PhD, Family Studies and Human Development, University of Arizona
Cohort Three Fellow


Academic Mentor
Melissa Barnett
Professor, University of Arizona

Policy Mentor
Rhian Allvin
Executive Director, National Association for the Education of Young Children

Current Institutional Affiliation
University of Nevada, Reno: Assistant Professor

Areas of Expertise

Infants and Toddlers, Regression Modeling, Families and Family Systems


Dr. Jennifer Mortensen earned her MS in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2009 and completed her PhD in Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona in 2015. Within HDFS, her area of specialization includes ecological approaches to understanding well-being for families with infants and toddlers. Her research focuses on understanding risk and protective factors as they relate to parent-infant interactions, parental well-being, and infant socioemotional development. Her research also examines the role of early care and home visiting settings in fostering well-being, especially economic disadvantaged families or infants/toddlers experiencing maltreatment.

Dr. Mortensen teaches a variety of HDFS courses at the University of Nevada, Reno related to families, relationships, infant/toddler development, and early childhood education. Dr. Mortensen is a Certified Family Life Educator and a committed advocate for family and early care and education policy. She draws motivation and inspiration for this work from her time as an infant/toddler teacher at Early Head Start.