Sigan Hartley

Current Affiliates

Sigan Hartley

Dr. Hartley received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wyoming in 2007. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Human Development and Family Studies department at UW-Madison. She studies the resources and contexts underlying positive well-being in individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members. Dr. Hartley's lab investigates many aspects of individual well-being and family relationships such as marital quality, parent-child interactions, healthy aging, mental health conditions, and stress and coping.




Heather Kirkorian

Heather Kirkorian

Dr. Kirkorian received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2007. She is an Assistant Professor in the Human Development and Family Studies department at the UW-Madison. Dr. Kirkorian's research interests are at the intersection of cognitive development and media impact with an emphasis on attentional mechanisms. Her current projects address the extent to which infants and toddlers can learn from video, the development of attention to video, and the impact of television on very young children, particularly as it relates to solitary toy play and parent-child interaction as potential mediators of cognitive development. Recent publications include a review chapter in Blackwell's Handbook of Children, Media, and Development and empirical research articles in Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.


Dr. Halpern-Meekin

Sarah Halpern-Meekin

Sarah is joining the Human Development and Family Studies department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison this fall as an assistant professor. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. Her research interests include romantic and family relationships, relationship education, and welfare policy (especially the Earned Income Tax Credit).








Lauren Papp

Lauren Papp

Dr. Papp received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Counseling Psychology from the University of Notre Dame. She is an Associate Professor in the Human Development and Family Studies department at the UW-Madison. She is interested in intimate relationship quality and psychological distress, interparental conflict and child development, and quantitative methods and modeling of family and relationship processes. 






Professor Stephen Small

Stephen Small

Dr. Small is a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Human Development & Family Relations Specialist for the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. Prof. Small's interests span both research and its practical application. His work focuses on adolescent and adult development, parenting, and the design and evaluation of prevention and promotion initiatives for children, youth and families. For more than 25 years he has been working with communities and organizations across Wisconsin and the nation to help them understand and address the concerns and aspirations youth and their families. Click here for more information on Prof. Small and his work. 



Abra Vigna photo

Abra Bankendorf Vigna

Abra Bankendorf Vigna is a PhD student in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests focus on the role that contemplative practices play in assessments of health and well-being across the lifespan. Her master’s research focused on the ways in which the degree of compassion one holds for the self may contribute to a sense of inner freedom that is related to a reduced likelihood of utilizing controlling influence tactics in intimate relationships. Her dissertation research takes a community-based participatory approach to identifying (1) the mechanisms of discrimination that are related to health disparities among LGBT people of color and (2) the sources of strength—such as dispositional mindfulness and/or self-compassion-- that operate to produce resiliencies within this population.

In addition to contributing to various research projects affiliated with the Center for Child and Family Well-being such as: Compassionate Parenting to Enhance Child and Family Well-being; Contemplative Practices with High-Risk Preschoolers, and the Wisconsin CARES, she also co-chaired a research project offering no-cost mindfulness training to the UW Madison community and has worked as a Youth Development Specialist at a local non-profit serving runaway and homeless youth since 2003.