Senior Extension Associate; Associate Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension and Associate Director of Extension and Outreach in the College of Human Ecology
387 Roberts Hall
Ithaca, New York
Policy Analysis and Management
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research


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 family processes. Current research and outreach projects include: parenting and child learning, parenting education in School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs), teens being raised by custodial grandparents, and the use of research and evidence-based parent education programs to promote positive parenting behaviors and strengthen families.  Ongoing academic and research interests incorporate an international dimension with a focus on comparative parenting and child and family social policies in Scandinavian countries.


Current research examines parenting and child learning, parenting education in School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs), and teens being raised by custodial grandparents. 

Parenting and child learning research explores the relation among parental beliefs about child learning, their toy preferences, and their education and socioeconomic status (SES).  Specifically, this line of research investigates the ways in which parental beliefs about early child learning shapes toy choices and opportunities that children aged 6 months to 4 years have at home to develop their cognitive skills through play.  

Parenting Education in SBHCs research-extension work explores the feasibility and impact of expanding existing services provided by SBHCs in rural New York to enhance sustainability of families and communities. The extension component entails community-based intervention to provide parent education in SBHCs; the research component examines impact of SBHCs and parent education.

Teens being raised by custodial grandparents research explores 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 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.

Kopko, K.  (2019, February 14).  Special Report: Disconnect to reconnect (Christina L. Episcopo, Interviewer) [Video clip].  Retrieved from

Kopko, K. (interviewee), Whitlock, J. (Host) (2018). Give all children a chance (Episode 23)[Audio podcast]. 

Chapman, J., & Kopko, K. (2018).  Outcomes of Participants in Cornell Cooperative Extension Parent Education Programs, 2017-2018.

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., 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. 

1. Directing the Parenting Project: Healthy Children, Families & Communities and advancing the goals of this Initiative including translating parenting research 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 parenting and child learning, parenting education in School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs), teens being raised by custodial grandparents, and the role of the biological mother in custodial grandparent families

3. Participating in parenting and 2Gen projects as an Affiliate in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR)

4. Developing international collaborations in the College of Human Ecology 

Promoting the work of the The Parenting Project: Healthy Children, Families & Communities 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 families across New York State.  

Integrating parenting education efforts with Project 2Gen, a new initiative in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) that focuses on addressing the needs of vulnerable children and their parents together to capitalize on the strong connection between parents’ well-being and children’s healthy development, in an effort to expand the reach and impact of parenting education across New York State. 

Incorporating research and extension activities in the areas of of parenting and child learning, parenting education in School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs), and relative care, specifically, grandparents raising their teenaged grandchildren.  

Producing a series of Research Briefs and Parent Pages for parent educators and parents and caregivers on topics related to these research areas.

Participating in Parent Education Program Work Team (PWT) efforts.

Population & Family Policy Practicum. DIS Copenhagen.  This 1-credit faculty-led program explores three topic areas on comparative social policies: Integration and Multiculturalism in Denmark; Sexuality Education in the European Union; and Changing Family Patterns in Scandinavia and includes site visits to the Danish Ministry for Children and Social Affairs, to a Danish middle school, a mosque and youth center in Malmö, Sweden, and Sex and Society, Denmark’s largest non-governmental organization (NGO) in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

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.

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

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

Director of The Parenting Project: Healthy Children, Families & Communities 

SUNY Faculty Senate representative for the College of Human Ecology

Committee on Academic Title-Holder Representation

University Public Engagement Communications Committee

Dean’s Fellowship in the History of Home Economics Committee

Policy Analysis and Management Department Extension Leader

Cornell Cooperative Extension Scholarship Committee

Cornell Cooperative Extension Strategic Plan 2018-2022 Advisory Committee

Robert S. Smith Endowment Oversight Committee

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