Jessica Kilday

  • Postdoctoral Fellow

Jessica is a postdoctoral fellow with the Prosocial Development and Education Research Lab under the supervision of Dr. Christi Bergin. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in the Combined Program of Education and Psychology. Her research focuses on peer and teacher relationships in the classroom and how these shape youth’s motivational beliefs and academic adjustment during early adolescence. Currently, she supports two grant-funded intervention projects, which aim to build teachers’ capacity to promote prosocial behavior and positive climate in middle school.

The IES-funded project, ECHO: Prosocial and Positive School Climate is a program that adapts the ECHO telementoring model to offer free monthly professional development sessions to middle school educators. In virtual sessions, teachers meet as a cohort with a panel of subject matter experts from the University of Missouri. They present authentic cases from their classrooms, which are used as the focus of group discussion and presentation of research that will support classroom practice. We expect the intervention to provide tools that will enhance students’ prosocial behavior and classroom achievement, as well as increase teachers’ confidence, promote higher-quality teaching practices, and reduce feelings of isolation and burnout. The Mathematics, Social-Emotional Learning and Equity (Math+SEL+E) project, funded by a SEED grant, aims to increase the number of middle grades mathematics teachers who have the capacity and confidence to lead social-emotional learning (SEL), equity, and mathematics integration.

Areas of Expertise

  • Achievement motivation and engagement
  • Peer relationships (e.g., friendship, social status)
  • Early adolescence
  • Teacher-student relationships
  • Classroom social climate