PhD, Developmental Psychology - University of California-Irvine
Cohort Five Fellow

Academic Mentor
Jodi Quas
Department of Psychology & Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine

Policy Mentors
Maria Hernandez
Presiding Judge, Orange County Superior Court

Nancy Wilkov
General Magistrate, The Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida

Current Institutional Affiliation
Vanderbilt University: Postdoctoral Researcher

Areas of Expertise

Psychology and Law, Parents, Mixed Methods


Dr. Kyndra Cleveland is a postdoctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University. Kyndra was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the University of California, Irvine where she received a PhD in developmental psychology specializing in Psychology & Law and Quantitative Methods. Dr. Cleveland was also recently awarded a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for her research focusing on parent strengths, engagement, and reunification and re-entry outcomes. Her work focuses on children and families’ experiences with the juvenile justice system, specifically taking a psycho-legal approach to investigate parents’ understanding, perceptions of justice, and strengths in relation to parents’ engagement behaviors and case outcomes.

Dr. Cleveland has received fellowships and grants supporting her work from the American Psychology-Law Society, The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Cleveland was also awarded the UCI Social Ecology Dean’s Award for Community Engagement, which recognized the public impact of her research with children. She has presented her research at national and international conferences including those held by the American Psychology-Law Society, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect. Dr. Cleveland graduated summa cum laude from Florida State University with a BS in psychology. She has a MA in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine.