certifications in Disaster Response Crisis Counseling and Hoarding. Janene is also a self-published author and facilitator for monthly seminars in Camden.

Janene’s research interests include secondary trauma and death in urban communities related to homicide, suicide and terminal illness; childhood trauma related to systemic poverty; childhood trauma within child welfare/foster care structures and cognitive conditioning of the Rap/Hip Hop culture in teens.

Jessica Schriver

Jessica Schriver

Jessica Schriver earned her master’s degree in English from Rutgers-Camden in 2016, completing a thesis that considered the problems of isolated women in literature through sound theory. During her time in the graduate program, Jessica taught English Composition I and II as part of the department’s teaching assistantship program. Her research interests include the mother in literature, post-human theory, and engaging in interactive media to share research.

Jane E. Shattuck

Jane E. Shattuck

Jane E. Shattuck’s writing and research interests include the history of education, the history of religion, children’s literature, and nineteenth-century America. Her dissertation considers the role of the female academy in shaping nineteenth-century New England girlhood. A freelance publishing consultant and award-winning edit

or, Jane holds a B.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and an M.A. in Children’s Literature from Simmons College.

Janice Stiglich

Janice Stiglich - Rutgers Childhood Studies Graduate StudentJanice Stiglich

I received my bachelors and masters in anthropology from the University of Central Florida.  There I did my thesis on domestic worker’s lived experiences and will be tweeking my doctorate to include working girl’s rights in Lima, Peru.  I am interested in working children’s rights, as well as ecofeminism, and am particularly interested in the global status of girls.

Sarah Stone

Sarah Stone

Sarah is from North Carolina where she completed her Bachelor’s degree at UNCW in History. She has her Master’s degree in Childhood Studies focused on Mommyblogs and the way they perform motherhood and present childhood online. Mommyblogs are still a main focus of Sarah’s and she plans to continue that study into her PhD education.

Michelle Lyttle Storrod

Michelle Lyttle Storrod

Michelle gained a BA in Sociology from the University of Birmingham and a MSc in Children Youth and International Development from Birkbeck University of London. Michelle’s Masters research ‘Digital Artefact V’s Digital Fingerprint: An Ethnography of Gangs Online’ has been used to develop the Metropolitan Polices’ Cyber Policy and also training for Officers on how Young People use Social Media. Michelle has been working with victims and offenders of serious youth violence for the last 12 years. She is the Co-Author of the Growing Against Violence curriculum which is the largest evidenced based violence prevention program in Europe. Michelle has been part of several National research projects and campaigns highlighting experiences of young people who have been victims and/or offenders of Child Sexual Exploitation in the UK. This research led to a change in Policy and training for all professionals working with anyone under the age of 18. Michelle’s research interests are related to peer group offending, gangs, how young people use social media to commit crime and also the normalisation of crime that young people are exposed to online. Michelle is also interested in how children who have experienced trauma and those who commit crimes can be seen within the context of ‘Childhood’.

Deszeree E. Thomas

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.


Brandi J. Venable

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 the history of childhood, themes of food and consumption in children’s and YA literature and media, eating as performance and ritual, collaborative research across disciplines, and digital humanities projects.

Elizabeth Wenhbe

Elizabeth Wehbe

Elizabeth Wehbe is a master’s student with a particular interest in children’s forced migration and humanitarianism with a geographical focus on the MENA region. Prior to enrolling at Rutgers, she worked in corporate social responsibility with a multinational corporation based in Abuja, Nigeria for three years. She has also taught English as a Second Language in Barcelona, Spain and Dumaguete City, Philippines. Elizabeth holds a BA in English Literature and Communication with a minor in Religious Studies from Chestnut Hill College.

In her capacity as a corporate social responsibility consultant, she is currently working on an economic integration program for families displaced by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Samantha White

imageSamantha White

Samantha White received a B.A. in French from Clark Atlanta University and a MEd in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota. She has worked with youth in a variety of settings, including K-12 schools and non-profit organizations. Samantha also has taught English as a Foreign Language in France and Brazil, and currently works with college student athletes on international civic engagement projects.

Her research interests include: Girlhood Studies, Children’s and Young Adult Literature, History of African-American Children and Youth, Children’s Geographies, and Critical Sport Studies. She is interested in the history of African-American girlhood, the physical body, and constructions of health and beauty in early to mid 20th century America.

Elisabeth M. Yang

Elizabeth Yang Rutgers Childhood Studies Graduate StudentElisabeth M. Yang

Elisabeth M. Yang received a B.A. in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University, an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from Biola University and an M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine from Durham University. She has studied at University College London and Oxford and received her CELTA degree from Cambridge University. Her current research interests concern the history and philosophy of developmental psychology, cognitive and moral development of infants, social epistemology, personhood, history of child medicine, early modern history and philosophy, Jansenism and the works of Michael Polanyi.

She is an avid tea and coffee drinker, enjoys theatre, playing the piano, discovering obscure Baroque composers, and strolling the cobble-stoned streets of Philadelphia.