Meet the dedicated and passionate staff at Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development!

Executive Director

Kris most recently served as Senior Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom of California and Deputy Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency where she led the development of the California Master Plan for Early Learning and Care and the expansion of access to high-quality early childhood programs. She led systems change efforts at the local, state and national levels in her roles as executive director of First 5 San Mateo, First 5 California and of the First Five Years Fund. Through it all, Perry has fought to protect children, improve and expand early learning programs, and increase investments in low-income children. Perry was instrumental in returning marriage equality to California after the landmark 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Hollingsworth v. Perry, which she wrote about in her book Love on Trial (Roaring Forties Press, 2017).

Office Administrator

Delany joined the Children and Screens team in 2023 and is involved in assisting with daily operations within the organization. She brings nearly ten years of experience working in education as well as her passion for academics and children to the Institute. She recently settled in Oregon, near family, and enjoys the arts and being outdoors.


Director of Research and Programs

Dr. Blocker is a developmental psychologist with a passion for translating scientific research into resources that support holistic, healthy child development. She received her BA in Psychology from the Elon University, followed by a PhD in Experimental Psychology (Developmental Sciences Concentration, Statistics Minor) from the University of Alabama. In addition to her academic background in child development, Kate also has direct experience leading youth development programs in her local community. At the Institute, Kate oversees the interdisciplinary research and public education programs, including the Digital Media and Developing Minds Congress, Ask the Experts webinar series, research retreats, seed grants, and more. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, exploring the great outdoors, playing board games, reading, and spoiling her rescue pup.

Digital Media and Communications Associate

Katharine earned her MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from New York University in May, 2023, and her BA in English, with a concentration in Professional Writing, from Fairfield University in 2017. Katharine completed a marketing internship with Children and Screens in the summer of 2022, and began working full-time with the organization in May, 2023. She has a background in freelance writing and copy editing. Outside of work she enjoys reading, drawing, and creative writing.

Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement

Jill is responsible for planning and executing all marketing strategy, overseeing a wide variety of written and visual content, public presentations, messaging campaigns, internal and external communications, and building partnerships to advance the work of the Institute. Jill brings more than 25 years of non-profit strategic communications to the Institute. Most recently, she served as the inaugural Director of Communications at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), an international membership organization that promotes the use of developmental research to improve human lives. Prior to joining SRCD, she was Director of Communications at the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), a nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts dedicated to working across political and ideological lines to advance understanding of programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance. Jill also spent seven years with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), most recently as Director of Communications. Jill earned an MA in Public Policy and Women’s Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a concentration in Speech Communication, both from the George Washington University.

Financial Advisor and Chief Financial Officer 

Dr. Robert C. Charles is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of NC and SC and has a Juris Doctorate degree from the Charlotte School of Law. He spent much of his earlier career working in local and regional CPA Firms in the State of South Carolina and North Carolina. Following his time in public accounting firms he served as the CFO and Controller for a number of large healthcare, non-profit, and governmental organizations in the Carolinas and southeast. He is currently the founder and principal shareholder of Robert Charles, CPA, P.A. and provides consulting services to various entities on tax and accounting matters. He is currently published in the NC CPA Interim Report and the SC CPA Magazine and frequently speaks at CPA Conferences on Professional Development and other technical accounting and tax subjects. He has served as an adjunct accounting professor at Columbia College, Johnson C. Smith University, Midlands Technical College, and other institutions of higher education.

Chief Science Officer

Dr. Christakis is the Institute’s inaugural Chief Science Officer. He is also Director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Christakis is a leading expert on how media affects child health and development. He has published dozens of media-related studies and co-authored a groundbreaking book, The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids. His work has been featured on Anderson Cooper 360, the Today Show, ABC, NBC, and CBS news as well as all major national newspapers. Christakis received his undergraduate degree at Yale University and his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Community Health Project Manager

Dr. Roxy Etta is a human ecologist that is dedicated to empowering children, families, and communities in the digital world. She received her BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focused on effects of digital media on children’s learning and caregiver-child interactions. At the Institute, Roxy conducts community-based research to inform accessible and effective resources. In her free time, she enjoys powerlifting and cargo biking around Madison, Wisconsin with her family.


Graphic Designer

Levi is an Emmy-nominated illustrator and graphic designer living in Seattle. He is the co-author and illustrator of Washington’s Gay General: The Legends of Loves of Baron von Steuben (Abrams 2023), a graphic novel biography of a forgotten queer icon of American history, written by Josh Trujillo. In addition to his work in publishing, Levi brings nearly 20 years of professional design experience to Children and Screens.


Project Manager 

Lauren received a B.S. in Psychology with minors in Child and Adolescent Development and Diversity and Inclusion from Lasell College, and M.A. in Psychology from Stony Brook University. After graduating in 2018 Lauren joined the Children and Screens team as the Executive Assistant. Highlights included coordinating a 4-day conference, collaborating with staff and interns, and traveling with the Founder and President to inform the public of the latest findings in the field. Lauren re-joined the team in early 2021 and has greatly enjoyed the experience since. Outside of work, Lauren often spends time hanging out with family and friends, exploring the great outdoors, trying new recipes, and when possible, traveling to new places.

Project Coordinator

Dr. Daniel Hipp is a dedicated scientist and scholar who is deeply curious about how human minds and brains develop and stay healthy in a world in which screens are everywhere. His research about how video game exposure changes the visual mind earned him his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Brain Science from the Infant and Child Studies Lab at Binghamton University in 2015. More recently, Dr. Hipp developed an innovative and dynamic tool for measuring digital addiction that is both useful for clinicians and capable of adapting to changes in the digital media landscape.  Beyond these scholarly pursuits, he loves Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, snowboarding, his two awesome kids, and the Buffalo Bills.

Assistant Graphic Designer

Marie lives in San Diego and is currently attending college to obtain her bachelor’s degree in graphic design. She initially completed a summer internship with Children and Screens, and officially joined the team in 2022. Marie loves anything art and design related, and her hobbies include visiting art museums, creating art, and attending workshops in her free time.



Research and Programs Assistant

Melinda brings fifteen years of interdisciplinary research experience in neuroscience, media, and psychology to Children and Screens. Most recently, she received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Purdue University, where she studied the development of eating and anxiety disorders during adolescence. She also holds master’s degrees in media and experimental psychology from The University of Leeds in England and Villanova University. Outside of academia, she has written a blog for Psychology Today called The Neuroscience of Eating Disorders, has guested on several eating disorder-related podcasts to discuss eating disorder development, and has volunteered with the nonprofits BEAT and The Human Health Project. In her free time, Melinda enjoys exploring outside, doing anything music-related, and creative projects.

Senior Policy and Research Manager

Dr. Mootz received his B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento. He worked as a Research Assistant at Oregon Health & Science University, where he then completed his Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience studying genetic and molecular mechanisms of addiction. During graduate school, John served as an organizer for Graduate Researchers United, helping establish the university’s first researcher union. He coordinates policy and research programs for the Institute, including the Digital Media and Developing Minds Congress: Tools and Methodologies Exposition, and the public health practicum. In his free time he likes cooking and baking, volunteering with conservation organizations, and exploring the Northwest with his dog. John currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

Video/Audio Editor

Haley earned both her BA in Media Arts and Design with a concentration in Digital Video and Cinema and her MA in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication from James Madison University in 2020 and 2024, respectively. Between her degrees, she worked as a production assistant for a small production company and as a graduate assistant at JMU. She is passionate about children’s media and the importance of storytelling in teaching children nuanced topics. Outside of work, Haley enjoys gardening, crocheting, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and spending time with her cat, Holly.


Postdoc Project Coordinator

Sarah is a developmental scientist with a special interest in making research more accessible and applicable to people’s lives. She received her B.S. in Psychology from University of Pittsburgh, and then worked as a project coordinator at SUNY Buffalo. Sarah recently completed her Ph.D. at University of Michigan, studying infants’ and children’s social cognition and behaviorand also completed a Graduate Certificate of Science, Technology, and Public Policy and a Science Communication Fellowship during her time in graduate school. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, workout classes, and road trips with loved ones.


Director of Creative & Education

Celeste is a creative media pro who brings a belief in the power of storytelling in all mediums and a passion for children’s health to her work with Children and Screens, where she oversees all creative and educational content and media. Prior to her work with the Institute, Celeste was a senior producer of interactive media with Storyline Productions and a producer and writer of critically-acclaimed feature-length documentary films with Geller/Goldfine Productions. Celeste previously took an extended tour in internet startups as the Director of Product Management at eTranslate, Inc. and a Product Manager for E-greetings Network. Celeste is a longtime active Board member and current Board Chair of Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, an outdoor education nonprofit in Oregon that brings transformative experiences in nature to youth and adults.

Social Media & Communications Associate

Celia is a social media and communications professional with experience in the nonprofit sector. After graduating from Sacred Heart University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and completing various internships, Celia knew that connecting her profession to her passion was important, ultimately leading her to Children and Screens. Aside from her professional endeavors, Celia enjoys reading, spending time with loved ones, and getting outside.