Junlei serves as an associate professor of psychology in Saint Vincent College’s School of Social Sciences, Communication and Education, working with Saint Vincent faculty and the staff at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media to draw a future generation of scholars to the legacy of Fred Rogers.

Junlei was formerly the principal research scientist at The Fred Rogers Company. He was also a senior fellow and past director of applied research and evaluation at the Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh. His work integrates developmental science with training, media and communication development to improve children’s lives in schools, orphanages and community programs. He was previously a principal investigator at Carnegie Mellon University where he designed and led research and development projects, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to narrow the science achievement gap in under-served urban schools.

In His Own Words

The overarching goal of my research and development efforts have been to use research as a way of making sense of important issues and settings impacting under-served children, and use development as a way of making use of research findings in order to positively impact children’s lives. Under this goal, my research and development efforts have included improving science education in urban classrooms, improving program evaluation for community-based programs serving youth and families, improving quality of care in orphanages in the international context for children without parental care, and improving quality of teacher-student interactions in early elementary classrooms to foster effort and persistence. In my current role as the Director of an applied research and evaluation team of interdisciplinary professionals, I concentrate my efforts to connecting research and evaluation to actual practice and policy on the ground, to illuminate what works, what doesn’t, and most importantly, where we can concentrate effort and resources to make improvements in programs serving children, youth, and families. Across the diverse areas of programming examined by our team, we fully appreciate the importance of developing positive relationships within programs as a key active ingredient to achieve positive impact. Understanding how such relationships are formed and how they lead to positive impacts not only can influence what we understand and do in specific programs, but can contribute towards a more general theory to guide the implementation of relationship-building across contexts.