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People of the SEDL

Abby Lavine


Doctoral student, Department of Psychology

Abby’s research interests focus on early prosocial motivation and the origins of individual differences in helping, sharing, and empathic responding.  She is also interested in the intersection of developmental science and public policy.

Abby Winer


Senior Researcher, Learning Policy Institute

2013 Ph.D., Human Ecology

Abby’s research focuses on prosocial motivation in preschool children, especially the influence of parent-child conversation in guiding young children’s representations of other people and their needs.  She is also interested in bringing developmental science to the attention of practitioners who work with young children and their families.  During her work in the lab, Abby also worked as a Child Development Technical Writer for WestEd in Sausalito, CA.


Sara Waters

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Washington State University, Vancouver

2012 Ph.D., Human Development

Sara is investigating the psychobiological processes involved in the dyadic nature of emotion regulation socialization in mothers and infants.  In her work in the lab, Sara’s research also focused on the development of emotion understanding and the understanding of emotion regulation in preschool and primary grade children.  After her Ph.D. at UC Davis, Sara was a postdoctoral research scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, working with Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes in the Emotion Health and Psychophysiology Lab.


Emily Newton


Senior Research Associate, WestEd

2012 Ph.D., Psychology

Emily’s research focuses on the origins of individual differences in helping, sharing, empathy, and cooperation in toddlers, and its association with the quality of mother-child interaction.  She is particularly interested in how mothers socialize their toddlers to be aware of their own and others’ emotions and feelings.


Miranda Goodman


Assistant Professor of Psychology, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL

2012 Ph.D., Psychology

Miranda’s research is devoted to understanding children’s attachment relationships with their caregivers, particularly in the context of at-risk families.  Her work has also focused on the influence of infant social referencing behavior and the role it may play in the intergenerational transmission of affective symptomatology from parent to child.


Elita Amini Virmani

Associate Professor, Early Childhood Studies, Sonoma State University

2009 Ph.D., Human Development

Elita’s work includes a variety of projects designed to enhance the quality of early childhood education at WestEd, where she is Director of the Program for Infant/Toddler Care Home Visiting Institutes, funded by the Early Head Start National Resource Center.  Her research interests also focus on the effectiveness of early childhood mental health consultation for teachers working with at-risk preschoolers.


Sara Meyer

Deputy Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2008 Ph.D., Psychology

Sara contributes to the management of research initiatives related to child and youth development at the Gates Foundation.  In her work in our lab, Sara was primarily interested in the development of emotion regulation in preschool children, and especially the influence of maternal socialization processes through parents’ emotional expressivity and communication.


Shannon Lipscomb

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences,
Oregon State University-Cascades, Bend, OR

2007 Ph.D., Human Development

Shannon’s research focuses on the development of school readiness, and the influences of children’s experiences at home, child care, and early education settings to the development of the academic and social-emotional skills important to school readiness.  Her work also focuses on the development of self-regulation and on vulnerable populations of children, including those involved in the child welfare system.


Rebecca Goodvin

Senior Research Associate, Washington State Institute for Public Policy

2007 Ph.D., Psychology (University of Nebraska); postdoc with SEDL

Rebecca’s research is focused on how young children develop self-awareness of their behaviors, emotions, and personality characteristics and the influence of parent-child interaction and relationships in their self-understanding.


Abbie Raikes

Associate Professor, Director of Global Early Childhood Development, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center

2005 Ph.D., Psychology (University of Nebraska); postdoc with SEDL

At UNESCO, Abbie provides policy, advocacy, and technical advice on programs and policies to promote healthy development in young children, with an emphasis on partnership with other UN agencies and nonprofits.  In her work in our lab, Abbie was concerned with the development of children’s social representations, and especially how they are influenced by maternal depression and growing up in poverty.



Deborah Laible
Associate Professor of Psychology, Lehigh University

Lenna Ontai
Associate Specialist in Cooperative Extension, Dept. of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis

Rebecca Hendrix
Associate Professor, Dept. of Behavioral Sciences, Northwest Missouri State University

Byron Zamboanga
Associate Professor of Psychology, Smith College