Jennifer Finders, PhD

Research Interests

Early education policy, classroom quality, school readiness, executive function, educational disparities 


I joined the faculty in Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue in the fall of 2021. Previously, I was a Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) State Policy Postdoctoral Fellow with the Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning in Indiana where I conducted research to inform early education policy across the state. I also completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Purdue after earning my Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Oregon State University in 2018. My research focuses on the role of early care and education programs in promoting cognitive, behavioral, and social and emotional learning among children from diverse backgrounds. I am particularly interested in evaluating policies and practices that aim to increase access to high-quality early learning experiences and reduce educational disparities. I also examine the extent to which foundational skills, including executive function and self-regulation, support children’s school readiness and later academic achievement.

Selected Publications

  • Schmitt, S. A., Finders, J. K., Duncan, R. J., Korucu, I., Bryant, L. M., Purpura, D. J., & Elicker, J. (In press). Examining transactional relations between behavioral self-regulation and social-emotional functioning during the transition to kindergarten. Developmental Psychology.

  • Finders, J. K., Duncan, R. J., Korucu, I., Bryant, L. M., Purpura, D., & Schmitt, S. A. (2021). Examining additive and synergistic relations between preschool self-regulation and executive function skills: Predictions to kindergarten academic outcomes. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology.

  • Ireland, M., Bryant, L. M., Finders, J. K., Duncan, R. J., Purpura, D., & Schmitt, S. A. (2021). Examining associations between food insecurity, inhibitory control, and body mass index in preschoolers. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

  • Finders, J. K., Budrevich, A., Duncan, R. J., Purpura, D. J., Elicker, J., & Schmitt, S. A. (2021). Variability in preschool CLASS scores and children’s school readiness. AERA Open, 7(1), 1-19.

  • Hatfield, B. E., Finders, J. K., Zandbergen, D. L., & Lewis, H. (2021). Associations between consistent and high-quality teacher-child interactions in preschool and children’s self-regulation and activity in the stress response system. Early Education and Development.

  • Westerberg, L., Litkowski, E. C., Finders, J. K., Duncan, R. J., Schmitt, S. A., & Purpura, D. (2021). Concurrent predictors of science core knowledge in preschool. Cognitive Development, 57, 100981.

  • Finders, J. K., McClelland, M. M., Geldhof, G. J., Rothwell, D., & Hatfield, B. E. (2021). Explaining achievement gaps in kindergarten and third grade: The role of self-regulation and executive function skills. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 54, 72-85.

  • Schmitt, S. A., Snyder, F., Korucu, I., Bryant, L. M., & Finders, J. K. (2020). Pilot intervention enhances preschoolers’ self-regulation and food liking. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 52(11), 1035-1042.

  • Litkowski, E. C., Finders, J. K., Borriello, G., Purpura, D. J., & Schmitt, S. A. (2020). Patterns of heterogeneity in kindergarten children’s executive function: Profile associations with third grade achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 80, 101846.

  • Duncan, R. J., King, Y. A., Finders, J. K., Elicker, J., Schmitt, S. A., & Purpura, D. J. (2020). Prekindergarten classroom language environments and children’s vocabulary skills. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 194, 108429.

  • Lipscomb, S. T., Miao, A. J., Finders, J. K., Hatfield, B. E., Kothari, B., & Pears, K. (2019). Community-level social determinants and children’s school readiness. Prevention Science, 1-10.

  • Rothwell, D., Ottusch, T., & Finders, J. K. (2019). Asset poverty among children: A cross-national study of poverty risk. Children and Youth Services Review, 96, 409-419. 

  • Geldhof, G. J., Warner, D. A., Finders, J. K., Thogmartin, A., Clark, A., & Longway, K. (2018). The parenting skills ladder: Assessing the utility of a retrospective pre-post design. Evaluation and Program Planning, 70, 83-89.

  • Finders, J. K., Díaz, G., Geldhof, G. J., Sektnan, M. S., & Rennekamp, D. (2016). The impact of parenting education on parent and child behaviors: Moderators by income and ethnicity. Children and Youth Services Review, 71, 199-209. 

  • Schmitt, S. A., Finders, J. K., & McClelland, M. M. (2014). Exploring potential mechanisms between residential mobility and academic achievement gaps. Early Education and Development, 26(2), 189-208.

Book Chapters

  • Geldhof, G. J., Fenn, M. L., & Finders, J. K. (2017). A Self-Determination Perspective on Self-Regulation across the Life Span. In Development of Self-Determination Through the Life-Course (pp. 221-235). Springer: Netherlands.

Professional Services

Ad Hoc Grant Reviewer

  • Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) Coordinated Evaluations of Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Policies and Initiatives

Ad Hoc Journal Reviewer

  • Child Development
  • Developmental Science
  • Early Childhood Research Quarterly
  • Applied Developmental Science
  • Educational Policy
  • Early Education and Development
  • Infant and Child Development

Societies: Conference/Award Reviewer

  • Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (2021)


  • Research Design and Program Evaluation (HDFS 346)

  • Science in Preschool and Primary Grades (HDFS 409)


  • 2018, Ph.D., Oregon State University, Human Development and Family Studies

  • 2016, M.S., Oregon State University, Human Development and Family Studies

  • 2011, B.S., Oregon State University, Psychology

Assistant Professor

(Pronouns: she/her/hers)

(PhD, Oregon State University)

Hanley Hall, Room 325A
Purdue University
1200 West State St.
West Lafayette, Indiana  47907-2055

Phone: 765-494-2932
Fax: 765-494-1144

Curriculum Vitae

Google Scholar

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