Who We Are

The Connected Wellbeing Initiative is powered by a cross-sector advisory board and the team at the Connected Learning Alliance. We bring together researchers, designers, educators, and funders to accelerate youth-powered innovations for improving wellbeing for youth and uplifting communities.

Advisory Board​

David Ball

SecondMuse

David Ball

David Ball is the Senior Director of SecondMuse's Health and Local Economies, which includes the Headstream Accelerator. David has driven this portfolio of initiatives focused on working with changemakers and incumbent powers to create digital places and experiences where young people can thrive. David has led education, economic development, and social entrepreneurship programs around the world.

Linda Burch

Common Sense Media

Linda Burch

Linda Burch is a co-founder and the Chief Education and Strategy Officer of Common Sense Media, a not-for-profit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and the independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. Linda leads Common Sense Media’s education efforts, new program and strategy development.

Kevin Connors

Susan Crown Exchange

Kevin Connors

Kevin Connors is the Senior Director at SCE, where he oversees grantmaking, leads new initiatives, and co-develops organizational strategy. Prior to SCE, Kevin served as the Founding Director of Personalized Learning at Chicago Public Schools.

Sharon Hoover

University of Maryland

Sharon Hoover

Sharon A. Hoover, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Co-Director of the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH), and Director of the Center for Safe Supportive Schools (CS3). Creating safe, supportive and resilient schools has been a major emphasis of Dr. Hoover’s research, education and clinical work. Dr. Hoover has led and collaborated on multiple federal and state grants, with a commitment to the study and implementation of quality children’s mental health services.

Mimi Ito

Connected Learning Alliance

Mimi Ito

Mimi Ito is a cultural anthropologist, learning scientist, entrepreneur, and an advocate for connected learning—learning that is equity-oriented, centered on youth interest, and socially connected. She is Professor in Residence and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at the University of California, Irvine, where she directs the Connected Learning Lab; as well as co-founder of Connected Camps, a non-profit providing online learning experiences for kids in all walks of life.

Joy Ippolito

American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate & Social Impact

Joy Ippolito

Joy is a social innovator and a champion of vulnerable youth who live in our communities. 18+ years as an education researcher, professor, clinician, and policymaker. Previously an Executive Policy Advisor with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, currently an investor in startup companies that seek to close equity gaps in the U.S. Ph.D. and Ed.M. from Harvard University; M.A. from University of Chicago; B.S. from Loyola University Chicago.

Carrie James

Project Zero

Carrie James

Carrie James is a Senior Research Associate and Principal Investigator at Project Zero (PZ). A sociologist by training, her research explores young people's digital, moral, and civic lives. Over the past decade plus, Carrie has led research and educational initiatives focused on ethical issues in digital life, civic engagement and participatory politics in a connected age, and cross-cultural online learning experiences.

Kimberlyn Leary

Urban Institute

Kimberlyn Leary

Kimberlyn Leary is a senior vice president, managing research and program development across the Urban Institute. She is also an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, an associate professor in the department of health policy and management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a Senior Fellow at the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University.

Kelsey Noonan

Pivotal Ventures

Kelsey Noonan

Kelsey Noonan is the Program Strategy and Investment Lead for Adolescent Mental Health, leading a team dedicated to centering racial and gender equity in mental health care, catalyzing innovation and entrepreneurship in mental health, and helping young people develop healthy
relationships with technology.

Candice Odgers

UC Urvine

Candice Odgers

Candice Odgers is a developmental psychologist who studies adolescents’ mental health and development. She leads the CERES network with Gillian Hayes where she tests how digital technologies can be leveraged to support key aspects of children’s learning and development, while also reducing growing divides in children’s online and offline lives. Her research has focused on how Adolescents and children are early and enthusiastic adopters of digital technologies, but the online world is too often not designed with them in mind.

Chelsea Olson

Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team

Chelsea Olson

Dr. Olson is currently the program lead for the Technology and Adolescent Mental Wellbeing program with the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT). She specializes in human development, specifically adolescent development with a focus on social-emotional and cognitive development and how this development plays out in online spaces. She also studies adolescent involvement in cyberstalking on social media and associated mental health outcomes. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Michael Preston

Joan Ganz Cooney Center

Michael Preston

Michael Preston is the Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. He brings more than 20 years of experience leading innovation in educational technology at both local and national levels. His work has focused on using technology to improve teaching and learning, drive student agency and interest, and create models for systemic change in both K-12 and university contexts.

Justin Reich

MIT Teaching Systems Lab

Justin Reich

Justin is an associate professor of digital media in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing department at MIT and the director of the Teaching Systems Lab. He is the author of Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education, and the host of the TeachLab Podcast. He earned his doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and was the Richard L. Menschel HarvardX Research Fellow. He is a past Fellow at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society.

Katie Salen

UC Irvine

Katie Salen

Katie Salen is a designer working at the intersections of youth, online play, and learning. Her research focuses on various aspects of social-emotional learning in online game communities, including conflict resolution, peer mediation, collaboration, and problem-solving.

Jaspal Sandhu

Hopelab

Jaspal Sandhu

Jaspal Sandhu is a distinguished leader in design, social entrepreneurship, and health equity. As Hopelab’s Executive Vice President, he provides strategic direction across the organization, leading a multidisciplinary team with expertise in venture investment, translational research, design strategy, and youth co-creation.

Jennifer Wu

Reach Capital

Jennifer Wu

Jennifer Wu is a Venture Partner at Reach Capital, an early-stage impact fund focused on education technology, where she leads the fund's impact efforts. Reach's mission is to increase access to opportunity through high-quality education. She brings operational experience in tech startups, teaching, professional development, learning experience design, and student success to screening and supporting portfolio companies. Pervasive themes throughout her career include educational equity, transformative learning experiences, and innovation.

Stephen Schueller

UC Irvine

Stephen Schueller

Stephen Schueller is an Associate Professor of Psychological Science & Informatics at UC Irvine. As a clinical psychologist his work lies at the intersection of clinical science, technology, and implementation science. This includes work focused on developing, evaluation, and implementing technologies to support mental health service delivery. He also serves as the Executive Director of One Mind PsyberGuide, a project that evaluates digital mental health products.

Carina Wong

Craft Strategies

Carina Wong

Carina Wong is a lifetime learner who loves working on big problems with visionary and creative leaders. A strategist by nature and designer by heart, she has a bias for action and a penchant to reframe problems as possibilities. She is an author, speaker, facilitator and the founder of Craft Strategies, a practice intentionally focused on helping the next generation of women of color succeed.

Team

Alexis Albertie

Connected Learning Alliance

Alexis Albertie

Alexis Albertie (she/her) is the Counselor and Community HX Manager at Connected Camps. She holds a B.S. in Educational Psychology, an M.A. in Creative and Innovative Education, and a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design and Technology. As part of her role with Connected Camps, Alexis supports young educators as they facilitate interactive learning through gaming.

Jenna Abrams

Connected Learning Lab

Jenna Abrams

Jenna Abrams is a Program Administrator at the Connected Learning Lab, where she manages the CLA newsletter and blog and provides editorial, production, and administrative support to the CLL’s research projects. She holds an MFA in Writing from UC Irvine.

Elissa Alves

Connected Learning Alliance

Elissa Alves

Elissa Alves is the Executive & People Administrator at the Connected Learning Alliance. Previously she worked as an editorial and operations associate at a literary agency. Elissa holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Drew University.

Colin Angevine

Impact Studio

Colin Angevine

Colin manages the Connected Wellbeing Impact Studio and supports the Connected Learning Alliance’s network strategy. As a consultant, Colin also works in partnership with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, the City University of New York, and Onward to design and manage catalytic innovation programs, networked capacity building, continuous improvement research, and data infrastructure. In previous work, Colin was the project director for Challenge Collaboratives at Digital Promise, where he developed and facilitated new models for equity-driven R&D in education. Colin holds a B.A. from Dickinson College in Classics and an M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania in Learning Sciences and Technologies.

Remy Cross

Connected Learning Lab

Remy Cross

Remy Cross is a Research Manager of the Connected Learning Lab. He currently works on projects focused on digital youth wellbeing, how technology impacts youth culture and the role that AI is playing in early childhood. His previous work has examined violent radicalization, particularly in online environments as well as work on online communities and collective action. Remy holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Irvine as well as Masters degrees from the University of Chicago and UC Irvine.

Cindy Hau

Connected Learning Alliance

Cindy Hau

Cindy Hau is the Design and Marketing Specialist for Connected Camps and The Connected Learning Alliance. She is a self-taught visual artist that specializes in bringing creative ideations to life through her work in digital graphics, marketing, and illustrations. Cindy currently manages CLA’s social media accounts, and supports the organization with web maintenance and development of visual assets. She approaches each project as an opportunity for meaningful storytelling and a chance to share the collective human experience.

Julie Herrick

Connected Learning Lab

Julie Herrick

Julie Herrick is the Head of Operations of the Connected Learning Lab. She manages grant budgets and proposals, oversees the lab space, and general operations of the lab.
She brings nearly two decades of experience in nonprofit administration and event planning. She holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University.

Victor Lazo

Connected Learning Alliance

Victor Lazo

Victor is the Technical and Communications Director for Connected Camps. He holds a Bachelors in Computer Science and a Masters in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge. Victor manages all the technical needs for the camp servers.

Don Miller

Connected Learning Alliance

Don Miller

Don Miller is the Chief Operating Officer of Connected Camps. He has a background in finance, operations and strategy in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors. His passion for childhood education coupled with his experience helping organizations build the capacity to scale and advance their missions brought him to the Connected Camps team.

Megan Timmermann

Connected Learning Alliance

Megan Timmermann

Megan is the System Administrator for Connected Camps. Previously a Connected Camps counselor, she now works on the upkeep and configuration of the computer systems used in the programs at Connected Camps along with website development. Megan has a passion for technology and gaming, and wants to use that passion to positively impact the youth of today.

Amanda Wortman

Connected Learning Lab

Amanda Wortman

Amanda is the Connected Learning Lab’s senior research manager. Building on her experiences as a statistician at the Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations (UC Irvine) and a program coordinator at a local education nonprofit, Amanda serves as the data and research coordinator for the Lab’s research projects. She holds a Masters degree in Demographic and Social Analysis from UC Irvine.