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Our 25 Center researchers come from multiple institutions, including PSU, Oregon Social Learning Center, Oregon Health & Science University, WSU, and the University of Portland. They span disciplines, including Social Work, Psychology, Sociology, Business, Medicine, Community Health, and Education




Center Staff

Thomas Keller, Ph.D., Director

Thomas Keller is the Duncan & Cindy Campbell Professor for Children, Youth and Families with an Emphasis on Mentoring, in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. In addition to directing the CIMR, Dr. Keller also directs the PSU Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring. His research focuses on the development and influence of relationships established in youth mentoring programs, the role of mentoring within a young person’s social network, and the professional development of staff in youth mentoring programs.


Kay Logan, Center Coordinator

Kay Logan coordinates all CIMR projects, events and activities. In addition to coordinating the CIMR, she has extensive experience providing resources and technical assistance to mentoring programs and initiatives throughout the U.S. on all aspects of program development, management and sustainability.



Talya Bauer, Ph.D., Gerry and Marilyn Cameron Professor of Management, School of Business Administration, PSU

Talya Bauer conducts research on relationships in the workplace, organizational leadership, selection and hiring practices, and new employee socialization. Her work examines workplace mentoring as part of  ‘onboarding’ of new employees and promoting leadership development, as well as the role of mentoring in learning organizations. She also investigates the effects of mentoring in promoting the education and career development of women in professions.


Jennifer Blakeslee, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

Jennifer Blakeslee is an early-career investigator with research expertise related to youth aging out of foster care, specifically regarding the predictors of substance abuse disorders, and analysis of social support network stability. She also has delinquency-specific research experience, including exploring disproportional youth detention by race, analyzing the short-term effects of Parent Management Training (PMT) on adult offending and long-term effects on youth delinquency, and conducting a cost analysis of PMT from the agency perspective.


Peter Collier, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, PSU

Peter Collier studies mentoring in the context of the sociology of higher education, identity development, and service-learning. His current projects include research on mentoring first-generation college students to improve student performance and persistence.


Carlos Crespo, Ph.D., Ph.D., Professor and Director of School of Community Health, PSU

Carlos Crespo directs the NIH-funded Portland Bridges to Baccalaureate Program, in which experienced research scientists mentor underrepresented students of color transferring from community college to PSU to pursue careers in biomedical and behavioral sciences.


Marcelo Diversi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Human Development, Washington State University-Vancouver

Marcelo Diversi has studied the development of empowering adult-youth relationships among Latino/a students and Caucasian mentors and his current work focuses on mentoring relationships for youth in foster care.


Sherwin Davidson, Ph.D., Chair of Applied Psychology,PSU

Sherwin Davidson is conducting a qualitative study on collegiality, friendship and peer relationships of women in leadership positions in academic and business settings. One facet of her work examines the ways in which these relationships compare and contrast with formal mentoring relationships.


Mark Eddy, Ph.D., Research Professor, University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Mark Eddy  is the director of research for Partners for Our Children, a research, practice, and policy center focused on child and family wellbeing within the context of the child welfare system in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. He specializes in conducting rigorous longitudinal research studies of prevention and intervention programs intended to benefit children and families. He is the principal investigator on several randomized prevention trials of interventions delivered within systems of care relevant to children and families, and is currently is conducting an NIH-sponsored longitudinal evaluation of the innovative Friends of the Children mentoring program. He will be a research fellow at the 2012 Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring.


Liza Finkel, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Graduate School of Education, PSU

Liza Finkel's work focuses on pre-service and in-service training and the impact mentoring has on the retention, instruction and attitudes of early career teachers .


Sarah Geenen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Regional Research Institute on Human Services, PSU

Sarah Geenen is the director of two federally funded studies examining the impact of one-on-one coaching/mentoring to enhance self-determination and improve the education and post-school outcomes of foster youth with disabilities. Dr. Geenen will be a research fellow at the 2012 Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring.


Kris Gowen, Ph.D., Research Associate, Regional Research Institute on Human Services, PSU

Kris Gowen’s work focuses on adolescent development and transitions to adulthood, with special attention to adolescent sexuality and sexual education.


Kevin Jones, Practicum Director of Social Work, University of Portland

Kevin was the first recipient of a special CIMR fellowship created by Big Brothers Big Sisters-Columbia Northwest. He studies the organizational history and culture of successful youth mentoring programs as well as partnerships to promote dialogue between research and practice communities in the field of youth mentoring.


Yves Labissiere, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University Studies & School of Public Health - Urban and Community Affairs, PSU

Yves Labissiere examines "peerness" as it relates to academic mentoring for undergraduate students.


Dana Lundell, Ph.D., Director of Mentor Programs, University Studies, PSU

Dana Lundell’s current work focuses on leadership and development for academic mentors in higher education with special attention to underrepresented students, multicultural populations and inclusive learning environments.


Jana Meinhold, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Child and Family Studies, PSU

Jana Meinhold investigates how positive youth development programs influence adolescent behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes, with special attention to programs that provide education in environmental issues and sustainability.


Cynthia Morris, Ph.D., MPH, Vice Chair of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Preventative Medicine, and Assistant Dean in the Medical School at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

Cindy Morris has spent the majority of the last 10 years developing clinical research education and career development at OHSU.  She directs the education and career development core of the OHSU site of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) network, including a TL1 program for pre-doctoral students. Dr. Morris co-directs a KL2 at OHSU for mentored clinical and translational research and directs a T32 from AHRQ for health services research. Dr. Morris was awarded the 2004 Mentor Award from the Medical Research Foundation, an OHSU Excellence in Education award in 2006, and the John A. Resko Award for Faculty Research and Mentoring in 2007.


José Padín, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology, PSU

José Padín focuses on intersections of race, immigration, and disparities in communities, and he directs a mentoring program designed to promote the educational attainment of Latino youth.


Laurie Powers, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research, School of Social Work, and Director, Regional Research Institute on Human Services, PSU

Laurie Powers’ research interests include the promotion of self-determination by individuals with diverse abilities, positive youth development and transition. She studies how one-on-one coaching and mentoring can be used to enhance self-determination and improve the education and post-school outcomes of young people with disabilities.


Anna Rockhill, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, PSU Center for Improvement of Services to Children and Families, PSU

Anna Rockhill is the lead investigator evaluating a program matching parents involved in the child welfare system with mentors who support them in recovery from addiction.


Robert Roeser, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, PSU

Robert Roeser's research focuses primarily on how schools, as central cultural contexts of human development, affect both academic and non-academic aspects of "whole persons" across childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood.


Jo-Ann Sowers, Ph.D., Research Professor, Regional Research Institute on Human Services

Jo-Ann Sowers conducts research on the impact of career-focused mentoring and E-Mentoring on the aspirations of youth and young adults with disabilities who are interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Alma Trinidad, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University Studies and Child & Family Studies

Alma Trinidad has investigated the role of mentors and adult allies in supporting youth working toward social justice and environmental sustainability. She also studies tiered mentoring processes (instructor-mentor-student) in Freshman Inquiry courses.


Donald Truxillo, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology

Donald Truxillo’s work considers mentoring as part of a research agenda examining employee selection, organizational socialization, and newcomer adjustment.


Mark Van Ryzin, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Oregon Social Learning Center

Mark Van Ryzin, Ph.D., investigates the influence of school advisers and counselors from the perspective of the mentoring relationships they form with students. He also is interested in non-traditional school environments and their potential to address the diverse range of student needs and interests.


Marc Wheeler, Adjunct Research Associate, Regional Research Institute for Human Services

Marc Wheeler is a Distinguished Fellow of the William T. Grant Foundation with PSU as his fellowship host site and Thomas Keller and David DuBois as his research mentors. Marc worked for eight years as an executive at a Big Brothers Big Sisters agency in Alaska. He is currently studying the diffusion of research-based innovation within Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring organizations.


Liu-Qin Yang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology

Liu-Qin Yang specializes in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and examines dynamic person-environment fit in the workplace, with an emphasis on the processes by which supervisors mentor employees.


Bryant York, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science

Bryant York works to expand the participation of traditionally underrepresented populations in academic and professional careers in science, engineering, and technology through several national mentoring programs for students and early career professionals, such as the Student & Technology in Academia, Research & Service Alliance, the Alliance for the Advancement of African-American Researchers in Computing, and the Computer Research Association's Coalition to Diversify Computing.




Miranda Cunningham, Ph.D. Student, School of Social Work

Miranda Cunningham is a doctoral student in Social Work whose area of interest is natural mentoring relationships in the lives of transition-aged foster youth.


Mandy Elder, Child and Family Studies, School of Social Work

Mandy Elder is the recipient of the CIMR Undergraduate Research Scholarship. She is a student in Social Work with research focusing on the natural mentoring relationships that exist among first-generation female college students in Oaxaca, Mexico.


Amanda Fixsen, Ph.D. Student, School of Social Work

Amanda Fixen is a doctoral student in Social Work whose dissertation research is examining organizational factors that influence the implementation of an enhanced school-based mentoring model by Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies.


Rhenne Molly Miles, MSW/Ph.D., School of Social Work

Rhenne was the recipient of a special CIMR fellowship created by Big Brothers Big Sisters-Columbia Northwest in 2011/12. She studies social-emotional learning in the school environment and is interested in how school-based mentoring programs support social-emotional development for students, including young students that mentor.


Bahia Overton, Ph.D. Student, Graduate School of Social Work

Bahia Overton, Ph.D. student, School of Social Work, is undertaking research that investigates the role of parent involvement in a mentoring program designed for early adolescent girls.


Jennifer Rainer, Ed.D Student, Graduate School of Education

Jennifer Rainer is a doctoral student in Education whose research focuses on the dynamics of race and ethnicity in youth mentoring relationships.


Christian Rummell, Ed.D Student, Graduate School of Education

Christian Rummell is a doctoral student in Education whose dissertation research is investigating the experiences of participants in mentoring programs designed for GLBT youth.


Amy Salazar, Ph.D. Student, School of Social Work

Amy Salazar is a doctoral student in Social Work whose area of interest is mentoring to support youth in foster care.


Jessica Schmidt, Ph.D student, School of Social Work

Jessica Schmidt works on an NSF-funded study testing the effects of a mentoring program designed to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) careers among students with disabilities.


Jacob Sherman, M.A. Student, Graduate School of Education

Jacob Sherman is a graduate student in the Leadership for Sustainability Education program whose interests include mentoring in higher education, leadership development, and sustainability education.