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Dr. Yalda T. Uhls

is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Scholars & Storytellers. Uhls is an internationally recognized, award-winning research scientist, educator, and author, studying how media affect young people. In her former career, she was a senior movie executive at MGM and Sony. Learn more about Dr. Uhls work here.

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Michael Pepe

serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at the Center for Scholars & Storytellers. A veteran business executive who had many years in senior positions at Time Warner, Dun & Bradstreet and Z TV, Michael now devotes his talents and leadership skills to initiatives with social impact. Learn more about Michael here.

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Dr. Colleen Russo-Johnson

is the Co-Director of CSS.  She is a children’s media consultant with an expertise in both traditional media and new technology. Dr. Russo-Johnson completed her PhD in developmental psychology at Vanderbilt University and is now based in Toronto. Learn more about her work here. 

 
 
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Kim Wilson

is the Co-Director of CSS and has deep expertise as a content creator. She spent 14 years as the head of Children’s Media at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Wilson is passionate about giving back through mentoring, teaching, and her work at CSS. Learn more about Kim here.

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Louise Zeitzew

is the Chief Administrative Officer of CSS.  After a successful career as an attorney with over ten years at the global law firm Latham & Watkins, Louise has spent the last decade in the non-profit and educational sector, working in administration, accounting and fundraising.

 
 
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Joshua Baysa

interns with CSS and is an undergraduate student at UCLA obtaining his degree in Psychology.

 
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Louise Dixon De Silva, M.A.,

does research with CSS and is now working towards her PhD as a graduate student at UCLA in Clinical Psychology.

 
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Caroline Fung

is the Webmaster for CSS. She is a recent graduate from UCLA where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

 
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Hanna Kim

is an intern at CSS who helps us run our Youth Insights Council. She works remotely from Scripps College in Claremont, CA, where she currently studies Psychology and Media Studies

 
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Adrianna Ruggiero

is the senior research coordinator for CSS. She recently received her Master’s degree in Psychology and is now working towards her PhD in the Early Childhood Cognition Lab at Ryerson University.

 
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Andrew J. Sanders, M.A.,

does research with CSS and is now working towards his PhD as a graduate student at UCLA in Developmental Psychology.

 
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Vedika Sanghai

is the social media lead for CSS. She is a recent graduate from UCLA, where she completed a double major in Business Economics and Psychology with a minor in Entrepreneurship.

 
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Richard Thompson

is CSS’s attorney. He is a partner at Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman, LLP and has worked extensively as a lawyer in the motion picture, television and digital media businesses. 

 
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Clara Ure

is a research assistant for CSS and is an undergraduate student at UCLA obtaining her degree in Psychology. 

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COLLABORATORS

Fashina Aladé, Ph.D.,  is an Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations at Michigan State University.

Fashina Aladé, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations at Michigan State University.

Sara L. Beck, Ph.D.,  is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Randolph College.

Sara L. Beck, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Randolph College.

Micaela Blei, PhD.,  is a two-time Moth GrandSLAM champion storyteller, education researcher, and the Director of Education and Community Programs at storytelling nonprofit The Moth .

Micaela Blei, PhD., is a two-time Moth GrandSLAM champion storyteller, education researcher, and the Director of Education and Community Programs at storytelling nonprofit The Moth.

James Alex Bonus, Ph.D.,  is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Ohio State University

James Alex Bonus, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Ohio State University

Kevin Clark, Ph.D.,  is a Professor of Learning Technologies and Director of the Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity at George Mason University and a children’s media consultant.

Kevin Clark, Ph.D., is a Professor of Learning Technologies and Director of the Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity at George Mason University and a children’s media consultant.

Dr. Knatokie Ford  is a biomedical scientist and Founder & CEO of Fly Sci™ Enterprise.

Dr. Knatokie Ford is a biomedical scientist and Founder & CEO of Fly Sci™ Enterprise.

Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch  is an assistant professor of Psychology at CUNY.

Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch is an assistant professor of Psychology at CUNY.

Roberta M. Golinkoff, Ph.D.,  is a Professor of Education at the School of Education at the University of Delaware.

Roberta M. Golinkoff, Ph.D., is a Professor of Education at the School of Education at the University of Delaware.

Maya Götz, Ph.D.,  is the Head of the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) in Munich, Germany, and Head of the PRIX JEUNESSE Foundation.

Maya Götz, Ph.D., is the Head of the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) in Munich, Germany, and Head of the PRIX JEUNESSE Foundation.

Lisa Guernsey  is deputy director of the Education Policy program and director of the Learning Technologies project at New America.

Lisa Guernsey is deputy director of the Education Policy program and director of the Learning Technologies project at New America.

Rebecca Hains, Ph.D.,  is a Professor of Media Studies and Advertising in the Communications Department at Salem State University.

Rebecca Hains, Ph.D., is a Professor of Media Studies and Advertising in the Communications Department at Salem State University.

Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D.,  is the Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., is the Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

George Huang Ph.D.,  is a Professor of Screenwriting at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and an award-winning writer/director.

George Huang Ph.D., is a Professor of Screenwriting at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and an award-winning writer/director.

Nancy Jennings Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Cincinnati.

Nancy Jennings Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Cincinnati.

Vikki Katz, Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor of Communication at Rutgers University.

Vikki Katz, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Communication at Rutgers University.

Maryam Kia-Keating, Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Licensed Psychologist.

Maryam Kia-Keating, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Licensed Psychologist.

Heather Kirkorian, Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Heather Kirkorian, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

David Kleeman,  is the SVP of Global Trends for Dubit; Chair, International Advisory Board, PRIX JEUNESSE International.

David Kleeman, is the SVP of Global Trends for Dubit; Chair, International Advisory Board, PRIX JEUNESSE International.

Dr. Tamar Kremer-Sadlik  is the director of Academic Programs for the Social Sciences and Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA.

Dr. Tamar Kremer-Sadlik is the director of Academic Programs for the Social Sciences and Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA.

Dafna Lemish, Ph.D.,  is a Professor and Associate Dean for Programs for the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey.

Dafna Lemish, Ph.D., is a Professor and Associate Dean for Programs for the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey.


Richard Lerner, Ph.D.,  is the Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and the Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University.

Richard Lerner, Ph.D., is the Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and the Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University.

Lili Ma, Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Ryerson University.

Lili Ma, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Ryerson University.

Adriana Manago, Ph.D.,  is an assistant professor in Psychology at UCSC.

Adriana Manago, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in Psychology at UCSC.

Marie-Louise Mares, Ph.D.,  is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Marie-Louise Mares, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Nicole Martins, Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor in the Media School at Indiana University .

Nicole Martins, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Media School at Indiana University.

Pediatrician Cara Natterson  is an educator, speaker, founder of Worry Proof Consulting, and  New York Times  best-selling author of the country’s most widely-read books about puberty and growing up.

Pediatrician Cara Natterson is an educator, speaker, founder of Worry Proof Consulting, and New York Times best-selling author of the country’s most widely-read books about puberty and growing up.

Candice L. Odgers, Ph.D.,  is a Professor of Psychological Science at the University of California, at Irvine.

Candice L. Odgers, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychological Science at the University of California, at Irvine.

Dr. Lynn Oldershaw  is a developmental psychologist who has worked for the past 18 years in children’s media, including as an Executive in Charge of Production for Preschool Programming at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Dr. Lynn Oldershaw is a developmental psychologist who has worked for the past 18 years in children’s media, including as an Executive in Charge of Production for Preschool Programming at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Eric E. Rasmussen, Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University.

Eric E. Rasmussen, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University.

Michael Robb, Ph.D.,  is the senior director of research for the national non-profit Common Sense Media.

Michael Robb, Ph.D., is the senior director of research for the national non-profit Common Sense Media.

Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research at the University of Amsterdam.

Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research at the University of Amsterdam.

Tyler Samstag, M.A.,  is the Director of Instructional Innovation at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

Tyler Samstag, M.A., is the Director of Instructional Innovation at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

James Stigler, Ph.D.,  is a Professor of Psychology at UCLA. He founded Lesson Lab (later bought by Pearson Education) whose mission was to improve classroom teaching.

James Stigler, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at UCLA. He founded Lesson Lab (later bought by Pearson Education) whose mission was to improve classroom teaching.

Gabrielle Strouse, Ph.D.,  is an Assistant Professor in Counseling and Psychology in Education at the University of South Dakota.

Gabrielle Strouse, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Counseling and Psychology in Education at the University of South Dakota.

Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Ph.D.,  is the Chair of Child & Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.

Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Ph.D., is the Chair of Child & Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.

Georgene Troseth, Ph.D.,  is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Psychology and Human Development and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

Georgene Troseth, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Psychology and Human Development and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

Sarah Vaala, Ph.D.,  is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication at the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication, High Point University.

Sarah Vaala, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication at the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication, High Point University.

Ellen Wartella, Ph.D.,  is the Sheik Hamad bin Kalifa Al-thani Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University.

Ellen Wartella, Ph.D., is the Sheik Hamad bin Kalifa Al-thani Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University.

Richard Weissbourd, Ph.D.,  teaches, conducts research on character development and directs the Making Caring Common project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Richard Weissbourd, Ph.D., teaches, conducts research on character development and directs the Making Caring Common project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Emilia Zboralska  is Associate Director of Ryerson’s Transmedia Zone and CEO and Executive Producer at King Squared Media.

Dr. Emilia Zboralska is Associate Director of Ryerson’s Transmedia Zone and CEO and Executive Producer at King Squared Media.

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UCLA Psychology Department

With 45,000 students, UCLA is one the world’s most culturally and ethnically diverse universities. CSS is affiliated with UCLA’s Psychology Department and works with both undergraduate and graduate students. Psychology, the most popular major at UCLA, boasts a ranking of #3 in the country. The department is one of the few that offers mentorships and research experience to underserved students.

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Ryerson University

Ryerson University is dedicated to creating a culture of action with a strong belief that education and experience go hand-in-hand. Ryerson has 125+ research institutes and labs, with one of the top university incubators in North America.  CSS is affiliated with the Faculty of Communications and Design and works out of the Transmedia Zone, an incubator for innovation and creative experimentation in media and storytelling.

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