Jennifer Finders, PhD

Research Interests

School readiness, executive function, poverty, achievement gaps, preschool environments, early education policy


  • 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  


I began my Postdoctoral position with Dr. Sara Schmitt in August of 2018. Prior to joining Purdue, I completed my Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Oregon State University. Broadly, my research focuses on understanding and promoting school readiness among children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, with the overall goal of informing early education programs and policies. I am particularly interested in the role of early experiences in mitigating achievement gaps, as well as how the development of school readiness skills, namely executive function abilities, can be leveraged to reduce academic disparities.

As a Postdoctoral researcher at Purdue, I collaborate with faculty to evaluate the expansion of Indiana’s state-funded prekindergarten program. The On My Way Pre-K program is funded by Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration and offers access to high-quality early care and education for children from low income backgrounds. Starting in September 2020, I will serve as a Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) State Policy Postdoctoral Fellow, where I will work at the intersect of research and policy with Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning. I am thrilled that Dr. Schmitt will continue to be my academic mentor in this new position.

Selected Publications

  • 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. https://d10.1016/j.lindif.2020.101846

  • 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.

Jennifer Finders
Postdoctoral Researcher

(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

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