Our People

Co-Directors

Jennifer Urban profile photo

Jennifer Urban

Professor, Family Science and Human Development

Phone
973-655-6884
Email
urbanj@montclair.edu
Location
University Hall, 4205
Miriam Linver profile photo

Miriam Linver

Professor, Family Science and Human Development

Phone
973-655-6841
Email
linverm@montclair.edu
Location
University Hall, 4211

Staff

Mirka Feinstein profile photo

Mirka Feinstein

Assistant Director of Operations, RYTE Institute, Family Science and Human Development

Email
feinsteinm@montclair.edu
Location
University Hall
Colette Killian profile photo

Colette Killian

ICER -Lab Manager, Biology

Phone
973-655-7553
Email
killianco@montclair.edu

Post-Doctoral Researchers

Yangyang Liu
Yangyang Liu received her PhD in Education from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA degree in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research examines organized out-of-school time activities and positive youth development. She is interested in exploring mechanisms and developmental pathways linking activity participation to youth character development, SEL, as well as academic and behavioral wellbeing. Yangyang is committed to promoting youth thriving and inclusive excellence in her work.

Doctoral Research Assistants

Tara Bennett

Education: MA, Montclair State University; BA, Shippensburg University

Research interests:

Tara Bennett is a research assistant at the RYTE Institute, working primarily on the BSA BEST Study. Tara is currently pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her research interests include adolescent psychopathology and treatment, gender identity development, and improving multicultural competence among mental health providers. Tara also volunteers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Gender Clinic, and plans to specialize in working with transgender adolescents.

Milira Cox
Milira Cox is a licensed marriage and family therapist with experience providing services to children and families in outpatient and residential settings. Currently, Milira is a doctoral research fellow and PhD student in Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University. As a researcher, Milira is interested in program planning and evaluation, using pathway modeling in therapy, career development, understanding how purpose and identity are developed among emerging adults, understanding how emerging adults renegotiate familial and peer relationships, and strengthening attachment relationships in adulthood.
Kristin Matera
Kristin Matera received a juris doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law and practiced law for several years before returning to graduate school to pursue a PhD in Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University (MSU). She is currently a PhD candidate at MSU and works as a research assistant for the Institute for Research on Youth Thriving and Evaluation (RYTE). She also teaches the undergraduate course, Children and Justice, in MSU’s Social Work and Child Advocacy Department. Her research interests are informed by her legal background and include family policy and child custody decision-making, with a particular focus on families that include transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) children.
Harshi Shah
Nerveed Said
Nerveen received an MS from New Jersey City University in Early Childhood Education. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University and is working in the RYTE Institute as a research assistant. Her research interest is in Arab American families’ mental health and its effect on children.

RYTE Collaborators

Thomas Archibald
Thomas Archibald is an Associate Professor, Extension Specialist, and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education at Virginia Tech, where he also directs the Feed the Future Senegal Youth in Agriculture project. His research and practice focus primarily on evaluation capacity building, evaluative thinking, and international positive youth development. A winner of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Marcia Guttentag Promising New Evaluator Award and the Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Excellence in International Outreach, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Evaluation Research Society and is an Associate Editor of the journal Evaluation and Program Planning. He received his PhD in Adult and Extension Education from Cornell University in 2013.
Jane Buckley
Jane graduated from Cornell University in 2004 with a BS in Human Development and in 2006 from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City with an MEd. After working as a classroom teacher at a charter school in NYC, Jane returned to Ithaca, NY, and began working as a specialist in informal STEM education. It was her work on evaluating these programs that led her into the field of evaluation. In 2015, after several years of working as an evaluation facilitator and researcher at the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE), Jane started her own business working as an independent consultant (facilitatingthinking.com). Since that time, she has worked with organizations including Catholic Relief Services, Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Duke Endowment, Yale University’s STEM-PERL lab as well as on numerous projects with her collaborators at the RYTE Institute. Jane specializes in evaluation capacity building, with a focus on organizational development, relational capacity building, and evaluative thinking.
Natalie Cook
Natalie E. Cook, a native of Brooklyn, NY, is an Assistant Professor of Public Health and Faculty Principal of the Honors Residential College at Virginia Tech. She has worked in Extension evaluation at Virginia Tech (where she earned her PhD), Oklahoma State University, University of Delaware, and Cornell University, where she completed her B.S. in Human Development and discovered her passion for evaluation as a research assistant in Trochim’s Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE). As a transformative evaluator and critical adult educator in Public Health, her research and practice include transformative evaluation capacity building, kaleidoscopic thinking, culturally responsive and equitable evaluation, community-based participatory research and evaluation, and health equity.
Monica Hargraves
Monica Hargraves joined the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE) at Cornell University in 2008.  She served as CORE’s Associate Director for Evaluation Partnerships from 2014 to 2021. Her work at Cornell included collaborative research projects and evaluation capacity building with Extension programs throughout NYS, character development programs across the US and internationally, and grassroots organizations in the US building equitable, sustainable local food systems. Her publications focus on Evolutionary Evaluation, Evaluative Thinking, and the development and application of the Systems Evaluation Protocol and Relational Systems Evaluation. She now works as an independent consultant, applying the tools and foundational principles of Relational Systems Evaluation to build knowledge and create mutually beneficial bridges between the expertise of practitioners and those supporting, funding, or researching community-based work. She received a BA from Princeton University and a PhD in economics from the University of Rochester.