Developmental and Clinical Psychology, University of Minnesota
Cohort Eight Fellow

Debby Moon.jpg

Academic Mentor
Arthur Reynolds, PhD
Professor, University of Minnesota

Policy Mentor
Elizabeth Carlson, PhD
Director of the Harris Training Program, Center for Early Education and Development

Areas of Expertise

Prevention ScienceMental Health and Well-BeingEarly Childhood Education and Initiatives


Christina Mondi-Rago is a doctoral candidate in Child Psychology (Developmental Psychopathology & Clinical Science track, with a minor in Prevention Science) at the University of Minnesota. She is currently on clinical internship at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital.

Ms. Mondi-Rago’s research examines the mechanisms by which early childhood interventions promote lifelong mental health and well-being, with a focus on populations affected by socioeconomic adversity and trauma. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota, where she was previously a Diversity of Views and Experiences Fellow and a Graduate Research Fellow of the National Science Foundation. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame, where she studied the effects of maltreatment, family conflict, and political violence on child development. Ms. Mondi-Rago hopes that her work will ultimately inform policies and interventions to reduce mental health and educational disparities.


Early Childhood Educational Intervention and Psychological Wellbeing: A Longitudinal Investigation in a Low-Income, Urban Sample

Extensive research has linked adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including maltreatment, to increased longitudinal risk for mental health problems, and there is a critical need for prevention strategies that can be scaled and tailored to meet the mental health needs of ACE-affected populations. Early childhood education (ECE) programs serve millions of children nationwide; however, few studies have examined the effects of ECE intervention on longitudinal mental health. Furthermore, little research has examined whether ECE programs exert differential effects on mental health for ACE-affected populations. Investigating these gaps may inform research, practice, and policy aimed at preventing ACEs and promoting the wellbeing of ACE-affected children. To this end, the present study will examine the effects of a high-quality ECE program, the Child-Parent Center preschool program, on psychological functioning into mid-life in a low-income, urban sample. Specific foci will include investigation of mediating processes, and differential effects of program participation for ACE-affected individuals.