Children and Screens is pleased to announce its inaugural cohort of Impact Fellows. Participation in this year-long program has been awarded to six exceptional graduate students who are passionate about helping young people lead healthy lives in a digital world.

The 2024-2025 Impact Fellows will work closely with Children and Screens’ dedicated team to advance and support interdisciplinary research, inform and educate the public, and influence sound public policy for child health and wellness. 

“We are excited to have such an impressive group of scholars as our first-ever cohort of Impact Fellows,” said Kris Perry, Executive Director, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development. “The selection of these individuals reflects our commitment to developing and strengthening human capital in the field. We are looking forward to the contributions they will undoubtedly make to the Institute and beyond.” 

Fellows will directly contribute to Institute programs, including planning and executing the Webby-nominated Ask the Experts webinar series, reading and disseminating scientific literature, analyzing policy and legislation, and creating informative, engaging content for public education efforts. 

These 2024-2025 Impact fellows were selected from a large and highly competitive group of applicants: 

The 2024-2025 Impact Fellows

Nandini Asavari Bharadwaj (PhD Candidate, Educational Psychology), McGill University

Nandini Asavari Bharadwaj is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, and a member of the Technology, Learning and Cognition lab at McGill University. Her research interests are in artificial intelligence in education, educational technology, and digital learning environments. Her interdisciplinary research investigates the impact of digital assistant use (e.g., Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri) on children’s learning and understanding of artificial intelligence. She holds a M.A. in Educational Psychology from McGill University, a B.A. (Hons) in Cognitive Science from York University and a B.A. (Hons) in English Literature from Delhi University. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, visiting art museums, practising the alto saxophone, and playing tennis.

Leandra Edelson (MA student, Economics) New School for Social Research

Leandra Edelson is a master’s student in economics at The New School in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Hofstra University, where she studied the intersection of social media, mental health, social processes, and development. She completed a research internship for Children and Screens in the spring of 2022. The experience solidified her passion for research with tangible societal impact, particularly in areas such as digital media, child health, inequality, and relevant policy development. In addition to her academic pursuits, Leandra enjoys cooking, playing tennis, and spending time outdoors.

Christina Griselda Nickerson (PhD Candidate, Communication), Washington State University

Christina Griselda Nickerson is a Ph.D. candidate from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She studies the intersection of interpersonal and health communication, with a focus on family communication about substance use and reproductive health. Christina is also a research assistant for the Murrow College’s Media, Adolescents, and Cannabis Lab. She holds an M.A. in communication with emphasis on media and health promotion from WSU. Christina also holds two separate B.A. degrees from Oregon State University in speech communication & sociology, in addition to having completed minors in education and geography as a first-generation college student. She believes strongly in the importance of interdisciplinary work to empower others. Outside of the research space, Christina loves to spend time together with her husband, trying new coffee shops, attending live concerts, or watching her favorite hockey teams (Vegas Golden Knights & Seattle Kraken) together. She also loves playing her tenor saxophone with the WSU Cougar Marching Band.

Doug Piper (PhD Candidate, Psychology), Georgetown University

Doug Piper is a Psychology Ph.D. candidate at Georgetown University with a concentration in Human Development and Public Policy. He studies children’s early interactions, play, and digital media. He also closely follows policies affecting the lives of children and earned a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown’s McCourt School. This work builds on his experiences working in communities supporting implementation and evaluation of play-based programming. Doug earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and music from the University of Michigan. His free time is devoted to cooking, pursuing the best cup of coffee, making music, and exploring the natural world.

Stacie Smith (MA student, Education and Curriculum Studies) Mount Saint Vincent University

Stacie Smith is a Master’s Student in Curriculum Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University with a background in Kinesiology and Education. Her passion for working with youth has led her to be a member of the leadership team with the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health. She also works at the YWCA Halifax as the Youth Programs Lead. She is passionate about youth mental health, youth engagement, and digital literacy. In her free time, she enjoys watching hockey and is a passionate Swifty.

Jasmine Zhang (PhD student, Clinical Psychology), University of Waterloo

Jasmine Zhang is a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Waterloo. Her research examines how digital media influences the well-being of children and caregivers through a family-wide lens. Jasmine has also completed clinical training in providing psychoeducational assessment and intervention services for children, adolescents, and adults. She received her Bachelor of Science (Honours Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour) from McMaster University in 2020 and her Master of Arts (Clinical Psychology) from the University of Waterloo in 2022. In her free time, Jasmine enjoys spending time with friends, running, and taking care of animals.