The Human Development Public Engagement program leverages technology to communicate the results and real-world implications of faculty research to extension educators, community partners, volunteers, policymakers, and others in New York State and beyond. We involve students in research-public engagement activities, fostering learning opportunities for students while providing needed services in our communities. We also cultivate research-community partnerships, facilitating exchange and collaboration among researchers and stakeholders so that the tools that research produces are informed by and incorporated into practice in a significant way.


Valerie Reyna

Valerie Reyna
Department Extension Leader
(607) 255-6778

Allison Hermann

Allison Hermann
Extension Support Specialist
(607) 255-7735


HD Today e-NEWS
Discover HD TODAY e-NEWS, the quarterly digest of cutting-edge research from the Department of Human Development. Explore the HD Today e-NEWS website at and discover a wide range of resources:

This website is maintained by Human Development Outreach & Extension led by Valerie Reyna, Human Development Professor and Department Extension Leader. HD Today e-News is supported by Smith-Lever funds from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Public Engagement Programs Related to Aging and Health

Karl Pillemer, Professor 
The focus of this extension program is to promote outreach activities in the area of aging and life course development with an emphasis on: promoting social integration in later life, including intervention programs to reduce social isolation among older persons; improving the quality of care provided by employees in nursing homes; and improving cooperation and communication between families and staff in nursing homes. A new program area currently in development explores ways of engaging older persons in environmental volunteering, in collaboration with county Extension Associations in New York State.

Karl Pillemer, Professor 
Pillemer is a Principal Investigator and Co-Director of a center grant funded by the National Institute on Aging. This grant funds the Translational Research Institute for Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL), one of 13 Edward R. Roybal Centers on Applied Gerontology nationwide. The focus of TRIPLL is on chronic pain. Effective solutions to the problem of later-life pain require translating basic behavioral, social science, and medical research findings more rapidly into programs, practices and policies targeting older adults. TRIPLL supports research on chronic pain in the New York City area and in Ithaca. 

Public Engagement Programs Related to Law, Psychology, and Human Development

Charles Brainerd, Professor, Memory and Neuroscience Lab
Valerie Reyna, Professor, Department Extension Leader, Laboratory for Rational Decision Making

This program area involves research and translation of research regarding the nature of children's learning and memory and includes working directly with teachers and school administrators. The findings of this program of research on memory and cognition can be used in forensic contexts to improve interviewing techniques for child witnesses and victims, so that ultimately their testimony can be a more reliable source of evidence to identify perpetrators.

Stephen Ceci, Professor 
This program area involves translating voluminous, highly technical scientific literature on child witnesses for juvenile and family court judges, law guardians, and law enforcement professionals. Curricula, briefing books, webcasts and in vivo workshops are prepared for judges all around the US and Canada to help them deal with children in their courts.

John Eckenrode, Professor, Director, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research
This program area involves concerns child abuse and neglect, the effects of preventive interventions, translational research, and stress and coping processes.  Eckenrode leads a long-term evaluation of the effects of a program of nurse home visitation on the development of high-risk mothers and their children. He is also Director of the National Data Archive of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Public Engagement Programs Related to Women in Science

Wendy M. Williams, Professor, Director, Cornell Institute for Women in Science 
Stephen Ceci, Professor, Director, Cornell Institute for Women in Science

The Cornell Institute for Women in Science*** (CIWS) is a major new outreach initiative that will conduct and disseminate research on women's careers in science, and related lifecourse issues. Extension activities include national and NYS-wide distribution of outreach materials based on results of CIWS research; implementation of college- and university-based training/education modules on issues affecting women in science, especially at SUNY campuses in NYS; hands-on training sessions at multiple departments at Cornell (e.g., Chemistry, Mathematics) and other SUNY campuses (e.g., Buffalo) focusing on 'women in science' issues.

Public Engagement Programs Related to Youth Development

Wendy M. Williams, Professor 
This program area includes K-12 STEM Education Modules *** for traditionally underrepresented youth. The program is designed to increase their interest and participation in science by teaching them how to reason scientifically about problems in daily life.

Valerie Reyna, Professor, Department Extension Leader 
Reyna's Risk Reduction and Avoidance in Adolescence *** research involves a randomized control trial intervention to reduce unhealthy risk taking, especially behaviors that result in premature pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in high-school aged youth. The application of recent advances in cognitive developmental research to enhance risk reduction programs for adolescents instills new ways of framing risky decisions for adolescents. The outreach aspects of the research include faculty and students educating youth about scientific research, delivering a CDC-approved effective health curricula designed to reduce unhealthy risk taking, and serving as role models to high school and elementary students. Related websites: Risk Reduction and Avoidance in Adolescence.