Meet the Team

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Kris Perry, Executive Director, most recently served as Senior Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom of California and Deputy Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency where she led the development of the California Master Plan for Early Learning and Care and the expansion of access to high-quality early childhood programs. She led systems change efforts at the local, state and national levels in her roles as executive director of First 5 San Mateo, First 5 California and of the First Five Years Fund. Through it all, Perry has fought to protect children, improve and expand early learning programs, and increase investments in low-income children. Perry was instrumental in returning marriage equality to California after the landmark 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Hollingsworth v. Perry, which she wrote about in her book Love on Trial (Roaring Forties Press, 2017).

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Jon Bleicher is the founder of Prospect PR, a full-service media agency specializing in non-profit, corporate, and entertainment clients. Prospect offers traditional PR, media, and promotional strategy and outreach. Working collaboratively with clients, Jon helps communicate their stories effectively to gain maximum exposure, sales, and ROI.

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Dr. Kate Blocker is a developmental psychologist with a passion for translating scientific research into resources that support holistic, healthy child development. She received her BA in Psychology from the Elon University, followed by a PhD in Experimental Psychology (Developmental Sciences Concentration, Statistics Minor) from the University of Alabama. In addition to her academic background in child development, Kate also has direct experience leading youth development programs in her local community. At the Institute, Kate oversees the interdisciplinary research and public education programs, including the Digital Media and Developing Minds Congress, Ask the Experts webinar series, research retreats, seed grants, and more. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, exploring the great outdoors, playing board games, reading, and spoiling her rescue pup.

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Jill Braunstein is Director of Marketing and Communications at Children and Screens. In this role she is responsible for planning and executing all marketing strategy, overseeing a wide variety of written and visual content, public presentations, messaging campaigns, internal and external communications, and building partnerships to advance the work of the Institute. Jill brings more than 25 years of non-profit strategic communications to the Institute. Most recently, she served as the inaugural Director of Communications at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), an international membership organization that promotes the use of developmental research to improve human lives. Prior to joining SRCD, she was Director of Communications at the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), a nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts dedicated to working across political and ideological lines to advance understanding of programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance. Jill also spent seven years with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), most recently as Director of Communications. Jill earned an MA in Public Policy and Women’s Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a concentration in Speech Communication, both from the George Washington University.

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Camara Brown is an interdisciplinary scholar and poet who works in the fields of American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Transnational Black Feminisms, and Friendship Studies. In May 2022, Camara earned a Master's in History from Harvard University. While at Harvard, she developed a passion for collaboration and community-building through working, for example, as the American Studies Student Workshop co-facilitator. She is also a poet committed to uplifting the ways poetry can powerfully inspire youth and people of all ages. She worked in creative writing communities with youth throughout her undergraduate career at the University of Pennsylvania. Her poetry has been published in numerous places including The Adroit Journal and The Golden Shovel Anthology Poems in a New Form Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. Camara is excited to join the Children and Screens team.

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Dr. Robert C. Charles is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of NC and SC and has a Juris Doctorate degree from the Charlotte School of Law. He spent much of his earlier career working in local and regional CPA Firms in the State of South Carolina and North Carolina. Following his time in public accounting firms he served as the CFO and Controller for a number of large healthcare, non-profit, and governmental organizations in the Carolinas and southeast. He is currently the founder and principal shareholder of Robert Charles, CPA, P.A. and provides consulting services to various entities on tax and accounting matters. He is currently published in the NC CPA Interim Report and the SC CPA Magazine and frequently speaks at CPA Conferences on Professional Development and other technical accounting and tax subjects. He has served as an adjunct accounting professor at Columbia College, Johnson C. Smith University, Midlands Technical College, and other institutions of higher education.

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Levi Hastings is an Emmy-nominated illustrator and graphic designer living in Seattle. He's published 4 children's picture books and is currently working on his first graphic novel. He brings more than 15 years of design experience to Children and Screens.

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Lauren Hill is the HR, Development, and Recruitment Coordinator at Children and Screens. She received a B.S. in Psychology with minors in Child and Adolescent Development and Diversity and Inclusion from Lasell College, and M.A. in Psychology from Stony Brook University. After graduating in 2018 Lauren joined the Children and Screens team as the Executive Assistant. Highlights included coordinating a 4-day conference, collaborating with staff and interns, and traveling with the Founder and President to inform the public of the latest findings in the field. Lauren re-joined the team in early 2021 and has greatly enjoyed the experience since. Outside of work, Lauren often spends time hanging out with family and friends, exploring the great outdoors, trying new recipes, and when possible, traveling to new places.

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Dr. Christakis is the Institute’s inaugural Chief Science Officer. He is also Director of Seattle Children's Hospital. Christakis is a leading expert on how media affects child health and development. He has published dozens of media-related studies and co-authored a groundbreaking book, The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for your Kids. His work has been featured on Anderson Cooper 360, the Today Show, ABC, NBC, and CBS news as well as all major national newspapers. Christakis received his undergraduate degree at Yale University and his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

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John received his B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento. He worked as a Research Assistant at Oregon Health & Science University, where he then completed his Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience studying genetic and molecular mechanisms of addiction. During graduate school, John served as an organizer for Graduate Researchers United, helping establish the university’s first researcher union. He coordinates policy and research programs for the Institute, including the Digital Media and Developing Minds Congress: Tools and Methodologies Exposition, and the public health practicum. In his free time he likes cooking and baking, volunteering with conservation organizations, and exploring the Northwest with his dog. John currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Audrey Richards graduated from George Washington University with a BA in Political Science. She worked for six years at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a bureau of the US Treasury Department. She was the knowledge manager, overseeing the agency-wide KM program. Audrey was also the unit's representative to the Enterprise Change Control Board. She previously worked as a nationally published sportswriter, and is currently a politician in Southwest Missouri.

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Celeste Schaefer Snyder, Director of Media & Creative, is a communications pro who brings a belief in the power of storytelling and a passion for children’s health to her work with Children and Screens. Prior to her work with the Institute, Celeste was a senior interactive media producer with Storyline Productions and a producer and writer of critically-acclaimed feature-length documentary films with Geller/Goldfine Productions. Celeste previously took an extended tour in internet startups as the Director of Product Management at eTranslate, Inc. and a Product Manager for E-greetings Network. Celeste is a longtime active Board member and current Board Chair of Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, an outdoor education nonprofit in Oregon that brings transformative experiences in nature to youth and adults.


Our Past Interns

Academy of Art University
Michelle Guo

Baylor University
Kristen Ogarrio

Boston University
Emily Rivera

Brown University
Angelo Giannopoulos
Ruth Schlenker

California Baptist University
Susannah Metzler

California State University, Fullerton
Jasmine Matsumoto

California State University, Northridge
Avery Clark
Erika De La Rosa

Case Western Reserve University
Tina Fong

Central Michigan University
John Caufield

Columbia University
Angelo Coelho
Mara Danoff, Teacher’s College
Jennifer Lee, Teacher’s College
Cindy Setiadi, Teacher’s College
Hailey Wetherill

Cornell University
Catherine Cai
Chelsea Chen
Angela Constantine
Jin Shang
Nicole Werner

CUNY Baruch College
Sven Larsen, Macaulay Honors College
Daniella Rodriguez, Macaulay Honors College
Aja Tarrao

Davidson College
Sarah Suttner

DePaul University
Pushty Shah

Dickinson College
Lindsay Kuracina

Duke University
Alisa Adhikari
Daniel Sul

Emory University
Tanisha Ghosh

Fashion Institute of Technology
Whitney Chen
Sandra Mustopa

Fielding Graduate University
Margaret Sargent

Florida State University
Christina Carassas

Georgetown University
Christine Kim

Georgia Institute of Technology
Gracelyn Nguyen

Hofstra University
Meghan Fawcett

Hunter College, City University of New York
Srimayee Dam

Indiana University
Sophie Marx

James Madison University
Tanner Sykhammountry

Johns Hopkins University
Grace Kirtland

King’s College
Annabelle Ford

Liberty University
Soogeun Jang

Mount Holyoke College
Elizabeth Agbedun

New York University
Remy Badge
Kainaz Patravalar
Sanjana Shah
Nancy Zamora
Jenny Zheng

Northeastern University
Jayna Kurlender
Ecom Lu

Oakland University Honors College
Tyler Dixon

Princeton University
Colton Wang

Purdue University
Qiyan Ba
Erik Josson

Rochester Institute of Technology
Juliann Thang

Rutgers University
Nithila Arunkuma
rMeryem Carikci
Manasa Dornala
Christopher Kwok
Antoinette Pauwells
Sophie Sklar
Laura Vorbach

Salisbury University
Erich Ammann

San Diego State University
Jessie Siu

San Jose State University
Aarti Patel
Kem Awosanya

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Qixuan Mai

Seattle Pacific University
Ken Kok

St. John's University
Maura Warren

Stockton University
Amanda Maurer

Stony Brook University
Joy Trehan
Victoria Davis

SUNY New Paltz
Jack Healy

The New School
Ananya Shrivastava

The Ohio State University
Ann Lee

The Open University
Katelyn Owens

The Pennsylvania State University
Nyla Holland
Anabelle Furry
Cameron Kelly

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Allie Hayhurst

The University of Texas at Austin
Shereena Mathew

Tufts University
Josephine Omoyugbo

Union College
Audrey Palmeri

University of California, Irvine
Andre Abad

University of California, Los Angeles
Hung-Yi Chen
Andrew Martinez

University of California, San Diego
Laylani Cedano

University of California, Santa Cruz
Anisha Dalavai

University of Chicago
Madeleine Oswald

University of Glasgow
Avantika Bhardwaj

University of Houston
Lara Babalola

University of Michigan
Grace Chein
Payton Moore
Ruowen Wang

University of Michigan–Dearborn
Olivia Nalon

University of Missouri
Evanna Momtaj

University of Northern Iowa
Kwan Williams

University of Notre Dame
Olivia Hsin
Sana Khan

University of Pennsylvania
Jillian Castoro
Haoyan Lin

University of Pittsburgh
Annie Kane

University of Rochester
Rohat Chari

University of San Francisco
Amy Haskour

University of Southern California
Lois Angelo
Julie Bernard
Jialing Gu
Gregory Koh
Ava Montana

University of Virginia
Daulton Roach

University of Washington
Sofia Anderson
Joseph Dyer
Aditya Gunawan
Daniela Wolfert

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sofia Reverendo

Villa Maria College
George Jacobs

Virginia Tech
Devika Shukla

Wellesley College
Mia Kriksciun

From Our Past Interns

“This opportunity has been an amazing experience that has allowed me to learn more about the effects of digital media on children and adolescents and different aspects of research that goes into this field. This semester I was able to establish critical skills that I will take as I move forward in my career.”

John C., Spring 2021 Research Intern

“I am deeply honored to have been chosen by you and the team at Children and Screens to be a part of the marketing intern group this past spring. I have had a wonderful experience in promoting the Institute's four-fold mission and contributing to the important work you all do.”

Gracelyn N., Spring 2021 Marketing Intern

“I have gained valuable insight into a variety of industries and positions over the past 12 weeks. I can confidently say that the knowledge and unwavering support I received has allowed me to grow and evolve more than I could have imagined. I am so grateful for the opportunity to join a passionate team within a company I truly admire.”

Erich A., Spring 2021 Ambassador Program Intern

“I loved getting the opportunity to work with Children and Screens on all the great work you do. I really appreciate how my work and opinions were valued here.”


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