Search Cornell

Student Profiles


Here we highlight some of the students who work on center research projects.

nullCallie Silver
Undergraduate Student
Human Development

Callie Silver (‘16) is a senior human development major with minors in policy analysis and management, law and society, and inequality studies. This past summer, she was chosen as a Cornell Cooperative Extension intern in the BCTR for the project Adolescent Sexual Health in the Digital Age, led by Dr. Janis Whitlock and Dr. Jane Powers. After the summer ended, she continued to work on the project and will continue working with Dr. Whitlock and Dr. Powers during her last semester at Cornell.

Her roles include abstracting sources for literature reviews and grant proposals, facilitating focus groups, helping to create surveys for both adults and college-aged students, and conducting key informant interviews. Looking ahead, Callie will be helping out with the creation of new tools to collect information on adolescent sexual health in the digital age from adults. Callie has thoroughly enjoyed her time working on this project due to its current relevance and importance. She especially connects with the mission of the BCTR, as her main research interests involve the intersection between human development and policy implications.

In her free time, Callie loves singing, traveling, practicing yoga, running, and spending time with friends and family. On campus, she is involved with Nothing But Treble, the YOURS youth mentorship program, and Kappa Kappa Gamma. She spent her Junior Spring semester abroad in Tanzania, doing community development research and volunteering at various orphanages. After graduation from Cornell, Callie hopes to enter a doctoral degree program in human development/psychology, with a focus in policy and social interventions.


2014_1022_083.jpgJessica Tran
Undergraduate Student
Biomedical Engineering

Jessica Tran (‘18) is a sophomore in the College of Engineering, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Since her freshman year, she has been an assistant for the New York State 4-H Youth Development Program. She works with Deb Mann and the rest of the NYS 4-H office on 4-H programming and communications. Her roles at 4-H include managing the NYS 4-H Facebook page to improve communications and performing various tasks to further 4-H programming. She enjoys seeing the role NYS 4-H has in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), Healthy Living, and Civic Engagement to the youth of New York State. NYS 4-H’s efforts strongly resonate with Jessica since she credits her interest in the STEM field to her exposure to STEM programming as a youth. Now as a STEM major at Cornell, she especially admires NYS 4-H’s role in encouraging diversity and exposing youth to the STEM field.

In her free time, Jessica enjoys exploring Ithaca’s numerous waterfalls and gorge trails and aspiring to travel the world. As a biomedical engineering major, Jessica would like to work with others to create new medical technologies that will benefit society by improving quality of life. She is still contemplating her plans for the future, which include attending graduate school and working for an innovative and meaningful biotechnology corporation or start-up.


studentprofile-breesesmallAmanda Breese
Summer Intern
University of Rochester

Amanda is a rising sophomore studying biomedical engineering and psychology at the University of Rochester Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Amanda has been working as a summer intern with the ACT for Youth project for the past two summers. She works with Amanda Purington and the ACT evaluation team on data collection and evaluation, as well as survey output. Last summer Amanda had the opportunity to help with the 4-H Career Explorations conference. There, she worked with youth to raise their awareness of the impact they have on their community using the unique research method of PhotoVoice.

Hoping to combine her love for psychology, her love of helping others, and her interest in engineering into one exciting career, Amanda plans to pursue her masters in cell and tissue engineering with a minor in abnormal psychology. In her free time Amanda enjoys reading, binge-watching Netflix, relaxing with family and friends, and playing her flute in the University of Rochester’s marching pep band.


2014_1022_016.jpgMelis Schildkraut
Undergraduate Student

Melis is a rising junior studying psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences. She has been a member of Janis Whitlock’s team in the Cornell’s Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery (CRPSIR) since last fall. Melis has worked on a variety of projects over the past year, including a literature review on adolescent porn consumption and the effect of technology on sexual behavior. She hopes to use this review in the future to help Dr. Whitlock publish a paper on Technology Mediated Sexuality (TMS). Additionally, she has done work coding qualitative interviews and has conducted a few interviews herself. Melis is interested in studying the relationship between self-injury and risky sexual behavior in adolescent populations and plans to conduct her own study on this topic in the near future.

This summer Melis is working with Cornell Cooperative Extension doing fieldwork, which is both fascinating and provides inspiration for further research questions. She is working as a 4-H intern, helping plan and execute this summer’s Tompkins County Youth Fair. Additionally, she is working with Nikki Nease and the Dryden OURS (outreach, understanding, respect, and success) program. She serves as an OURS mentor to a lovely 15 year-old girl, Jessica. Together Melis, Jessica, and Nikki plan and enact programs for the residents of three different trailer parks in Dryden, NY.

In her free time Melis enjoys hanging out in her cooperative house, gathering flowers, and collecting weird old shoes. She wishes to pursue a career in clinical psychology, but is open to suggestions for alternate career paths.


2014_1022_058.jpgOlivia Eilers

Olivia worked with the Bronfenbrenner Center’s ACT for Youth Center of Excellence during her senior year, 2014 - 2015. During this time, she worked closely with Dr. Jane Powers, Christine Heib, Brian Maley, Devine Subuharara, and Amanda Purington on survey output and data evaluation. She also received a student research grant from the Cornell Community Partnership Board to work on a BCTR project called the Independent Living Survey that works to uncover contributing factors to youth homelessness in Tompkins County. This project was a collaboration between the BCTR and the Learning Web/Youth Outreach, a community agency that prepares county youth for employment. Staff from the Learning Web (Sally Schwartzbach, Dale Schumacher, and Mona Smiley) worked one-on-one with Olivia to collect, evaluate, and present data from the project. They also helped set up an Empathy, Assistance, and Referral Services (EARS) workshop event at the Youth Outreach center in downtown Ithaca to provide information about effective communication and listening skills with peers and family.

Olivia has a deep passion for helping others and finds that one of the best ways to make a difference in people’s lives is just by listening carefully to what they have to say. Adopted at a young age from an orphanage in Colombia, Olivia has pursued working with Hispanic populations in Central America throughout high school and college and it is her dream to help develop greater access to multilingual psychological services throughout the United States and beyond. She spent the summer of 2014 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as an Iscol Scholar in the College of Human Ecology Global Health Program.

Olivia graduated in May 2015 and is now working at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center within the Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She works as a human services specialist under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to provide Hispanic women who have been victims of domestic violence with easily accessible psychological services. Her goal is to continue on to graduate school for a PhD in counseling psychology. When not working or supposedly studying for her GRE, Olivia enjoys long walks on the beach at sunset (but actually, now that she is living 6 miles from the beach, which she is thrilled about), daydreaming about owning a cute puppy, watching Youtube videos of any cute baby animals, salsa dancing, and eating mangoes.


[FILENAME]Patricia Rothenberg

At the BCTR, Patti Rothenberg worked as an undergraduate research assistant with the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery (CRPSIR). Her interest in self-injury was piqued when Dr. Janis Whitlock presented a guest lecture in a Human Development class Patti was taking. Patti began working on with CRPSIR in the spring semester of her sophomore year and soon grew to appreciate the translational aspects of the research. She was primary interested in empowering individuals who struggle with self-injury to discuss their experiences with confidence. By her senior year, she had taken a leadership role as lab assistant to Amanda Purington, and had authored two fact sheets on how to foster empathic dialogue about self-injury.

Patti graduated from Cornell in 2013 and currently works for Project Hope, a regional support program that works with local community-based organizations to provide supportive counseling and public education for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy. In the future, she plans to pursue her Master’s in Public Health. Patti’s overall dream is to work for a community-based organization to improve public mental and physical health. Patti is also a foodie! While in Ithaca, she enjoyed dining in all of Ithaca’s wonderful restaurants, perusing the Farmer’s Market and cooking with fresh local produce!




2014_1023_062.jpgCarly Batist
Undergraduate Student
Animal Science

Carly Batist (’16) is an Animal Science major within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). She has a double minor in Nutrition and in Anthropology. She began working for Deb Mann in New York State 4-H Youth Development in September 2014. She works with Deb on 4-H programming and communications within the NYS 4-H office and with 4-H county educators to encourage positive youth development through the three 4-H mission mandates: Healthy Living, Civic Engagement, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Applied Math).

Her position with 4-H is one of three jobs for Carly: she also works as a tutor and for a biology professor. She has participated in research in the Cornell Equine Performance Clinic in the veterinary school and has career aspirations to work in the equine industry. She has a passion for wildlife conservation and has interned at the Long Island Aquarium, Wildtracks (a primate and manatee rehabilitation and conservation center), and a wildlife rescue center for local fauna on Long Island.

Carly finds her work in 4-H to be very rewarding in that 4-H is inspiring the next generation of New Yorkers. As a passionate animal science major, she wants to see youth become more involved in science careers and research.


1083_13_008.jpgMegan Childs
Undergraduate Student
Human Development

Megan Childs is a senior in the College of Human Ecology, majoring in Human Development with a minor in Law and Society. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Megan worked with Janis Whitlock and Carrie Ernhout in the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery researching non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) tendencies in adolescents. Megan focused on the recovery process, specifically the parent-child relationship following a child’s disclosure. During her second semester at the BCTR, Megan focused on the relationship between NSSI and eating disorders, exploring comorbidity among the two behaviors. In addition to her work at the BCTR, Megan spent a summer working at the Columbia University School of Social Work, researching borderline personality disorder and other psychiatric disorders among adolescent incarcerated populations. She is very interested in relating psychology and social sciences to the legal system and law practice. After graduation, Megan will be working in employee relations and hopes to pursue a law degree in the future.


studentprofile-neffsmallRobbie Neff

Robbie Neff ('15) graduated this past December from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He began working for 4-H Youth Development through the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Summer Internship Program following his freshman year at Cornell. Alongside BCTR associate director for youth development Stephen Hamilton and CCE regional research specialist Angela Northern, he worked out of Erie County on a project titled "The Continuous Improvement of 4-H." The research initially involved surveying members at county fairs in Western New York to better understand which aspects of the program are keeping kids interested in 4-H.

Robbie continued to work over the course of the school year with the BCTR, where he took up a data analysis role with 4-H enrollment data. After taking a spreadsheet modeling class, he developed an interactive tool that analyzes each county's program. The tool looks at trends over the course of five years and gives educators the ability to compare retention rates across a variety of demographic characteristics such as age, race, ethnicity, and gender. Findings have been featured in an article in the Journal of Extension, Strengthening 4-H by Analyzing Enrollment Data.

Since graduation, Robbie founded an interactive data visualization company that works as a data consultant to ACT for Youth and the 4-H Youth Development Programs of New York and Minnesota. Robbie has also founded another company with five other undergraduate students, Myriad Games, Inc., which is releasing an app in spring of 2015 that aims to revolutionize picture sharing and digital advertising.


1177_13_055.jpgAndy Powers
Undergraduate Student
Applied Economics and Management

Andy Powers (’15) is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, majoring in Applied Economics and Management. He began working for the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence (COE) in the winter of 2013 under the supervision of Amanda Purington. He has worked primarily on the COE’s evaluation team assisting in analyzing data that have been collected from organizations that are implementing evidence-based adolescent sexual health programs. While in high school, Andy served as a consultant to the COE and provided input on the development of the youth website, reviewing both content and structure.

Most recently, Andy has aided Mary Maley in researching the benefits of public speaking for job readiness. He has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to supplement his undergraduate business education as a research assistant with the ACT for Youth Team.

After graduation, Andy will return to Ernst and Young, where he interned this past summer, as a consultant in their Business Advisory Program. And in the future, he is interested in pursuing an MBA.



Student Profiles archive:

Fall 2014 profiles

Spring 2014 profiles

Fall 2013 profiles

Spring 2013 profiles

Fall 2012 profiles

Spring 2012 profiles