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Edsby Social Emotional Advisory Board

Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl

Dr. Schonert-Reichl is the NoVo Foundation Endowed Chair in Social and Emotional Learning in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. From 1991 to 2020, she was a Professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education in the Faculty of Education at University of British Columbia. A renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL), Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s research focuses on identification of the processes that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism, and resiliency in children and adolescents. Her projects in this area include studies examining the effectiveness of classroom-based universal SEL programs including including MindUP. Dr. Schonert-Reichl has over 150 publications in scholarly journals, book chapters, and reports, and has edited two books on mindfulness in education. She has presented over 300 research papers at scholarly conferences and has given over 400 presentations on the topic of children’s social and emotional development and SEL to lay audiences, including parents, community organizations, educators, and policy makers. She is a Board Member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).


Dr. M. Jennifer Kitil

Dr. Kitil is a Research Associate in Social & Emotional Learning at the University of British Columbia Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP). She earned her PhD in Human Development at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl. Prior to that, she earned her BA in Psychology and MPH in Community Health Sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research investigates the efficacy of social and emotional learning programs on the well-being of children and youth in school settings. She is particularly interested in the role that neurocognition, self-regulation, and mindfulness-based practices, have on developmental outcomes that include well-being and the cultivation of positive human qualities. She has also served as a consultant for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

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Dr. Jenna Whitehead

Jenna Whitehead received her PhD in Human Development, Learning, and Culture (HDLC) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She completed her MA in HDLC and her BSc in behavioural neuroscience at UBC. She has been the lab coordinator for 10 years in Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl’s SEL Lab and has coordinated several large-scale research projects in schools, evaluating SEL programs such as MindUP and Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). She has been an academic consultant for agencies such as MindUP, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, Emotional, Learning (CASEL), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Her research focuses on the social and emotional development of children and adolescents, with particular interest in the impact of student-teacher relationships on student well-being, prosociality, and academic success.


Dr. Molly Lawlor

Dr. Molly Stewart Lawlor is an expert in child and adolescent social and emotional development. Dr. Lawlor’s research includes the investigation of mindfulness and psychological adjustment in children and adolescents, and evaluations of social-emotional learning programs for children and adolescents in school settings. She is lead author and serves as the Director for Curriculum and Research for the MindUP program, an evidence-based social and emotional learning program grounded in neuroscience. Dr. Lawlor is also an advisor to children’s media projects including Peabody award-winning Stillwater (Apple TV), the award-winning Scout and the Gumboot Kids (Canadian Broadcasting Company), and Committee for Children’s Mind Yeti, a guided mindfulness app. Molly is passionate about bringing research to practice in order to make social and emotional learning and contemplative practice accessible for all children and their adults.