Our Team

Marc Brackett, Ph.D.

Marc Brackett, Ph.D.

Director | Email

Marc Brackett, Ph.D., is Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University. His grant-funded research focuses on the role of emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, relationship quality, wellbeing, performance, and organizational climate. Marc is the lead developer of RULER, an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning that has been adopted by over 1000 public, charter, and private schools across the United States and in other countries, including Australia, England, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. RULER infuses emotional intelligence into the fabric of a school through training for school leaders, educators and staff, students, and families, and has been shown to enhance wellbeing, academic performance, and school climate. Marc has published over 100 scholarly articles and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Joseph E. Zins award for his research on emotional intelligence in schools. His research is featured regularly in popular media, including the New York Times, Time Magazine, and National Public Radio. Marc regularly consults with school systems and companies around the world, including Schwab and Goldman Sachs, and for the last four years he has worked with Facebook to develop tools that help adults and children develop emotional intelligence and resolve online conflict. Marc also holds a 5th degree black belt in Hapkido, a Korean martial art. Follow him   read more

Robin Stern, Ph.D.

Robin Stern, Ph.D.

Associate Director | Email

Robin Stern, Ph.D., is the associate director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She is a licensed psychoanalyst, educator, and author, with over twenty-five years of experience treating individuals, couples, and groups. Robin holds a doctorate in applied psychology from New York University and a postdoctoral certificate in psychoanalytic group psychotherapy from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. She is on the faculty of Teacher’s College, Columbia University, where she co-teaches a class on emotional intelligence.  Robin is a co-developer of RULER, as well as a co-creator and a lead facilitator for Yale’s Institutes. At the Center, Robin is a principal investigator for the RULER for Parents project, which aims to increase parent involvement in children’s emotional intelligence education. She also works on High School RULER, adapting the curriculum for older students, and on a project to explore the intersection of self-awareness, emotion, and the arts. In collaboration with Facebook, she created a reporting process for cyberbullying incidents and a help center for bullied children. She is currently analyzing the data from that project to gain a deeper understanding of cyberbullying. Robin serves on the advisory board of Crisis Text Line, I''ll Go First, and Project Rebirth, is a member of the Emotionally Intelligence Consortium, and has authored three books. She is a founding member of the Woodhull Institute, where she spent 15 years creating and facilitating development programs for women leaders. She has been a guest on many local and national radio shows and has traveled widely to lecture on emotional intelligence. In 2014-15 Dr. Stern was a fellow in the Public Voices Fellowship, which led to publications in Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, Time.com, etc.  Robin resides in New York where she is very happy to live close to her son and   read more

Jim Hagen, Ph.D.

Jim Hagen, Ph.D.

Director for Advancement | Email

Jim Hagen, Ph.D., is the director for advancement for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. He develops the strategic partnerships needed to expand the scope and scale of Center research, evaluation, and programming. Jim holds a B.A. from Whitman College, an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State University and the University of Cincinnati, where he also taught, and he was a lecturer at John Carroll University and a visiting professor at Mount Holyoke College. He is the author of “Community in the Balance,” a book on morality, sorcery, and social change based on two years of fieldwork in eastern Indonesia. He has published several articles on kinship, gift exchange, and the origins of Indonesian nationalism. He is currently writing about compassion in modern history. He lives in Glastonbury, CT with his wife and two   read more

Danica Kelly, M.S.M.

Danica Kelly, M.S.M.

Director of Operations | Email

Danica Kelly, M.S.M., is director of financial operations at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. In this role, she monitors and maintains the Center’s fiscal health, overseeing budgets, business operations, and human resources. For ten years, prior to joining the Center, Danica held a variety of finance and business operations positions at Yale, starting at the Yale School of Management. She began her career working for housing authorities in southwestern Connecticut. Danica holds a B.A. in Psychology from Skidmore College. She holds a Master’s of Science in Management from Albertus Magnus College, where she was awarded honors in the Tagliatela School of Business and Leadership   read more

Dena Simmons, Ed.D.

Dena Simmons, Ed.D.

Director of Education | Email

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., is the director of education at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She received her B.A. from Middlebury College, her M.S.Ed. from Pace University, and her M.A. and Ed.D. from Columbia University, Teachers College. Dena oversees training, coaching, and education initiatives at the Center. Prior to her work at the Center, she served as an educator, teacher educator, diversity trainer, and curriculum developer. Dena’s primary research interest focuses on assessing teacher preparedness to address bullying in the K-12 school setting. Dena brings with her a wealth of knowledge on teacher education and pedagogy and has published several popular articles on teacher education, social justice pedagogy, education reform, and bullying. She has been invited to speak nationally, including a talk at the United Nations, two TEDx talks, and a TED talk on Broadway. Dena has been profiled in the AOL/PBS project, MAKERS: Women Who Make America, and a Beacon Press Book, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists.  Dena is a recipient of a Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a J. William Fulbright Fellowship, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, and a Phillips Exeter Academy Dissertation Fellowship among others. Dena serves on several boards of directors including the Paul and Daisy Soros Alumni Board. She enjoys cooking, practicing yoga, and writing creatively. Follow Dena on   read more

Valancia Ariyanayagam, M.B.A.

Valancia Ariyanayagam, M.B.A.

Financial Assistant IV | Email

Valancia Ariyanayagam is a financial assistant IV at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She earned her B.S. with honors in Finance from the University of New Haven, West Haven, CT. In 2012, she also completed her M.B.A. from the same university. Valancia is an accomplished business professional with over 10 years’ experience providing high-level administrative/financial support with project management, work-process optimization and strong leadership skills. She also brings expertise in relationship building, service follow-up, and budget planning and control. She resides in Woodbridge, Connecticut with her husband, son, and   read more

Michelle Lugo

Michelle Lugo

Executive Assistant to Marc Brackett | Email

Michelle Lugo is the Executive Assistant to the Director. She has been at Yale for nearly a decade supporting University leadership in various departments. Prior to joining the Center, she owned her own business and provided administrative support in the private sector. She graduated from Katharine Gibbs College. In her free time, Michelle is active in community service and volunteerism. She likes to read and enjoys going to the beach with her husband and   read more

Craig Bailey, Ph.D.

Craig Bailey, Ph.D.

Director of RULER for Early Childhood | Email

Craig S. Bailey, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Scientist and the Director of RULER for Early Childhood at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Craig and his team facilitate professional development workshops with early childhood educators, develop content for practicing and teaching emotional intelligence, and conduct psychological, educational, and intervention research. In particular, Craig specializes in children’s social and emotional learning in early childhood classrooms with an emphasis on how teachers support and promote the development of empathy and emotion regulation. With experience as an early childhood educator, Craig is passionate about bridging the gap between research and practice. In addition to his work at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Craig consults on many research initiatives, most prominently as the Director of Measurement and Evaluation for Think Equal. Craig earned his B.S. in psychology from South Dakota State University and his doctorate in applied developmental psychology from George Mason University. Craig's   read more

Therese Luetzgendorf, M.S.

Therese Luetzgendorf, M.S.

Research Assistant | Email

Therese Luetzgendorf, M.S., is a research assistant for the Early Childhood Team at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Her role entails research, content development, training, and support. Therese has worked in the early childhood setting for ten years in different roles, such as an infant, toddler and preschool teacher. She received her B.S. in Social Work with a minor in Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University, and her M.S. in Human Services from Albertus Magnus   read more

Bonnie Brown, M.S. Ed.

Bonnie Brown, M.S. Ed.

Senior Implementation Coach and Trainer | Email

Bonnie Brown, M.S. Ed., is a senior consultant for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She is a career educator who served for over 30 years in the New York City Department of Education and adjoining school districts. She specializes in working with children who have cognitive, sensory, emotional, and learning challenges. Until her retirement in 2010, Bonnie served as superintendent of District 75 in New York City, which serves 23,000 students with various educational challenges. As superintendent, Bonnie developed an online community for her 58 schools where administrators and teachers could participate in podcasts, webinars, meetings, and discussions. This community also served as a platform for her middle and high school students to participate in debates and practice daily living skills in a virtual world. Since Bonnie’s retirement, she has been working as a consultant, coach, and trainer for RULER. She designed and implemented RULER’s online community, where educators from across the globe can meet, attend webinars, read current research, share student work, and discuss their successes and challenges using RULER in all types of   read more

David Caruso, Ph.D.

David Caruso, Ph.D.

Research Affiliate | Email

David Caruso, Ph.D., is a management psychologist who develops and conducts emotional intelligence training around the world. He is the special assistant to the dean of Yale College. David received a Ph.D. in psychology from Case Western Reserve University and was a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development predoctoral fellow. He was then awarded a National Institute of Mental Health fellowship and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in developmental psychology at Yale University. He has co-authored dozens of scientific publications, as well as the Mayer, Salovey, Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test. He also co-wrote, with Peter Salovey, the practical, how-to book, “The Emotionally Intelligent Manager,” which introduced the Mood Meter and Blueprint. David is the co-author of “Emotionally Literate Teacher” and “Emotionally Literate School Administrator” with Marc Brackett and Robin Stern. David is the co-founder of EI Skills Group which provides certification in the MSCEIT, the ability test of emotional intelligence, and offers hands-on skills training on emotional intelligence. David also consults in the areas of leader development, career assessment, team effectiveness training, and executive   read more

Ruth Castillo Gualda, Ph.D.

Ruth Castillo Gualda, Ph.D.

RULER Consultant for Spanish Speaking Countries

Ruth Castillo Gualda, Ph.D. is a Psychologist with a specialization in social and emotionally learning. Ruth is a certified RULER trainer and coach, who has collaborated with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence since 2010. Ruth is the RULER Project Coordinator in Spain and consultant for high school RULER implementation in Mexico. Ruth received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Granada and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Emotional Intelligence from the University of Málaga. Her Ph.D. dissertation was co-supervised by Prof. Marc A. Brackett. Dr. Castillo is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Biological and Health Psychology Department, Faculty of Psychology, Autonoma University of Madrid, where she teaches in the Degree of Psychology and Master programs. She is the co-author of several scholarly articles and communications that address the significance of Emotional Intelligence on psychological functioning and well-being. and has collaborated on research projects focused on the promotion of positive youth development.   read more

Daniel Cordaro, Ph.D.

Daniel Cordaro, Ph.D.

Director of Wellbeing | Email

Daniel Cordaro, Ph.D. is the Director of Wellbeing at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Daniel’s research focuses on developing a new test of emotional intelligence to assess five skills:  recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotions. This work aims to develop a new way to test people’s emotional skills and measure how emotional intelligence plays a role in human well-being. Another aspect of Daniel’s work focuses more broadly on human emotion and, in particular, one that is  related closely to human wellness and satisfaction with life - contentment. He aims to create a new line of research on contentment, differentiating it from related emotions like happiness and learning about how it can be cultivated in schools and at work. Daniel received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley where he directed the Universal Expression Project - a program that aimed to decode the universal language of human expression across eleven cultures. After working with ten industrial nations and one remote, isolated village in Bhutan, Daniel found evidence for over 30 expressions in the face and voice that were recognized despite profound cultural boundaries. He also collected over 5500 expressions of emotion from five of these cultures and coded them all, muscle by muscle. The Universal Expression Project found evidence for not only universal patterns in emotional expression, but also some fascinating cultural variations and individual differences.   read more

Diana Divecha, Ph.D.

Diana Divecha, Ph.D.

Research Affiliate | Email

Diana Divecha, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist and research affiliate with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.  She collaborates with Center researchers on RULER’s approach to bullying prevention, as well as on thought leadership and informing public opinion on the relevance of emotional intelligence. Diana served on the psychology faculty of Sonoma State University in northern California where she co-founded and chaired the Department of Human Development.  She taught courses on development from birth through the period of emerging adulthood, with a special emphasis on cognitive development, culture, and the development of the self. Diana has worked with children with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and severe behavior problems. She has guided parent education in several schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently writes about research on children’s development and advises organizations, like the Greater Good Science Center and Futures Without Violence, on matters pertaining to children and families. Her website is   read more

Nicole Elbertson, M.Ed.

Nicole Elbertson, M.Ed.

Director of Blended Learning | Email

Nicole (Nikki) Elbertson is the director of blended learning at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. In various research and training roles at the Center for over 15 years, she has managed and coordinated several projects focused on the development, implementation, and evaluation of RULER from elementary through high school. Nikki has contributed to the design and publication of the Center’s research studies and curricula, and she is the co-author of several scholarly articles, papers, and book chapters. Currently, she focuses on content development for the Center’s RULER online portal and serves as a RULER trainer and coach. Outside of her work at the Center, she is a certified group fitness instructor, teaching strength training and aerobics classes.   read more

Tom Forget, Ph.D.

Tom Forget, Ph.D.

Implementation Coach and Trainer

Tom Forget, Ph.D., is a life-long educator. He began his professional career teaching in a high school in the Bronx, moved to the principalship of a PK-8 elementary school in Yonkers, and later served as principal of another PK-8 elementary school in the Bronx. During his service as teacher and principal, Tom was certified by the State of NY as a building supervisor and district superintendent. He obtained a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision from Fordham University. Following his PK-12 service, Tom moved to higher education, teaching as an adjunct assistant professor at Fordham, and joining senior administration of Sacred Heart University. He served as the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs of the University for 11 years. As a VP, he continued teaching educators in the University’s College of Education and upon completing service as Provost joined the faculty of the Department of Educational Leadership full-time. Tom’s research interests are in the areas of school leadership, teacher morale, virtue in educator preparation programs, and holistic education. Recently, he has served as a coach for urban school principals and their leadership teams on emotional intelligence in schools for the RULER Approach of the Yale Center for Emotional   read more

Jessica Hoffmann, Ph.D.

Jessica Hoffmann, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist | Email

Jessica Hoffmann, Ph.D., is an associate research scientist at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She serves as project director for RULER for high schools, which helps bring social-emotional learning to high school students and educators to promote safe, nurturing environments where students and educators can reach their full potential. Jessica received her B.A. in psychology and sociology from Brandeis University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Jessica specializes in working within school settings to develop creative interventions aimed at enhancing children’s creative thinking to promote adaptive coping and enhance mental health. Her current research focuses on the efficacy of RULER for high schools, including the impact of emotion skills instruction on school climate, creative problem solving, and emotion regulation   read more

Kathryn Lee, M.A.

Kathryn Lee, M.A.

Project Director of RULER for Families | Email

Kathryn Lee, M.A., is the project director of RULER for families, which explores emotional skill building in the home as well as innovative pathways for developing partnerships between families and schools. Among the projects in development are an emotionally intelligent workshop series, dynamic online resources for families, and an online guide for schools to direct their family engagement efforts. Kathryn is longtime advocate for “real world education,” relevant to a rapidly changing world. She has taught preschool–middle school, served as a senior administrator of an independent school in the Bay Area of California, curated at TEDx event on Compassion and Education, designed nationally recognized service learning and environmental stewardship programs, and Ashoka selected her as a Change Leader for catalyzing empathy into action. Kathryn holds a B.A. in human development from the University of the Pacific, and an M.A. in early childhood education from Mills College. Most importantly, she is a   read more

Madeline Chaffee, B.S.P.H., CHES

Madeline Chaffee, B.S.P.H., CHES

Project Manager for RULER for Families | Email

Madeline Chaffee is a Project Manager for RULER for families. RULER for families supports emotional skill building in the home, as well as explores opportunities to further develop partnerships between families and schools. As a Program Manager, Madeline will be working with the families team to help schedule and facilitate workshops, provide ongoing support to RULER schools, and develop resources for RULER schools and their families. Prior to coming to Yale, Madeline worked as a Health Educator for a county health department in Montana and was the lead Health Educator for five School Based Health Centers in Stamford, Connecticut. While the bulk of her experience is in working with middle and high school aged students, she enjoys working with children and families of all ages to help them lead healthier and happier lives. Madeline holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Southern Connecticut State University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and ACE Certified Health   read more

Andrea Livolsi, M.A.T.

Andrea Livolsi, M.A.T.

Implementation Coach

Andrea Livolsi is a second grade teacher for Hamden Public Schools, as well as a consultant for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She received her B.A. and M.A.T. at Quinnipiac University. Andrea has worked as an elementary educator for 13 years, teaching kindergarten, second and third grade. During her tenure, she has served on professional development committees, presented professional development, and written curriculum.  Andrea was trained as a teacher trainer for RULER in 2011. She has since trained teachers in her district, utilized it daily in her classroom and acted as a table facilitator for RULER during the summer Anchors of Emotional Intelligence Institute. Andrea serves on the Connecticut Science Teachers Association Award Banquet committee.  She enjoys traveling, cooking and   read more

Miriam Miller, M.A.

Miriam Miller, M.A.

Senior Implementation Coach and Trainer

Miriam Miller, M.A., is a consultant and coach for The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.  Miriam has been training educators in RULER since 2009 and is based in Vancouver, BC. In addition to her work at the Center Miriam works as an educational consultant in Vancouver, Canada to support professional learning and growth in the area of social and emotional development, school safety, and healthy classroom and school climates. Miriam holds a M.A. from the University of British Columbia and is currently completing her doctoral studies in Human Development, Learning and Culture, with a specialization in SEL, in the department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and Special Education at the University of British   read more

Julia Moeller, Ph.D.

Julia Moeller, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate | Email

Julia Moeller is a postdoctoral associate in the Emotion Revolution research project at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Julia’s research interests bridge topics of the psychology of motivation, development, and personality. She wrote her Ph.D. thesis about passion, and studied situational aspects of emotions, engagement and task values during her first year as a postdoc. Generally, Julia is interested in trait and state determinants of the motivation to approach, engage and persist in learning activities. Julia’s recent focus lies on state and trait aspects of academic emotions. This has led her to study the ‘dark side’ of high motivation (motivation blended with exhaustion, stress, anxiety), and the ‘bright side’ of negative emotions (e.g. anxiety, stress, and frustration blended with positive, beneficial experiences). Julia is particularly interested in the beneficial and potentially harmful aspects of motivation and emotions in learning settings, their situational, personal, and contextual determinants, and the possibilities to identify and support students’ emotional and motivational needs. To examine situational variability and heterogeneity in sample populations, Julia uses intensive longitudinal data (e.g. Experience Sampling Method) and person-oriented approaches. She has recently published two articles about potential problems of using z-scores in the analyses of profiles and longitudinal studies. Julia received her master’s degree (diploma) in Psychology from the Free University of Berlin, Germany, and her doctoral degree from the University of Erfurt, Germany. During her first year as a post-doc she worked with Katariina Salmela-Aro and Jari Lavonen at the University of Helsinki, Finland and received mentoring in the international post-doctoral Program “Pathways to Adulthood” by the Jacobs Foundation. www.juliamoeller.wordpress.com   read more

Zorana Ivcevic Pringle, Ph.D.

Zorana Ivcevic Pringle, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist | Email

Zorana Ivcevic Pringle, Ph.D., is an associate research scientist for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Zagreb in Croatia, received her Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire, and did postdoctoral work at the Interpersonal Communication and Interaction Laboratory at Tufts University. Zorana’s research interests involve the role of emotions, emotional intelligence and self-regulation in creativity and achievement in both school and professional work. Zorana is currently the principal investigator on three projects: (1) Emotion, Creativity and the Arts (sponsored by the Botin Foundation), (2) Self-Regulation in Creativity (sponsored by the Imagination Institute), (3) Creativity, Art and Resilience (sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts), and (4) Emotion Revolution in the Workplace (sponsored by the Faas Foundation). Zorana has published work in numerous academic journals, including Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Personality, Applied Cognitive Psychology, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, Creativity Research Journal, and Journal of Creative Behavior. She is on the editorial board of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, and is an associate editor of the International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving. Zorana received the Mensa Education and Research Foundation’s Award for Excellence in Research for her research on emotional intelligence and emotional creativity and the Berlyne Award for Outstanding Early Career Achievement in psychology of aesthetics, creativity, and the arts from Division 10 of the American Psychological   read more

Maria Rivera, M.A.

Maria Rivera, M.A.

Implementation Coach

Maria Rivera, M.A., is a trainer and coach for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She has almost 30 years experience in education and education management. She has held multiple leadership positions, including Principal for several New York City Public Schools and more recently Director of Student Teaching and Internship Placement Coordinator at the University of Bridgeport, School of Education. She received her B.A. from Herbert H. Lehman College in Elementary Education and Psychology and her M.A. in Educational Administration from Columbia University, Teachers   read more

Apara Ranjan, Ph.D.

Apara Ranjan, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher | Email

Apara Ranjan is a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Her research interests broadly focus on the psychology of creativity, the role of emotions and individual differences in creativity, and cross-cultural psychology. The focus of her current research is the relationship between self-regulation, creativity, and resilience, and how self-regulation helps transform creative ideas into achievements. This research is sponsored by the Imagination Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. She received her Ph.D. in psychology and interdisciplinary studies from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her PhD research was about understanding the creative process across different artistic domains and how both personal style and inspirational source come together in the generation of a creative work. She holds a MA in Cognitive Science from the Centre for Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad, India. Prior to her work at the Center, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, where her research focused on understanding how culture shapes design thinking. Prior to that she was a Research Associate at University of California, Berkeley. Apara also enjoys teaching. She has developed and taught courses on psychology of humor, organizational creativity, psychology of creativity and Usability. She worked as a lecturer at University of British   read more

Sharon Shapses, M.S.

Sharon Shapses, M.S.

Senior Implementation Coach and Trainer | Email

Sharon Shapses, M.S., is a Preschool RULER and RULER for Families consultant and coach for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She holds a M.S in early childhood from Bank Street College of Education, as well as a certificate in coaching from New York University. For more than 35 years in the field of early childhood development and education, Sharon has served as a parent cooperative preschool director, parent educator, adjunct assistant professor, and instructional coach. At the Center, she works with the Preschool RULER team training and coaching preschool teachers and administrators. As a member of the RULER for Families team she develops resources to engage parents in the RULER Approach to Social and Emotional Learning. She continues to conduct RULER Anchor Tool and Feeling Words Curriculum trainings, as well as individualized coaching sessions for teachers and school leaders. Drawing on her love of children’s literature, she helped develop the Feeling Words Curriculum for kindergarten through second grade classrooms. Her interests include yoga, gardening, attending theater and modern dance, being in nature, sailing, and spending time with family, friends, and her dog,   read more

Michael Strambler, Ph.D.

Michael Strambler, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist | Email

Michael J. Strambler, Ph.D. is an associate research scientist at Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and is based at The Consultation Center in New Haven, CT. A main aspect of his research centers on how home and school environments shape students’ emotional and psychological investment in academics and such investment impacts their academic and social-emotional wellbeing. Along with Lance Linke, Mike co-directs a collaborative project between Bridgeport Public Schools, Yale School of Medicine, and Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence aimed at promoting social emotional learning which includes implementation of RULER. A key component to this work also focuses on capacity building around the use of data for informing practice. Mike received his B.A. from Morehouse College, his M.A. from Stony Brook University, and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. He has earned several grants and awards including those from the Ford Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, Tauck Family Foundation, and the American Psychological Foundation and he is the author of numerous scholarly articles and   read more

Mela Toro Waters, M.S.

Mela Toro Waters, M.S.

Training Coordinator | Email

Mela Waters is Training Coordinator at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. As part of her role, she organizes leadership development conferences for school leaders and RULER training events for educators in order to create emotionally intelligent schools. Mela holds a certificate in Executive and Organizational Coaching from New York University. Under Dr. David Caruso, she received training in the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT).  Mela is currently enrolled in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology masters program at University of New Haven. She has a B.A. in Graphic/Information Design and a M.S. in Educational Technology. Mela has a combined 12-year experience in educational technology and design. Beside working at Yale ITS and Apple, she taught in the classroom, advised middle school students, and integrated technology into K-8 curriculum at the Independent Day School. Mela enjoys co-chairing Future Leaders of Yale (FLY) affinity group, where she coordinates professional development training and facilitates the FLY Mentorship Program for Yale’s young professionals. Beside coaching millennials and leading group coaching sessions, she has presented on topics such as “Leading Millennials in the Workplace”, “Establishing a Mentoring Relationship”, “Generations at Work”,   read more

Benjamin Toll, Ph.D.

Benjamin Toll, Ph.D.

Director of the Health, Emotion, and Behavior Research Program | Email

Benjamin Toll, Ph.D., is the director of the Health, Emotion, and Behavior Research Program at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. He is also an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, a member of Yale Cancer Center, and the program director of the Smoking Cessation Service for Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Benjamin has a long-standing collaboration with other Center team members advancing the Center’s robust health messaging research program. This line of inquiry aims to encourage healthy lifestyle choices across the lifespan in the general population. It includes investigations into how best to leverage emotions and a range of psychological variables in communications designed to dissuade people from using nicotine and tobacco, an area of particular interest and expertise for Benjamin. Benjamin has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications relating to nicotine and tobacco research, including a policy statement from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) encouraging physicians to provide tobacco treatment for cancer patients and the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) treatment guidelines for smoking cessation amongst lung cancer patients. He holds leadership positions in several national associations relating to tobacco treatment   read more

Seth Wallace

Seth Wallace

Project Coordinator | Email

Seth Wallace joined the Center in the summer of 2014. He has worked in psychology research at Yale since 2010, and currently works as a coordinator for the inspirED project, collaborating with Facebook and high schools across the country to develop resources for students and teachers looking to create positive emotional climate in schools. Seth is completing his M.S.W. at Southern Connecticut State University with a particular focus on gender and sexuality, and an internship at the Yale LGBTQ Resource Center. He has almost 15 years of activism experience and consults schools and organizations in New England on topics LGBTQ identity. In his spare time, he coordinates public LGBTQ events for the New Haven   read more

Mark Weiss, M.A.

Mark Weiss, M.A.

Implementation Coach

Mark Weiss, M.A., has been the Director of Education for Operation Respect for 13 years. He was a New York City school principal for 20 years, founding the first alternative high school in the Bronx in 1979 and leading that school for 13 years. In 1993, he founded a New Visions 6-12 grade public school, School for the Physical City, heralded in a New York Times Magazine cover story as “A City School Experiment That Actually Works.” He led that school for more than 7 years. Mr. Weiss brings his commitment and expertise in building school communities of respect and learning to his work with Operation Respect and to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence as a consultant. At Operation Respect, he directs a staff of trainers who lead workshops focusing on social and emotional learning and promoting positive school climate nationally from New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina, to the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, and internationally in Israel and Palestine, Jordan, Ukraine, and most recently, Japan. He lives in Putnam Valley, New York with his wife, Jane, enjoying the nearby families of their three adult daughters and four   read more

Arielle White, M.A.

Arielle White, M.A.

Research Assistant | Email

Arielle White is a research assistant for the Emotion Revolution project at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Her role entails the cleaning, coding, and analysis of large datasets, survey creation, review of literature, and manuscript writing. Her primary interest in this project is current school climate for students across the U.S. and improvements to policy that will promote student health and agency and foster a more positive, nurturing environment for adolescent development. Her research interests lie more broadly in the creation and maintenance of social locations within a cultural hierarchy that are determined by self vs. other perceptions of sexual orientation, gender identity, and race/ethnicity. Additionally, she is interested in how these facets of identity intersect and manifest in both individual- and group-level experiences within specific points of time and across generations. She is particularly concerned with capturing and articulating the experiences of marginalized groups and the larger role of emotional intelligence in developing empathy, reducing prejudice, and improving overall well-being. During her undergraduate career, she researched aesthetics and perceptions of creativity in various types of artists under the supervision of Dr. James Kaufman. Her Honors thesis was published in the Division 10 journal for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts; she has co-authored several book chapters on this topic. As an undergraduate she was also a recipient of the SPSP Diversity Undergraduate Registration Award. She completed her Master’s degree at San Francisco State University under the supervision of Dr. Charlotte Tate, where she focused on perceptions of and attitudes toward sexual minority groups and related personality traits as well as the psychometric properties and validity of relevant measurement   read more