Postdoctoral scholars will work closely with our team of mentors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who conduct research across several topics related to youth mental health.

Stephen Kilgus, PhD, Research Mentor and PI

Dr. Kilgus is an Associate Professor in the School Psychology program at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison. His research has informed the development and testing of school-based early interventions for students exhibiting externalizing and internalizing concerns. He has also contributed to the development and validation of several social-emotional and behavioral assessments, including universal screening, problem analysis, and progress monitoring tools. Dr. Kilgus has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers and received more than $12 million in external research funding.

Katie Eklund, PhD, Research Mentor and Co-PI

Dr. Eklund is an Associate Professor in the School Psychology Program. She currently serves as Co-Director of the Madison Education Partnership, a research-practice partnership between Madison Metropolitan School District and the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. Dr. Eklund’s research focuses on school mental health, including early identification and intervention for children who have behavioral and/or social-emotional concerns, social emotional learning, school climate, and school safety.

Katie Eklund

Andy Garbacz, PhD, Research Mentor and Co-PI

Dr. Garbacz is an Associate Professor in the School Psychology Program. His research emphasizes building, testing, and scaling programs that interconnect school, home, and community systems to promote mental health and reduce the risk of later mental health concerns. Dr. Garbacz focuses on universal, school- and community-wide programs to support all children and youth as well as programs and practices for children and youth who need additional support. Dr. Garbacz embeds culturally and linguistically responsive practices to create equitable systems that support all children and youth.

Erica Turner, Ph.D., Research Mentor and Co-PI

Dr. Turner is Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies. Her scholarship has enhanced understanding of how race and class inequity is perpetuated through education policy making and implementation and has contributed new conceptual frameworks to support education researchers, policymakers and practitioners critical socio-cultural analyses of education policy and practice. Dr. Turner authored the award-winning ethnography Suddenly Diverse: How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality, and has published in top national and international journals in the field of education

James Pustejovsky, PhD, Research Mentor and Co-PI

Dr. Pustejovsky is an Associate Professor of Quantitative Methods. As a statistician and methodologist, his research focuses on development, validation, and application of quantitative data analysis methods for social science research. His areas of expertise include meta-analysis, causal inference, robust inference, and statistical models, effect sizes, and meta-analysis of single-case experimental designs. He frequently collaborates with applied researchers on large-scale meta-analysis projects and on methodological projects related to improving the utility and accessibility of meta-analysis methods. In collaboration with students, he has developed and disseminated multiple R packages.

Seth Pollak, PhD, Research Mentor

Dr. Pollak is the Letters and Science Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Professor of Pediatrics, Anthropology, Neuroscience, and Public Affairs. He has published over 200 papers on topics including the influences of social risk factors on children’s brain and behavioral development, emotions, early learning, family poverty, and health. He is the founding Director of a unique program at UW-Madison that supports graduate and post-doctoral fellows undertaking interdisciplinary research on children’s mental health. He co-directs two T32 training grants and has been a primary mentor on 22 K and F training awards for graduate, post-doctoral, and early career mentees. 

Stephanie Budge, PhD, Research Mentor

Dr. Budge is an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology and the Director of the Advancing Health Equity and Diversity (AHEAD) program in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She founded the Trans CARE Collaborative in 2014, a research collective focused on best practices in conducting research that focuses on improving of medical and psychotherapy treatments (and access to care) for Two-spirit, trans, and nonbinary (2STNB) clients. In her role as the AHEAD Director, she facilitates a formal mentoring program for NIH-funded postdoctoral fellows conducting health equity research. She was also chosen as a postdoctoral mentor for the School of Medicine and Public Health’s Building Up program, which is an NIH-Funded program specifically targeting postdoctoral scholars of color at predominantly White institutions. 

Aydin Bal, PhD, Research Mentor

Dr. Bal is a Professor of Special Education. His research focuses on the interplay between culture, learning, and mental health across local and global education systems. Dr. Bal examines the social justice issues in education, family-school-community-university collaboration, and systemic transformation. He has developed a Culturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports framework and the Learning Lab methodology. In Learning Labs, local stakeholders (students, families, educators, policy makers, and community representatives), especially those from historically marginalized communities, collectively design and implement culturally responsive behavioral support systems. 

Robert Nix, PhD, Research Mentor

Dr. Nix is the Audrey Rothermel Bascom Professor of Human Development and Family Studies. His research program focuses on the development, implementation, and rigorous evaluation of preventive interventions designed to improve the lives of at-risk children and youth. He has been an investigator on 10 randomized controlled trials of preventive interventions, with combined budgets exceeding $45 million. All of those preventive interventions were conducted in low-income community settings, including Head Start centers and elementary schools. Dr. Nix has a strong track record of mentoring numerous graduate students and post-doctoral research scholars on his research projects, and has published empirical articles with most of them.