Paula Smith portrait
  • Associate Professor, Educational Leadership&Policy

Research Summary

I am a developmental psychologist with expertise in school-based preventive intervention. My research focuses on preventing youth involvement with risky behavior, such as violence, drugs and early sexual debut. Specifically, my research uses a collaborative framework for working with teachers and school leaders to develop a positive school climate to provide youth with social and emotional support coupled with expectations for academic excellence.

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, BS, Cornell University
  • Master of Arts, MA, University of Chicago
  • Master of Arts, MA, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., University of Illinois Chicago

Biography

I am a developmental psychologist with expertise in school-based preventive intervention. My research uses a risk and protective factors framework to understand youth involvement with risky behavior, such as violence, drugs, early sexual debut to prevent their engagement with the juvenile justice system. My research uses a collaborative framework for working with teachers and school leaders to develop a positive school climate to provide youth with social and emotional support coupled with expectations for academic excellence.  Importantly, this preventive intervention framework engages a systemic, comprehensive, and sustainable approach towards positive youth development. 

KEY WORDS: K-12 education, social justice, school-based prevention, prevention research, youth risk behaviors, juvenile justice, risk and protective factors