Steering Committee


Carrie Clark

Carrie Clark

Associate Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

241 TEAC 402-472-2248 caron.clark@unl.edu

Biography

Carrie Clark


Carrie Clark’s current research is focused on the development of executive function and self-regulation, particularly in early childhood. She is interested in the implications of socio-familial and perinatal risk for self-regulation and in the links between executive function and academic achievement. She uses neuropsychological testing, neuroimaging and physiological methods in her research.

Full Bio
Lisa Franzen-Castle

Lisa Franzen-Castle

Associate Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

119A LEV 402-472-7645 lfranzen2@unl.edu

Biography
Matthew Gormley

Matthew Gormley

Assistant Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

232 TEAC 402-472-1016 mgormley2@unl.edu

Biography

Matthew Gormley


Matthew Gormley's research focuses on students at-risk for, or diagnosed with, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I am specifically interested in interventions that build collaboration between families, schools, and healthcare settings to support these students across their academic careers (e.g., elementary, secondary, and post-secondary).

Full Bio
Soo-Young Hong

Soo-Young Hong

Associate Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

241.1 LPH 402-472-3877 shong5@unl.edu

Biography

Soo-Young Hong


Soo-Young Hong focuses on EC professional development in science education and preschool inclusion. She is interested in studying effective ways to engage teachers and children in science learning, and promoting children’s acceptance of peers with disabilities and their teachers’ understanding of children with different levels of abilities.

Full Bio
Megan Kelley

Megan Kelley

Assistant Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

119B LEV 402-472-7116 megan.kelley@unl.edu

Biography
Susan Loveall

Susan Loveall

Assistant Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

355 BKC 402-472-3778 sloveall-hague2@unl.edu

Biography

Susan Loveall


Susan Loveall's interests involve research on learning and cognitive processes of both typically developing children and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the lifespan. Her current research focuses on reading skills, as well as learning and language in these populations.

Full Bio
Amy Napoli

Amy Napoli

Assistant Professor & Early Childhood Extension Specialist University of Nebraska–Lincoln

231K.1 LPH 402-472-9345 amynapoli@unl.edu

Biography

Amy Napoli


Amy Napoli’s research and extension work focuses on four broad areas:

  • Early childhood education
  • Numeracy development
  • Home learning environments
  • Intervention development and evaluation

She is also interested in the ways that we can use technology (e.g., text messaging) as a tool for delivering programs and supporting caregivers and educators. Amy is currently focusing on developing a home numeracy environment intervention for parents of preschool-aged children. The ultimate goal of her research and extension work is to determine ways to best support parents, care providers, and educators of young children in order to improve child outcomes.

Full Bio
Timothy Nelson

Timothy Nelson

Associate Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

319 BURN 402-472-7707 tnelson3@unl.edu

Biography

Timothy Nelson


Dr. Nelson received his Ph.D. in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas in 2008 following a clinical internship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He subsequently completed his post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric psychology in the Stanford University School of Medicine before joining the UNL faculty in 2009. He has served as the Associate Director of Clinical Training at UNL since 2012.

Full Bio
Anne Schutte

Anne Schutte

Associate Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

B81 STE 402-472-1840 aschutte2@unl.edu

Biography

Anne Schutte


Anne Schutte's research focuses on cognitive development in early childhood. She is interested in the role of experience in the development of spatial cognition, examining the development of spatial working memory in early childhood and which experiences influence its development. She is also interested in developmental changes in the neural underpinnings of spatial working memory, using the dynamic field theory in her research.

Full Bio
Amanda Thomas

Amanda Thomas

Assistant Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

214A HENZ 402-472-3347 amanda.thomas@unl.edu

Biography
Stephanie Wessels

Stephanie Wessels

Associate Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

61C HENZ 402-472-2231 swessels2@unl.edu

Biography

Stephanie Wessels


Stephanie Wessels’ coursework, research, and teaching has focused on literacy development for young second language readers for the past several years.

Full Bio

Advisory Board


Danae Dinkel

Danae Dinkel

Assistant Professor University of Nebraska Omaha

207Q HPER 402-554-3259 dmdinkel@unomaha.edu

Biography

Danae Dinkel


Danae Dinkel is passionate about developing and evaluating evidence-based physical activity programs, as well as identifying factors that impact children’s ability to live a physically active lifestyle. Her research interests are physical activity promotion in underserved populations, community-based initiatives for improving physical activity and the impact of physical activity on motor and cognitive skills development.

Full Bio
Kate Gallagher

Kate Gallagher

Director of Research and Evaluation Buffett Early Childhood Institute

BECI 402-554-6505 kgallagher@nebraska.edu

Biography

Kate Gallagher


Kate Gallagher’s work focuses on developing applied research and evaluation studies involving children from birth to Grade 3, their families and the early childhood professionals who care for and teach young children. Gallagher has more than 30 years’ experience as an early childhood professional and educational psychologist, including teaching, home visiting and leading early childhood programs in early intervention and inclusive preschools.

Full Bio
Jolene Johnson

Jolene Johnson

Associate Professor and Assistant Professor University of Nebraska Medical Center

Munroe-Meyer Institute 402-559-5723 jolene.johnson@unmc.edu

Biography

Jolene Johnson


Dr. Jolene Johnson is an Associate Director and Assistant Professor for the Department of Education and Child Development. Dr. Johnson has extensive experience in program evaluation and is the current principal investigator for multiple projects including the current State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) for Nebraska, Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, encompassing 11 school districts including Omaha Public Schools. Additionally, she is the principal investigator for a three-year grant examining executive function, early science practices, and social-emotional practices across 13 national high-quality early childhood sites.

Full Bio
Lisa Kelly-Vance

Lisa Kelly-Vance

Professor and Director University of Nebraska Omaha

347R ASH 402-554-3563 lkelly-vance@unomaha.edu

Biography

Lisa Kelly-Vance


Lisa Kelly-Vance began her career as a school psychologist in Council Bluffs, Iowa, serving children birth through 21 and leading the early RTI initiatives. She is a Professor of School Psychology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and serves as the program director. Her research and applied interests are assessment and interventions with preschool children in the context of play, mental health in early childhood, school-based academic and social interventions, prevention, and self-care. She is the Past President of the National Association of School Psychologists and her theme was “Unlock Potential: Prevention Is Key.”

Full Bio
Lisa Knoche

Lisa Knoche

Research Associate Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

238 TEAC 402-472-4821 lknoche2@unl.edu

Biography

Lisa Knoche


Lisa Knoche develops, implements and evaluates early childhood intervention and prevention programming. She works closely with researchers and community partners to develop research proposals and implement investigations. Her role includes research administration, data management and analyses, as well as research dissemination. Knoche also directs CYFS' Nebraska Academy for Early Childhood Research.

Full Bio
Philip Lai

Philip Lai

Assistant Professor University of Nebraska at Kearney

B141 COE 308-865-8306 laipt@unk.edu

Biography

Philip Lai


Philip Lai conducts research in the areas of social development, executive function and cognitive development in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders. He investigates both verbal as well as nonverbal communication during social interactions.

Full Bio
Dawn Mollenkopf

Dawn Mollenkopf

Associate Professor University of Nebraska at Kearney

B188 COE 308-865-8362 mollenkopfdl@unk.edu

Biography

Dawn Mollenkopf


Dawn Mollenkopf directs the Early Childhood Unified program and also teaches the Early Childhood specialization in the Curriculum and Instruction Master's program. She has been an active participant in committees focused on policies affecting young children and their families.

Full Bio
Amy Napoli

Amy Napoli

Assistant Professor & Early Childhood Extension Specialist University of Nebraska–Lincoln

231K.1 LPH 402-472-2957 amynapoli@unl.edu

Biography

Amy Napoli


Amy Napoli’s research and Extension work focus on supporting parents and childcare providers in developing high-quality learning environments for young children, particularly in the area of math. She is also a specialist with the Early Childhood Extensioin team, where she is active in disseminating research findings and developing and delivering professional development training.

Full Bio
Abbie Raikes

Abbie Raikes

Associate Professor University of Nebraska Medical Center

984365 Nebraska Medical Center 402-559-4325 abbie.raikes@unmc.edu

Biography

Abbie Raikes


Abbie Raikes’ research focuses on early childhood development in high-risk contexts. Her research integrates developmental science with epidemiological methods to measure children’s development across populations. Her work is reflective of many environmental and biological units, and works across various sectors in public health and education.

Full Bio
Anne Schutte

Anne Schutte

Associate Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

B81 STE 402-472-1840 aschutte2@unl.edu

Biography

Anne Schutte


Anne Schutte's research focuses on cognitive development in early childhood. She is interested in the role of experience in the development of spatial cognition, examining the development of spatial working memory in early childhood and which experiences influence its development. She is also interested in developmental changes in the neural underpinnings of spatial working memory, using the dynamic field theory in her research.

Full Bio
Greg Welch

Greg Welch

Associate Director, Research & Evaluation Buffett Early Childhood Institute

2111 S. 67th St., Suite 350 — Omaha, Nebraska 402-554-2211 gwelch@nebraska.edu

Biography

Greg Welch


Greg Welch works with Buffett Institute staff to expand and implement the Institute’s research agenda with particular focus on its two signature programs: the Achievement Gap Challenge and Early Childhood Workforce Development.

Full Bio

Personnel


Lisa Knoche

Lisa Knoche

Research Associate Professor University of Nebraska–Lincoln

238 TEAC 402-472-4821 lknoche2@unl.edu

Biography

Lisa Knoche


Lisa Knoche develops, implements and evaluates early childhood intervention and prevention programming. She works closely with researchers and community partners to develop research proposals and implement investigations. Her role includes research administration, data management and analyses, as well as research dissemination. Knoche also directs CYFS' Nebraska Academy for Early Childhood Research.

Full Bio
Sommer Fousek

Sommer Fousek

Project Manager University of Nebraska–Lincoln

sfousek2@unl.edu

Biography

Sommer Fousek


Sommer Fousek is the project manager for the Coaching in Early Intervention project, which aims to develop and refine an early childhood coaching model to increase the use of evidence-based practices among early intervention personnel and improve outcomes for infants and toddlers with disabilities. She serves as the project manager for the Nebraska Academy for Early Childhood Research (NAECR). NAECR provides resources and supports to early childhood researchers across the University of Nebraska system and encourages interdisciplinary collaboration. Fousek also supports the Early Learning Network Lead project. She earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.