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Paul Boxer, PhD, Director

Associate Professor of Psychology

Director, Social Development Research Program

Boxer is Director of the Social Development Research Program. Along with his primary appointment at Rutgers, Boxer is an adjunct research scientist at the Institute for Social Research of the University of Michigan. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Bowling Green State University after completing his predoctoral internship at Wayne State University and undergraduate degree at Williams College. Boxer’s research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Centers for Disease Control, and the US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Boxer is a member of the Society for Research in Child Development, the Society for Research on Adolescence, and the International Society for Research on Aggression. Currently he serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Research on Adolescence and Consulting Editor for Developmental Psychology and Aggressive Behavior.

Ashley Schappell, MA

Doctoral student in Psychology

Director, Social Development Research Program

Ashley completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia with a double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice.  As an undergraduate she completed an internship conducting research with the Behavioral Science Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Quantico, VA. She continued her education at Columbia University where she received her MA in Clinical Psychology. Prior to beginning her doctoral work at Rutgers, Ashley spent time teaching inmates at San Quentin Prison in California. Ashley is currently researching the impact of incarceration on mental health and the subsequent challenges encountered during reentry.  She is particularly interested in experiences with violence both inside prison and jail, as well as in the community, and how these experiences relate to the development of psychological disorders.   


Meagan Docherty

Doctoral student in Psychology

Director, Social Development Research Program

Meagan received her undergraduate degree from The College of New Jersey. Her general interests are in social and developmental psychology, as well as sociology and criminal justice. Meagan will be conducting research on adults who are involved in the criminal justice system or who have a history of criminal offenses, with an emphasis on those who also have mental illness and/or substance use disorders.

Joanna Kubik, MSW

Research project manager

Joanna is interested in how family system and functioning influences behavior in children, particularly children with disabilities. She has experience providing early intensive behavioral treatment to children on the autism spectrum. Her research experience focused on students aging out of the foster care system, as well as families participating in community services. Joanna holds a Masters degree in Social Work from Rutgers University and Masters degree in European Studies from Jagiellonian University.

Erika Yoshiko Niwa, PhD

Post-doctoral research associate

Director, Social Development Research Program

Erika Y. Niwa received her Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from New York University under the mentorship of Dr. Niobe Way, and her B.A. In Child Development and African Diasporic Studies from Tufts University. Her research focuses primarily on how the cultural context shapes social and emotional development among urban youth and families. Her dissertation examined the impact of ethnic and racial discrimination on the social and emotional adjustment of ethnically diverse, urban adolescents. At Rutgers Erika is continuing her work on ethnic and racial discrimination, including a focus on the role of ethnicity and race in shaping experiences of violence.


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