About the Team
Eleanor Brown, PhD
Eleanor Brown, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology at West Chester University, where she directs the Early Childhood Cognition and Emotions Lab (ECCEL). Dr. Brown is internationally recognized for her scholarship on poverty and child development as well as her research on arts’ impact. For the past 15 years, Dr. Brown and the ECCEL Team have partnered with Settlement Music School and other community organizations serving children and families facing poverty and racism to study how family and community strengths as well as psychology, the arts, and mindfulness might be leveraged to mitigate effects of stress and trauma. Dr. Brown’s research has been highlighted as a model by federal governmental agencies, legislators, cultural alliances, and private foundations, as well as organizations such as PBS Kids, and Sesame Workshop and PNC (Grow Up Great).
Dennie Palmer Wolf
Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf is Principal Researcher at WolfBrown and one of the leading arts education researchers and evaluators in the United States. She holds a doctorate from Harvard where she served as a researcher at Project Zero for more than a decade where she led studies on the early development of artistic and symbolic capacities and later focused on design, implementation, and evaluation strategies that help cultural organizations and communities examine and improve how people gain access to learning, culture, and creativity both in and outside of formal institutions. Nationally, Wolf has helped a number of city-wide and regional consortia build coordinated systems that support critical and creative learning for young people in and out of school time, in cities as varied as Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Portland. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, the Buck, Arnold, Carnegie, Mellon, Spencer, and William Penn foundations, and has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and books.
Dr. Steven J. Holochwost is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Lehman College at the City University of New York and Director of Research for Youth & Families at WolfBrown, where he works with programs designed to improve the lives of vulnerable children and youth. His research focuses on the effects of environment, and particularly poverty and parenting, on voluntary forms of self-regulation (e.g., executive functions) in childhood and the involuntary activity of neurophysiological systems that support self-regulatory abilities. This research is directly relevant to his applied work, which examines the efficacy of educational interventions for children in poverty. The common thread running through both these lines of work is the need to understand how poverty impacts child development, and how programs that expand educational opportunities for children can mitigate those effects.
Program Staff and Research Assistants
Edith A. Tettey, MS, LPC, LPCMH
Edith is a first year PsyD student at West Chester University. Edith graduated with her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Georgia State University in 2014. Since then, Edith has been in practice as a licensed professional counselor serving at all levels of care from inpatient psychiatric & outpatient hospitalizations, school-based health centers, and private practice. She is currently licensed in Georgia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania and carries robust experience treating mental disorders among youth and adult populations. Her research interests involve adverse childhood experiences and the impact of toxic stress in minority youth and family functioning. Edith believes research should drive clinical decisions and aims to help broaden evidenced-based approaches lacking cultural applications to minorities and immigrants experiencing trauma and racial bias. She has research experience in conducting cultural conceptualizations linking psychopathology and complex trauma in community-based settings as well as with survey-based studies on mental health engagement and success. Edith’s personal interests include working out, distance running, cooking, baking, and traveling with her family.
My name is Estefania Ortiz. I am a post-baccalaureate ECCEL research fellow. I graduated from West Chester University, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, December 2020. I’ve been in the ECCEL team for two years now, and my current roles include recruiting culturally-diverse preschool students and their caregivers as participants for ECCEL studies, administering individual assessments to preschool participants, conducting caregiver interviews, mentoring and providing guidance to undergraduate research assistants, observationally coding child behavior and emotions, data collection, scoring, and entry. My research interests center around the impact of poverty and racism on children and families, and in the future I hope to continue my studies on child development.
My name is Fola Shokunbi and I’m a second year PsyD student at West Chester University. I received a BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2015 as well as a MT in Secondary Social Studies Education in 2016. My clinical interests are child and adolescent focused and include both treatment and assessment. I am particularly interested in issues concerning executive functioning and ADHD. Prior to enrolling at WCU I held several different research and clinical positions including working in an intensive group home for Boston area children with ages ranging from 7-13 as well as 4 summers at a short-term residential summer camp for children with trauma-based behavioral and emotional disorders. Additionally, I had the opportunity to work for the VCU site of the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development study, a planned 10-year study of substance use and brain development. Within ECCEL, I work primarily at our Coatesville Head Start preschool location where I administer study measures, help collect child cortisol and correspond with some of our preschool teachers. My research interests include examining how executive functioning develops across adolescence into young adulthood, factors leading to negative outcomes, and preventative measures that can be taken to avoid them. Fun fact: I ran track for 2 years while at UVA. Go Hoos!
My name is Shanelle Stovall. I am a first year PsyD student at West Chester university. I received my BA in psychology from Rutgers University, May 2021. I have previously worked in a research lab that focused on language development of bilingual children. I interned at Imani Teen Partial program. This program was designed to provide mental health treatment to non-violent adelescents between the ages of 13-17. My research interest focuses on the impact of socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and stress on child development, trauma, and future aspirations. A fun fact about me is that I know how to play violin, guitar, piano, drums, and harmonica at the beginner level. Also, I won the state championship when I was in 4th grade. I also have two dogs; a Golden Retriever named Mackenzie and a St. Bernard named Leodis.
My name is Suzanne Varnell and I am a second year MS student in Psychology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. My research interests include music and visual art and their effect on social-emotional learning and stress for children facing economic hardship. For ECCEL, I am a research supervisor primarily working remotely for this last year with students in our online set up. My current work includes presenting research, writing manuscripts, and conducting data collection and entry. I also work as a graduate assistant for Dr. Kristen Breit in her lab at WCU and assist with her research on the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol, nicotine, and THC. A fun fact about me is that I love to dance and have taken classes in many styles including ballet, tap, and ballroom. I also graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University in 2019. I realized through my thesis designing an arts center for youth facing economic hardship that I was more interested in the psychology component and wanted to contribute to the research I was finding on the impact of the arts.
My name is Zachary Weaver. I am a third year PsyD student at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. I received my MS in clinical psychology from WCU in December 2020. My clinical interests are child and adolescent populations-focused and include psychotherapy as well as assessment. I am currently completing an externship at Drexel University’s Autism Institute where I conduct psychodiagnostic evaluations with young, neurodiverse children. With ECCEL, I am a research team leader at our Coatesville Head Start preschool location where I administer social-emotional and cognitive functioning measures and collect child cortisol. My research interests include examining how the context of early childhood economic hardship impacts physiological stress and what that means for executive functioning development. A fun fact about me is that I eat, sleep and breathe music, whether that is listening, collecting records or messing around on the guitar, keyboard, or saxophone.
Molly Murphy is a second-year graduate student in the Doctor of Psychology program in Clinical Psychology. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has experience providing counseling to children, adolescents, adults, and families. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from West Chester University and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Rosemont College. Molly has experience working in private practice, non-profit clinical social work, crisis intervention, and educational supervision. Her passion is to provide mental health services and counseling to underserved communities with a focus on self-advocacy, social justice, and the understanding and treatment of trauma. Molly is excited to be a researcher in West Chester University’s Early Childhood Cognition and Emotions Lab (ECCEL) as well as the Research on Equity via the Arts in Childhood (REACH) Lab, and she is currently a Team Leader for The Lullaby Project.
Emma Terrell is pursuing a Master's degree in Arts in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and previously received her Bachelor's in Percussion Performance at Rice University. Her current research interests focus on investigating, designing, and implementing professional development opportunities on culturally-sustaining music education for teaching artists and arts educators. Emma comes to WolfBrown with a unique perspective as a performer, educator, professional development facilitator, and budding arts researcher. Emma is thrilled to join WolfBrown, as she is drawn to the organization's multifaceted approach to helping arts and cultural organizations create effective and relevant educational programs. She is currently working with Dennie Palmer Wolf on Carnegie Hall's Reflections on Resilience project, in partnership with PUBLIQuartet and PlayUSA. In this project, she is documenting different ways in which PlayUSA member sites execute a group creative project and the impact it has on teaching and learning in community music settings. She is also supporting Dennie Palmer Wolf's work with the Philadelphia Lullaby Project, studying the impact of music and play on interactions in young families.
Todd Henkin's life in music has been dedicated to recording and performing original music as well as the use of creativity to connect and strengthen communities. With his band The Great Unknown, he shared bills with notable acts like Dr Dog, Tuneyards, Dawes, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. As a teaching artist he's written songs in classes and homes with immigrants and refugees, international community leaders in Vanderbilt University, and students, recording an album on tour of co-written songs (Other Voices Other Rooms) sponsored by ASCAP. Todd is currently working with Carnegie Hall's celebrated International Lullaby Project as a Teaching Artist and Artist Researcher co-writing/performing songs and researching the benefits of music and songwriting in families with infants.
Technical Working Group
- Angela Guerriero, Assistant Professor of Music Education and Certified Music Therapist, West Chester University
- Iheoma U. Iruka, Research Professor at the Department of Public Policy and Fellow, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
- Girija Kaimal, Associate Professor, Creative Arts Therapies Department, Drexel University
- Adam Winsler, Associate Chair and Professor, Department of Psychology, George Mason University
POLICY, FUNDING, AND FIELD-BUILDING
- Amanda Atkinson, Managing Director of Child Development and Family Services, Public Health Management Corporation
- Dan Berkowitz, Chief Strategy Officer, Neubauer Family Foundation
- James Cupit, Early Childhood Education Field Administrator at The School District of Philadelphia
- Kelly Fisher, Director for Policy, Society for Research in Child Development
- Frank Machos, Executive Director, Office of the Arts, School District of Philadelphia
- Mai Micsik, Early Childhood Education Policy Director, Children First PA
- Rashanda Perryman, Program Officer, Early Childhood Education, Vanguard Foundation
- Elliot Weinbaum, Program Director, William Penn Foundation
- Tarrell Davis, Director of Early Childhood Programs, Settlement Music School
- Sarah Johnson, Chief Education Officer, Carnegie Hall
- Jessica Zweig, Program Director, Play on Philly
WCU STUDENT AND ALUMNI COLLABORATORS
- Mallory Garnett, MA, Clinical Science Doctoral Student, University of Delaware
- Blanca Velazquez-Martin, MA, LPC, Whole Child Home
- Fola Shokunbi, MT, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, WCU
- Molly Murphy, MA, LPC, NCC, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, WCU
- Edith Tettey, MS, LPCMH, LPC, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, WCU
- Shanelle Stovall, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, WCU
- Padmaja Charya, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, WCU
- Suzanne Varnell, MS, Doctoral Student, Purdue University
- Estefania Ortiz, Research Fellow, WCU and WolfBrown