Dr. Amrisha Vaish and Dr. Emilie Smith Announced as Inaugural 2018-2019 SRCD Scholars-In-Residence


The Society for Research in Child Development is pleased to announce Dr. Amrisha Vaish of University of Virginia and Dr. Emilie Smith of University of Georgia as its first Scholars-in-Residence. Dr. Vaish will begin her residency on September 17, 2018, and Dr. Smith will join the DC headquarters in January of 2019.

The Scholar-in-Residence program, which was announced earlier this year, is designed to provide researchers time and space in SRCD’s Washington, D.C. office while on academic leave or sabbatical to complete a project, all the while exploring the Society and local scholarly, policy, or government connections. Scholars-in-residence receive funds to supplement existing sabbatical/leave support during their period of residence.

According to SRCD President Marc H. Bornstein, “In launching the Scholar-in-Residence program, a new presidential initiative, we hope to give Society members the opportunity and resources to come to D.C., experience the work of the Society, and expand their current research in ways that they could not do otherwise.”

About the 2018 - 2019 Scholars


Dr. Amrisha Vaish is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, where she directs the Early Social Development Lab. Amrisha earned her Ph.D. in Psychology in 2010 from the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig. Her research focuses on social and moral development, particularly on the emotions and motivations underlying young children’s moral behaviors.

Her prior research has explored the development of prosocial motivators such as sympathy, guilt, and reputation enhancement. Dr. Vaish’s research while at SRCD will build on an ongoing project focusing on the development and functions of forgiveness in children. Her residency work will also explore potential interventions to promote forgiveness from an early age.

Dr. Vaish has published in Child Development as well as journals such as Psychological BulletinPsychological Science, and Developmental Psychology. She received the 2011 SRCD Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, the 2012 APA Division 7 Dissertation Award, and the 2018 APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. She is also an APS Fellow.


Dr. Emilie Smith is the Janette McGarity Barber Distinguished Professor and Department Head of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia. She has directed and been involved in research funded for over 50 million dollars evaluating evidence-based practices for supporting families and communities in the prevention of problem behavior and promoting positive youth development.

Building on her research on the benefits of out-of-school time for discovery and inquiry among youth in diverse geographic and racial-ethnic contexts, Dr. Smith’s research while at SRCD will examine implicit mindsets, efficacy experiences, and the socio-cultural effects of afterschool programs on STEM inequality and the development of positive identity for underrepresented students.

Dr. Smith has co-authored a volume entitled, Preventing Youth Violence in a Multicultural Society, and numerous papers on youth and family development, with particular attention to diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. She is Editor of a Special Section of Child Development on Positive Youth Development in Diverse and Global Contexts emanating from her time as Chair of the Ethnic-Racial Issues Committee. She is Associate Editor of the American Journal of Community Psychology and a reviewer for numerous other journals. She is a Fellow of Division 27 of APA and has served on the Board of Directors and Ethics Task Force of the Society for Prevention Research and the Governing Council of the SRCD.