Nicole Brass

  • Postdoctoral Fellow

Nicole is a postdoctoral fellow with the Prosocial Development and Education Research Lab under the supervision of Dr. Christi Bergin. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in the Combined Program of Education and Psychology. Her research focuses on how peer relations such as popularity, friendship, and social reputations contribute to academic and social adjustment at school during early adolescence. Currently, she leads the research efforts on an IES-funded intervention project titled, ECHO: Prosocial and Positive School Climate, which aims to build middle school teachers’ capacity to promote prosocial behavior and maintain a positive classroom environment for their students.

ECHO: Prosocial and Positive School Climate is a program that applies the ECHO model to education to build middle school teachers’ capacity to promote prosocial (kind) behavior between students and maintain a positive and welcoming classroom environment. ECHO is a telementoring model designed to address the research-to-practice gap in medicine to reach physicians in isolated rural and under-resourced urban areas to offer optimal, cutting-edge, research-based practice to their patients. In our adaptation of this model, teachers attend free monthly professional development sessions as a cohort with a panel of subject matter experts from the University of Missouri for one academic year. Sessions include teachers presenting authentic cases from their classroom, followed by group discussion of the cases, and then a 20-minute didactic on cutting-edge research. Not only do we expect the positive outcomes for students like increased prosocial behavior and achievement, but also for teachers, we expect greater self-efficacy, reduced feelings of isolation and burnout and higher-quality teaching practices.