The Adaptlab Team

The adaptstars

Candice Odgers


Candice Odgers is a Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California Irvine. She is also a Research Professor at Duke University. Her research focuses on how social inequalities and early adversity influence children’s future health and well-being, with an emphasis on how new technologies, including mobile phones and web-based tools, can be used to understand and improve the lives of young people.

Odgers was a William T. Grant Scholar and the recipient of early career awards from the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, the Royal Society of Canada, and the Association for Psychological Science. In 2015 she was awarded the Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest Early Career Award and, in 2016, the Jacobs Foundation Advanced Research Fellowship.

Joy Piontak

Research Analyst

Joy Piontak is a Research Analyst at the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University. She serves as coordinator for adaptlab research projects. Piontak’s research focuses on social inequalities across place and their impact on health. Her dissertation research examined the effect socioeconomic and racial segregation and food access have on rates of childhood obesity, with particular focus on urban and rural contexts and the interactions between individual characteristics and place. Her other works has examined the ways inter-generational households affect racial disparities in maternal depression. Her current research continues her examination of the role of social inequality, daily stress, violence exposure, and food insecurity on child health behaviors and outcomes.

She specialized in families, race, class and gender inequality, spatial inequalities, and health disparities. She worked as a research associate on a number of evaluation projects related to child health and safety in North Carolina before joining the Center in April 2013.


Recent in the news links:

Nov 20, 2016 – The Charlotte Post: Children in rural North Carolina counties more likely to be obese

Nov 16, 2016 – Duke Chronicle: Study finds North Carolina children in rural counties, high poverty schools more likely to be obese

Nov 14, 2016 – WPTF/NCN News: Obesity in Rural NC (audio)

Nov 10, 2016 – 88.5 WFDD: Study: NC Children In Rural Counties, High-Poverty Schools Face Obesity Risk (audio)

Nov 9, 2016 – Duke Today: Obesity More Likely for N.C. Children in Rural Counties, High-Poverty Schools







Madeleine George

Sulzberger/Levitan Research Fellow

Madeleine George is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. Before graduate school, Madeleine graduated with Honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and taught English at Cofradia Bilingual School in Honduras and at Lycee Bourdelle in France. Madeleine’s current research interests focus on how adolescents use new technologies to access social support from friends and family. She is also interested in the role of technology in normative development and how technology use can promote versus impair adolescent development.

Michael Russell

Post-doctoral Fellow

Michael Russell is currently a doctoral student in psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine. His research interests include understanding the causes and consequences of behavior problems in children and adolescents, with a specific interest in the role of stressful daily experiences. His dissertation research uses mobile technology to study how both positive and negative experiences influence adolescents’ emotion, self-regulation, and behavior in daily life.

Joshua Rivenbark

Graduate Student

Josh is an MD/PhD student in Duke’s Medical Scientist Training Program, completing his PhD in the Sanford School of Public Policy. His research focuses on the biological embedding of stigma and discrimination, with particular emphases on the long-term health effects of multiple levels of stigma (i.e., interpersonal and institutional) and cross-context research that includes low- and middle-income countries. He is also interested in the application of new technologies and devices for research. Clinically, he plans on specializing in internal medicine.
Josh graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Iowa State University in 2010. He then worked in the immunology laboratory of Wayne Yokoyama at Washington University in St. Louis before coming to Duke in 2012. While not working on research, he prefers to be running, cooking, or gaming, and he puts his bench science skills to use by brewing beer.

Leonard Ng’eno

Analyst Programmer

Leonard is a software developer specializing in mobile and web applications development. He mostly programs in Java, Javascript and Ruby. However, he likes trying out new tools and is currently discovering the nuances of functional programing using Elixir. Outside the world of tech, he is passionate about long distance running and hopes to run as many marathons as he can in the foreseeable future.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Computer Science from Duke University.

Michaeline Jensen

Postdoctoral Fellow

Michaeline Jensen is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Developmental Science who completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Arizona State University. Michaeline’s research focuses on better understanding the development of adolescent substance use and risk taking behaviors within family, peer, neighborhood, and cultural contexts. Michaeline is particularly interested in the interplay between individual vulnerabilities and aspects of the social-cultural environment. Her current research focuses on leveraging novel communication technologies to better assess adolescent and young adult substance use and its contextual correlates.

Helen Milojevich

Postdoctoral Fellow

Helen Milojevich is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Developmental Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Helen’s research examines emotional and cognitive development across the lifespan, particularly in high-risk youth, such as maltreated youth and children with developmental delays. For her dissertation, Helen investigated the role of maltreatment in the development of emotion regulation. Findings have the potential to inform the treatment and intervention of maltreated children by determining the precise ways in which they differ from non-maltreated children in their ability to regulate emotions, and how these emotion processes influence their functioning across age. As a postdoctoral fellow, Helen is extending her program of research by investigating the extent to which parents’ emotional competence (e.g., the ability to understand, express, and regulate one’s emotions) influences children’s emotional competence across development, particularly in a maltreatment context.

Emma Hedman

Graduate Student

Emma is a second year graduate student at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Her academic interests involve community involvement and education in conservation, issues of environmental justice and equity, and participatory management techniques. Her work at the at the Center for Child and Family Policy involves creating an index for geospatial applications that will categorize living conditions (including demographics, poverty, and other conditions) at a micro-neighborhood scale.

Grace Mok

Research Assistant

Grace Mok is a student at Duke studying economics and education. She is interested in educational inequality and racial segregation. For fun, Grace likes to run on the Al Buehler trail, make (ugly) ceramic pots and call Jawbone customer service.

Emma Achola

Research Assistant

Emma Achola is a senior pre med majoring in Public Policy Studies at Duke University. She has served as a research assistant in the Adaptlab for three years. She is interested in health policy, specifically policies that improve care for patients and also focus on reimbursement for providers. Her current project focuses on differences in physical activity and sleep in adolescents living in rural and urban environments.

Hannah Morris

Research Assistant

Hannah Morris is a sophomore at Duke University studying public policy and French. Her interests lie in the impacts of multilingualism in early childhood education and in drug-related child and family policy. She has been involved in previous research studying the progression of mental health problems from childhood to adulthood.

Chloe Warnberg

Research Assistant

Chloe Warnberg is a freshman at Duke University from Dallas, Texas. She plans to double major in psychology and public policy. Her current research interests include the various learning styles of adolescents. She is interested in developmental psychology and industrial/organizational psychology.