Joy Sotolongo

Research Scientist

Research Focus

Education & certification

M.S. Rehabilitation Administration, DePaul University, B.S. Special Education, Northern Illinois University

Joy Sotolongo

Research Scientist, Chapel Hill, NC

Joy Sotolongo has more than 20 years of experience evaluating federal, state, and local initiatives that improve the lives of children. She brings a participatory approach to her work to ensure results are used to positively impact children, families, and professionals who work with children. She has 15 years of experience evaluating multi-component early childhood initiatives, which include early learning, family strengthening, health, and early intervention services.

Her work with North Carolina’s Smart Start initiative includes participation in efforts to create and implement statewide, population-based success indicators for early childhood initiatives. She provided evaluation leadership that resulted in the adoption of evidence-based family support and health programs. She led efforts to bring an implementation lens to Smart Start programs. She served as the evaluator for Smart Start’s National Technical Assistance Center. Other evaluation experiences included community-based adolescent health initiatives and professional development for K-12 educators.

At Child Trends, Joy provides leadership for the evaluation several early childhood initiatives, including two national technical assistance centers. She aims to support the continued growth and improvement of early childhood systems with high-quality, user-friendly evaluation. One of her recent accomplishments is serving as the lead evaluator for Gaston Youth Connected, one of nine demonstration sites for the President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Evaluation results include significant narrowing of disparities in births between African American and white teens. In independent interviews, stakeholders credited the continued use of data to improve project approaches as a key factor in their success.