Dr. Rebecca Distefano

October 21, 2021

Rebecca Distefano is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the National Center for Children and Families. Her research focuses on risk and protective processes in the lives of families experiencing homelessness and high mobility. She is particularly interested in the implications of instability on children’s development and the ways that housing policies can best support highly mobile families. In her current position, Rebecca works closely with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development to examine the impacts of affordable housing … read more

Samantha Kearney

August 14, 2020

Samantha Kearney is a doctoral student in Education Policy. Prior to NCCF, Samantha was the Director of Professional Learning, Policy, and Implementation at the New York City Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood Education. Samantha earned a Master’s degree in Urban Education, Policy, and Administration from Loyola Marymount University and a Master’s degree in School Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Samantha’s current research interests include national and international early childhood education policy and early childhood workforce development, … read more

Desi Desmond

August 14, 2020

Desi Desmond is an Ed.D. student in Early Childhood Education Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on the impact of teacher training on equity and access to developmentally appropriate programs in urban pre-kindergarten classrooms. Desi has taught across the early childhood continuum and most recently acts as an Instructional Coordinator in the New York City Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood Education where she provides in-depth, on-site coaching and support to administrators and teachers aimed at … read more

Billy Powers

September 20, 2018

Billy Powers is a Doctoral student in Education Policy at Teachers College, where he has a strong interest in how Early Childhood systems foster (or hinder) innovation and meaningful community engagement. Prior to coming to TC, Billy was a Senior Associate at Sorenson Impact at the University of Utah, where he managed several feasibility studies examining the potential for using outcomes-based financing to expand access to early childhood services. Before Sorenson Impact, Billy taught preschool in a Head Start on … read more

J. David Nugent

September 18, 2017

J. David Nugent is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology. He earned his B.A. at Brandeis University with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Chemistry. He received his M.A. in Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University with a focus on Risk, Resilience and Prevention. Before joining NCCF, he was the project manager at New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University Medical School in the Safe Passage Study – a multi-site project looking at factors that impact behavioral, physiological … read more

Andrea Kent

August 28, 2017

Andrea Kent is an incoming doctoral student studying developmental psychology in the context of early childhood. She received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Rutgers University, and her Master’s in Early Childhood Education from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. Upon graduating with both degrees, Andrea taught preschool at a private school in New Jersey for 2 years, after which she took a job as  a Project Coordinator coordinating research studies at the National Institute for Early Education Research, … read more

Sarah Kim

August 28, 2017

Sarah is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology. She earned her master’s degree in Applied Developmental & Educational Psychology with a focus in Community & Social Justice while attaining a Certificate in International Human Rights & International Social Justice from Boston College and a bachelor’s degree in Human Development (with a minor in Theology and Philosophy) from Boston College. Before coming to NCCF, she has gained diverse experiences in research and program evaluation in the youth development field from direct service … read more

Tiana Moore

August 22, 2017

Tiana Moore is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology. Before coming to NCCF, she attended Stanford University, where she earned her B.A. in Human Biology with a concentration in Children’s Health and Education in Undeserved Communities, and her M.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Poverty and Inequality. While at Stanford, she also served as a Research Assistant in a developmental psycholinguistics lab, conducting research both on-campus and abroad. Her current research interests include examining features of neighborhoods that contribute … read more

Samantha Melvin

August 16, 2016

Samantha Melvin is a doctoral student in Education Policy, focusing on early childhood and family policy. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Science from Wesleyan University. Prior to NCCF, she was the Lab Manager at the Neurocognition, Early Experience, and Development Lab at TC, where she researched the influences of early home and school environments on language and neurocognitive development. Her current research interests include policies surrounding early childhood workforce development and infant/toddler care and … read more