Kimberly Kopko


Kimberly Kopko

Associate Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension and Associate Director of Extension and Outreach in the College of Human Ecology
249 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Phone: 607-254-6517 Fax: 607-255-4071
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Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Kimberly Kopko received her Ph.D. in Child Development from the Department of Human Development at Cornell University and joined the Department of Policy Analysis & Management in the College of Human Ecology after spending a year as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Ithaca College.  Her research and Extension work examines parenting and child development. Specific research and outreach interests include: teens being raised by custodial grandparents, the use of research and evidence-based parent education programs to promote positive parenting behaviors and strengthen families, and adolescent development.  Current academic and research interests incorporate an international dimension with a focus on parenting and family support and comparative parenting, family, and child social policies in Scandinavian countries.

Current Professional Activities:

Current activities include: 

1.  Serving as Director of Parenting in Context and advancing the goals of this Initiative including translating research related to parenting and adolescent development for Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) parent educators to use in their work with families, organizing professional development opportunities for CCE parent educators and advancing parent education programming efforts statewide. 

2. Conducting original research on grandparents raising teenage grandchildren.

3.  Participating in various projects as an Affiliate in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR).

4.  Developing international collaborations in the College of Human Ecology and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR).

Current Research Activities:

Current research examines parenting behaviors of custodial grandparent caregivers who are raising teenage grandchildren (aged 12-18).  Specifically, this line of research investigates the nature and quality of the relationship between youth and their custodial grandparents, with a focus on family processes, family communication, and grandparent-grandchild interactions related to discipline, rules and expectations for adolescent behavior.

A new and related area of research examines nonresidential parental involvement in custodial grandparent families with a focus on the involvement of nonresident mothers and the impact of this involvement on grandparents and grandchildren.

Current Public Engagement Activities:

Promoting the work of the Parenting in Context Project including developing translational materials for parent educators and the families with whom they work, producing parent education reports at the county, program and statewide levels, organizing professional development opportunities for parent educators and promoting the expansion of research and evidence-based programs for parents and youth across New York State.  

Integrating parenting education efforts with the work of translational and youth development researchers in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) and in 4-H Youth Development in an effort to expand the reach and impact of parenting education across New York State. 

Incorporating research and extension activities in the area of relative care, specifically, grandparents raising their teenaged grandchildren, including producing a series of Research Briefs and Caregiver Connection resources on topics related to custodial grandparent families.

Contributing member of the Parent Education Program Work Team (PWT).

Heading a subcommittee on Adolescent Development for the Parent Education Program Work Team (PWT).


Ph.D., Child Development - Cornell University Department of Human Development 
M.Ed., Human Development and Psychology - Harvard University Graduate School of Education
B.A., Psychology - Brown University, Magna Cum Laude, With Honors

Courses Taught:

Child Development: Theory and Practice.  DIS Copenhagen.  This 4-week course combines classroom learning in childhood and adolescence, with a learning lab immersion experience at summer camps and community organizations. The goal of the course is to introduce students to elements of education for children and young people in urban areas through active cultural and leisure activities. Students engage with children using their learning from the classroom to understand Danish/Nordic pedagogy in a hands-on context.  The course includes a Study Tour to Helsinki, Finland.

Related Websites:

Parenting in Context:

Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research:

Cornell Cooperative Extension (Youth and Families):

Administrative Responsibilities:

Associate Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension and Associate Director of Extension and Outreach in the College of Human Ecology

Director of the Parenting In Context Initiative

SUNY Faculty Senate representative for the College of Human Ecology

Policy Analysis and Management Department Extension Leader

Policy Analysis and Management Extension Committee Leader

University Public Engagement Communications Committee

Dean’s Fellowship in the History of Home Economics Committee

Cornell Cooperative Extension Scholarship Committee

Cornell Cooperative Extension Strategic Plan Advisory Committee

Management of various project grants and supervision of project staff, research assistants and student internships

Selected Publications:

Dunifon, R., Kopko, K., Chase-Lansdale, P.L. and Wakschlag, L. (2016).  Multigenerational relationships in families with custodial grandparents.  In M. H. Meyer & Y. Adbul-Malak (Eds.), Grandparenting in the United States.  New York: Baywood Publishing.  

Dunifon, R., Kopko, K. & Cook, E.L. (2016).  Multigenerational Relationships in Grandfamilies.

Dunifon, R., Kopko, K. & Cook, E.L. (2016).  Understanding and Managing Relationships in Grandfamilies

Dunifon, R., Ziol-Guest, K., & Kopko, K.  (2014).  Grandparent co-residence and family well-being: Implications for research and policy.  The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 654(1), 110-126.

Kopko, K.  (2013) The effects of the physical environment on children’s development.  Montessori Leadership, 15 (2), 27-29. 

Kopko, K., & Dunifon, R.  (2012).  The Cornell Cooperative Extension Statewide Data Collection System: An online data collection tool for parent education programs. Journal of Extension [On-line], 50(3) Article 3TOT2.  Available at:

Selected Keywords:
Parenting, Adolescent development, Family processes, Custodial grandparent families, Comparative parenting Scandinavia

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.