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I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Scranton. I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Virginia in 2014, studying how young children learn from pretend play and fictional stories. My primary research focus is understanding how we can leverage children’s interests in play, fiction, and fantasy to teach important academic content as well as help children develop key learning-to-learn skills.



Learning through Play

How can we create environments and activities that are playful but also educational?


Brown University

B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience, with honors

Fiction and Fantasy in Early Childhood

How do young children understand the difference between fiction and reality? How does fantasy affect their ability to learn from fictional media?

Object Use in Pretend Play

How do children use substitute objects in their pretend play? What factors contribute to their ability to understand how others use objects as substitutes?

Scientific Explanations

Why are some explanations more convincing than others? How can we avoid reasoning biases when listening to scientific explanations?


University of Virginia

M.A., Psychology


University of Virginia

Ph.D., Psychology

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