Joy Thompson

Research Scientist

Research Focus

Education & certification

PhD, Applied Developmental Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MA, Applied Developmental Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Joy Thompson

Research Scientist, Bethesda, MD

Joy Thompson, PhD, is a research scientist in the education research area at Child Trends. With a background in Applied Developmental Psychology, her interests center around broadened access to educational opportunities, especially for Black and Latinx youth who experience a range of inequities. Dr. Thompson is also interested in students’ pathways into STEM fields and related supports for underrepresented groups. Her dissertation focused on how contextual and motivational factors explained differences in advanced high school math course enrollment by race/ethnicity and by gender.

Dr. Thompson’s work at Child Trends spans early childhood through K-12. She has managed multi-site, multi-year policy and program evaluations related to preschool curricula, school start time change, and school climate improvement. Dr. Thompson has also led projects related to integrating STEM into afterschool youth development programs and examining achievement gaps in public Montessori and other early childhood programs. She draws on quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods experience to understand how educational environments, programs, and supports shape student well-being, development, and pursuit of their interests and goals.