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PACT Administrative Team

Kristin Buss, Ph.D.

Kristin Buss, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Psychology
  • Director of PACT
More about Kristin Buss, Ph.D....

Dr. Kristin Buss is the Director of Parents and Children Together (PACT). Dr. Buss’ work is focused on the development of risk for adjustment problems, with particular focus on the development of anxiety symptoms for children with fearful temperaments. This work has implications for identifying which fearful children are at risk for developing anxiety problems. Specifically, she is interested in understanding the processes and situations that influence adaptive and maladaptive outcomes for fearful and anxious children. With this goal she has developed a community-based participatory research project designed to work toward the development of a preventive intervention for children at risk for anxiety problems as they transition to school.

Carmen Henry-Harris, M.Ed.

Carmen Henry-Harris, M.Ed.

  • PACT Community Engagement Coordinator
More about Carmen Henry-Harris, M.Ed....

Carmen Henry-Harris, M. Ed., is the Community Engagement Coordinator for PACT, part of The Pennsylvania State University’s Harrisburg Center for Healthy Child Development. Carmen maintains academic-school partnerships, project leadership and the engagement of community partners. She holds a Masters of Education from Eastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in Radio/TV Mass Communications from Clark Atlanta University and a Secondary English, Special Education and Reading Specialist from Eastern University. She has varied experience in the areas of  communications, event planning, education,  group facilitating, project coordinator and community engagement. Her background spans over 30 years serving in different capacities within the community which fulfills her passion of mixing education with communications, and project coordination.

Laureen Teti, Ph.D.

Laureen Teti, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Director, Child Study Center
  • Associate Director, PACT
More about Laureen Teti, Ph.D....

Dr. Laureen Teti is one of several Penn State faculty working to promote relations between the minority communities in Harrisburg and child researchers at the Child Study Center.  These efforts resulted in the 2007 establishment of Parents and Children Together (PACT), a community-university partnership which includes representatives from early childhood agencies, parents, and other key leaders from minority communities in Harrisburg, PA. As a member of PACT’s Steering Committee, Dr. Teti chairs PACT’s Dissemination subcommittee. Dr. Teti is a co-investigator on the community-engaged BRAVE project, Dr. Kristin Buss, PI, which is developing an intervention in Harrisburg to reduce anxiety in urban African-American children. Since Fall 2012, Dr. Teti has served on Penn State’s Presidential Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity (CORED), now serves on CORED’s Executive Leadership Team, and is spearheading efforts to increase the hiring and retention of diverse faculty at Penn State.  

Dawn Witherspoon, Ph.D.

Dawn Witherspoon, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Associate Director, PACT
More about Dawn Witherspoon, Ph.D....

Dawn Witherspoon is interested in how context shapes adolescent development. Her work focuses on neighborhood, school, and family factors that affect adolescents’ socioemotional and academic adjustment. In addition, she examines how race, ethnicity, and other cultural attributes interact with contextual characteristics to influence adolescent outcomes. Her current work examines adolescent development from middle to high school to understand how aspects of the residential neighborhood, school, and family contexts are related to adolescents’ academic adjustment and beliefs as well as their deviant behaviors, racial identity, and discrimination experiences. She also examines how the neighborhood context is associated with parenting behaviors and strategies. A goal of her research is to elucidate the development of urban and rural adolescents and their families, with particular attention to contextual supports.

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