Sanchari BanerjeeSanchari Banerjee

I joined the Developmental Sciences program in Fall of 2016. Before coming here from India, I completed my Bachelors in Sociology and my Masters in Social Work, which led me to a job on the Education team of a non-governmental organization. I designed programs, liasoned and worked with stakeholders, while also collecting data for an exploratory study. This is where I realized my love for education research.

My research interests include using mixed methodology to study temperament, peer relationships, and self-regulation in early childhood, and I am working under the guidance of Dr. Kristen Bub. Currently, I am part of an NSF-funded research project studying preschool children at Headstart centres, and also a discussion section leader for the 201 Educational Psychology course. 

Shereen BeilsteinDr. Shereen Beilstein (former student and current postdoctoral scholar in Developmental Sciences)

Supporting children’s development of practical reasoning skills and mathematics knowledge serves as the grounding motivation for my research. To this end, I focus on how children learn mathematics as well as how teachers learn to teach mathematics. By studying how children think about mathematics, my goals are to understand the cognitive processes that guide children’s learning and to develop instructional interventions for traditional laboratory and applied classroom settings. My current projects investigate how tools such as gesture and object manipulation inform children’s thinking and foster successful learning of whole number and fraction concepts. Additionally, by studying how elementary school teachers use classroom video clips posted to the Everyday Mathematics Virtual Learning Community, my goals are to understand the nature of teacher learning in asynchronous, online environments and to examine whether teacher learning online is associated with student learning in the classroom.

Kate Curry

I came to the Educational Psychology department for my PhD after a career in education. I became interested in the experiences of both teachers and students through my experiences teaching collegiate level ESL at the UIUC and the University of Denver, as well as teaching elementary students in Japan, Germany and Saudi Arabia. My research focuses on the influence that early elementary teachers have on their students’ motivation and mindset through feedback and teaching practices. As a lifelong educator, I am committed to helping both teachers and students to improve their classroom experiences. I am currently working with Dr. Michelle Perry to understand how online professional learning opportunities using video can help teachers to reflect on their teaching practices to improve their students’ academic outcomes.


Bethany HoffBethany Hoff

Bethany F. Hoff is a doctoral student in Developmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, Department of Educational Psychology. After graduating from Whitworth University with a B.A. in Psychology, Bethany received her M.S. in Educational Psychology from the University of Illinois. Bethany’s research investigates how individuals succeed despite circumstance. Specifically, she is interested in processes of intentional self-regulation during adolescence and positive developmental outcomes (e.g., positive youth development). She is particularly fascinated by the roles of process versus outcome focus and resilience in goal setting and long-term outcomes. Her research focuses on quantitative methodology. Email: 

Madison SewellMadison Sewell

Madison is a first-year doctoral student in Developmental Sciences. After completing her undergraduate education at the University of Central Arkansas where she earned a B.S. in Health Sciences and a minor in interdisciplinary studies through the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College, Madison worked in a variety of educational contexts including a gifted-and-talented summer program in Arkansas, a Czech high school, and an urban elementary school in Dallas, Texas.

Through her experience working with these diverse students, she noticed the importance of socioemotional skills such as self-regulation, social competence, and goal-setting in the lives of youth. Her interest in the development of these “soft-skills” led her to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she began working with Dr. Christopher Napolitano. Madison’s research interests include positive youth development— what goes “right” in adolescence— and how adolescents can utilize their strengths to shape their own development.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading and audiobooks, training for marathons, and international travel.  Email:

 Ananya TiwariAnanya Tiwari

Ananya was born and brought up in India and has done her bachelor’s in chemistry from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University.  She dabbled in Neuroscience in Cambridge, Göttingen and Stockholm before switching to Education. She was a school teacher in a rural school for two teachers and digitized Science curriculum for grades 5 and 6 in Hindi. Post a Liberal Arts degree, she worked with CorStone on resilience-based interventions and STiR Education around intrinsic motivation in Indian teachers in public school system at a systemic level.  

Currently, she explores Socio-Emotional (SE) Skills both from a theoretical and empirical perspective. She is particularly interested in exploring SE skills at the intersection of poverty and gender.

She also co-founded SwaTaleem Foundation in India which works together with Dalit and Tribal girls, teachers and government officials.

In her free time, she loves outdoor activities with Karthik and their dogs.