The Making Caring Common team, based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, includes experts in moral and ethical development, empathy, social-emotional learning (SEL), parenting, and data analysis; seasoned communications and digital media professionals; project managers; and former classroom teachers. Each fall, we welcome a new cohort of graduate student interns who contribute a wide range of skills, experiences, and perspectives.
Trisha Ross Anderson
Senior Project Manager
Trisha Ross Anderson is a Senior Project Manager for Making Caring Common.
Trisha has spent over a decade supporting a wide variety of schools and non-profits. Her work centers around social and emotional learning and character development, the promotion of positive school climate, and intervention development and evaluation. Interested in the translation of research to practice, Trisha has been part of several research teams that develop, evaluate, and facilitate social and emotional learning and character education programs in schools. She regularly works with school and district leaders, as well as teachers, as a consultant, presenter, and trainer.
Trisha previously worked as a classroom teacher. In her work with Making Caring Common, Trisha helped to research and write reports including The Children We Mean to Raise, Leaning Out, The Talk, and Turning the Tide, which seeks to re-shape the college admission process. She holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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College Admissions Program Manager
Brennan Barnard is the College Admissions Program Manager at Making Caring Common.
Brennan has worked as teacher, dorm parent, advisor, coach, admission officer, and student affairs administrator at a number of independent high schools and colleges and serves as the Director of College Counseling at The Derryfield School in Manchester, New Hampshire and at US Performance Academy, an online independent high school for elite athletes.
Brennan is a member of the Advisory Board for the New Hampshire College and University Council’s New Hampshire Scholars Program and on the Executive Committee for the Character Collaborative. He presents regularly on athletic recruiting, mindfulness, discipline, and other topics in college admission. He has written about college admission for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes.com, HuffPost, Concord Monitor, Journal of College Admission, and other publications. He has also been featured in articles in The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press and is an occasional guest on New Hampshire Public Radio.
A native of suburban Philadelphia and practicing Quaker, he is a graduate of Westtown Friends School. Brennan earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from Franklin & Marshall College and a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from The University of Vermont. This father of two lives in Hopkinton, New Hampshire where he is a volunteer firefighter.
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Research and Evaluation Manager
Milena Batanova leads the Instructional Strategies to Promote Empathy project at Making Caring Common. She works with teachers and schools to facilitate and evaluate the implementation of low burden strategies to promote attitudes and behaviors related to empathy and caring.
Milena received her PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Texas at Austin, where she conducted empirical studies on adolescent empathy and aggression/victimization. She also worked on tobacco prevention and evaluation projects contracted by the state.
Before joining Making Caring Common, she was a postdoctoral scholar and then a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. At the Institute, she served as a co-investigator of the Arthur Interactive Media Buddy Project, which involved the development, implementation, and evaluation of a media-based character education program for elementary school students.
Milena is passionate about applying research to practice in the areas of empathy promotion; social, emotional, and character development; and bullying prevention.
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Sarah Birkeland is the Program Director at Making Caring Common.
Sarah is a seasoned education researcher with a passion for bridging research and practice. A former classroom teacher and school change coach, she brings a nuanced understanding of teaching, learning, and child development. An accomplished researcher, she brings deep methodological expertise and a commitment to producing practical, useful research. Sarah holds a B.A. in English Literature from Stanford University, an M.A. in Education Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver, and an Ed.D. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy with a concentration in Research from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Alison Cashin is the Director of Making Caring Common.
An award-winning communicator and advocate, Alison helps organizations put their ideas into practice, build and engage diverse audiences, and develop and communicate messages that change hearts and minds. Her work has been featured in major national outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, and The New Yorker. Alison earned a Master of Science in Journalism at Boston University, including a journalism fellowship at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria, and a Bachelor of Arts in English at Vassar College.
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Senior Communications Manager
Alexis Ditkowsky is the Senior Communications Manager at Making Caring Common.
With a career spanning social impact, education, technology, and the arts, Alexis harnesses digital opportunities to build communities, connect people to resources, and amplify diverse voices. She enjoys collaborating with external partners to develop new audiences and increase the impact of everyone’s work.
Alexis earned a Master of Education in International Education Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Study from New York University.
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Lisa Eschenbach is a Program Assistant at Making Caring Common, where she supports the team and MCC programs.
Throughout her career in higher education, Lisa has partnered with faculty, students, practitioners, and colleagues, most recently in the design and implementation of curricular and co-curricular programming focusing on social change, impact, and leadership development. Time in the classroom and being a parent of two daughters have also made her a dedicated advocate for social and emotional learning programs in schools.
Lisa earned a Master of Arts in German Studies from University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts in German Languages and Literatures from University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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Senior Program Coordinator
Glenn Manning is the Senior Program Coordinator for Making Caring Common, where he oversees and manages work with schools.
As an educator and public servant, Glenn has enabled communities to develop and maintain caring relationships among a wide variety of stakeholders. He now works to help school communities build systems that encourage young people's social, emotional, and ethical capacities.
Glenn earned a Master of Education in the Learning and Teaching program at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Michael's College.
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Richard Weissbourd, faculty director of MCC, is a psychologist and lecturer at Harvard. He teaches at both the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he directs the Human Development and Psychology Program, and at the Harvard Kennedy School.
His current work focuses on children’s moral and ethical development, how parents can raise more caring children, and how adults can mentor teenagers and young adults to develop ethical and mature romantic relationships. He has written for numerous scholarly and popular publications and blogs, including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, CNN, The New Republic, NPR, and Psychology Today. He has consulted to schools and organizations around the country and has advised on family policy and school reform at the city, state, and federal levels.
Weissbourd is the author of The Parents We Mean to Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children's Moral and Emotional Development (Houghton Mifflin 2009), which was named one of the top 24 books of 2009 by The New Yorker and of The Vulnerable Child: What Really Hurts America’s Children and What We Can Do About It (Addison-Wesley, 1996), named as one of the top 10 education books of all time by the American School Board Journal. He is a founder of several interventions for at-risk children, including Project ASPIRE, ReadBoston, and WriteBoston, and is also a founder of the Lee Academy pilot school in Boston. He holds a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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Empathy in Schools Intern
Kiran Bhai is an Empathy Strategies in Schools Intern at Making Caring Common. She holds a Masters in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education focused on childhood counseling.
Prior to her time at MCC, Kiran studied global mental health at Duke University, focused on youth and women’s mental health, as well as refugee studies. After her research with refugee populations in Nepal, Egypt, Ireland, and North Carolina, Kiran continued her work focused on global mental health in non-profits including Partners In Health and Yoga Hope in Boston, working as a researcher, writer, and program coordinator.
Kiran is passionate about mental health, child development, and education and is excited to contribute to MCC’s initiatives to promote empathy and kindness in schools.
Rachel Hanebutt is a Research Intern for Making Caring Common, where she conducts literature reviews and develops resources for parents to have positive conversations with their young people about social media use and relationships.
Rachel received her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Mind, Brain, and Education program, and holds a M.A. in Civic Media, Art, and Practice from Emerson College. Her academic scholarship focuses on adolescent relationship formation, with a specific focus on sex education and campus sexual assault prevention. During her time at Harvard, Rachel combined her passion for sexual assault prevention with crowdsourcing health data and online learning technology to co-found the digital sexual health startup, Confi.
Rachel is interested in the ways that individuals interact with technology that can support discussion of sensitive topics in the areas of civic education, sex education, and sexual assault, and also studies the technologies that young people use to form and develop relationships with one another.
Empathy in Schools Intern
Kim Hartel is an Empathy Strategies in Schools Intern at Making Caring Common. She is currently an Ed. M. candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Human Development and Psychology Program.
Prior to her time at HGSE, Kim graduated from Boston University with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. She has a range of middle and elementary school teaching experience in Lawrence and Dorchester in Massachusetts. Kim is especially interested in elementary-aged children’s social emotional development.
Empathy in Schools Intern
Dean Kaplan is an Empathy Strategies Intern at Making Caring Common and an Ed.M. candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Dean focuses on developing strategies for teachers to develop empathy in their classrooms and helps collect and analyze data about those strategies. He plans to focus on best practices in educational settings through the scope of intersectional identity affirmation.
Before coming to Boston, Dean spent time in New York City Public Schools, worked for City Year, and worked in Washington, D.C.- and Baltimore-area schools as an educator and researcher. His experience in intergroup dialogue surrounding Palestinian-Israeli coexistence informs his work.
In his free time, Dean enjoys attempts at writing poetry and is a nationally competitive powerlifter.
Parenting Strategies Intern
Sonrisa Murray is the Parent Strategies Intern at Making Caring Common and a Ed.M. candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Human Development and Psychology Program.
Prior to attending HGSE, Sonrisa was a Field Research Assistant for the Psychological and Brain Sciences Lab with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She collected data in support of a national survey striving to understand middle school students and their relationship with math and science. She later joined New York University’s Teaching Assistant staff and served as a College Admissions Essay Writing Coach with Write For the Future.
Sonrisa is especially interested in creating fun and far-reaching education initiatives that target children and families. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, visiting museums, and photography.
Special Projects Intern
Prasanth Nori is a Special Projects Intern and Ed.M. candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Technology, Innovation, and Education Program.
Prior to attending HGSE, Prasanth was a Teach For India fellow, teaching 3rd- and 4th-grade students in a religiously volatile slum in Hyderabad. He then led partnerships for Meghshala, an education technology non-profit that has empowered more than 16,000 government school teachers. He is also the co-founder of Dramebaaz, an initiative that uses theater to build essential life-skills in children. To date, the organization has reached more than 3,000 children.
Prasanth is a two-time TEDx speaker and the winner of the 2017 Mumbai Heroes award. In his spare time, he enjoys reading science fiction and learning new musical instruments.
School-Based Initiatives Intern
Smriti Parikh is the School-Based Initiatives Intern at Making Caring Common and a Ed.M. candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Learning and Teaching Program.
Prior to attending HGSE, Smriti worked with non-profits in the field of teacher training and instructional coaching. Her focus has been implementing program goals and strategic interventions. She was also a middle-school teacher in India for two years as a Teach for India Fellow. She is especially interested in curriculum design and implementation.
Outside of academics, Smriti enjoys exploring hiking trails, traveling, and writing poetry.
Parenting Strategies Intern
Sherien Sobhy is a Parenting Strategies Intern and an Ed.M. candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Education Policy and Management Program.
Prior to attending HGSE, Sherien was a teacher and school leader in Cairo, Egypt. She also conducted teacher training workshops in her own school and other international schools in Cairo. She is passionate about promoting social and emotional learning and development both in and outside of school.
Sherien holds a B.A. in International Studies, a B.A. in French, and a Single Subject Teaching Credential from the University of California, Irvine.
Eric Torres is a Research Intern with Making Caring Common and a second-year PhD student in Education at Harvard University.
His work with the MCC team focuses on promoting dialogue across political difference and the psychology of parental decisions related to school choice. Prior to his work with Making Caring Common, Eric taught classes in adult education at various non-profits in Austin, Texas, emphasizing the interplay of ESL, Adult Basic Education, and philosophical practice. He has also served two terms with Americorps and Americorps VISTA.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master’s degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Outside of his work and study, Eric likes fiction writing, bike mechanics, weight training and spending aimless time with the people he cares about.
Youth Advisory Board Intern
Zack Ziemba is the Youth Advisory Board Coordinator at Making Caring Common and a candidate for a Master of Education in Language and Literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Prior to joining MCC, Zack spent two years teaching middle school English in Gary, Indiana through Teach For America, as well as one year teaching English as a Foreign Language in Santiago, Chile. As part of the Youth Advisory Board, Zack is excited for the opportunity to support teenagers across the country as they implement projects and work to make their schools more caring and just places.
Zack earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education with honors from Washington University in St. Louis.
Stephanie Jones, senior advisor to Making Caring Common, is a developmental psychologist and the Marie and Max Kargman Associate Professor in Human Development and Urban Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Stephanie's research, anchored in prevention science, focuses on the effects of poverty and exposure to violence on children and youth's social, emotional, and behavioral development. Over the last ten years her work has focused on both evaluation research addressing the impact of preschool and elementary focused social-emotional learning interventions on behavioral and academic outcomes and classroom practices; as well as new curriculum development, implementation, and testing.
Joe McIntyre is a research advisor for Making Caring Common and a fifth year Ed.D. candidate at HGSE. He also received an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from the school.
Joe's research interests include applying methods from statistics to address questions in education. He is especially interested in measuring student experiences and in answering questions around gender and education.
Joe holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College and has previous experience as a high school math instructor.
Meredith Rowe, senior advisor to Making Caring Common, is the Saul Zaentz Professor of Early Learning and Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). She leads a research program on understanding the role of parent and family factors in children's early language and literacy development. She is particularly interested in uncovering how variations in children's early communicative environments contribute to language development and in applying this knowledge to the development of intervention strategies for low-income families.
For the past 10 years, her work has been funded by grants from the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Specifically, Rowe was the recipient of a Postdoctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA), a Pathway to Independence (K99/R00) early career Research Transition Award, and a recent Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21) to fund her current intervention study. Her work is published widely in top journals in education and psychology, including Science, Child Development, Developmental Science, and Developmental Psychology.