Jessica holds a Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Maryland. Her graduate research focused on school-based prevention, collaborative school teams, and teacher efficacy. Prior to her doctoral studies, Jessica held various research and practical roles, including evaluating children with Autism and/or Hyperlexia at the Center for the Study of Learning, a functional neuroimaging lab at Georgetown University. Jessica also worked as a School Psychologist in public school and university settings, focusing on psychoeducational assessment and development of academic and behavioral interventions. Additionally, she has experience as a lecturer in psychology at two-year and four-year institutions of higher education.
Jessica is now lucky to be a homeschooling parent of two exceptional boys! As a psychology teacher at Athena’s, Jessica hopes to facilitate an interest in psychology within students that will enable utilization of underlying psychological principles to improve outcomes in personal and educational domains.
Dr. Jessica has a blog at Psychology Today, Beyond School Walls, that is focused on connecting the science of psychology to homeschooling and online learning.
Jessica’s initial interest in pursuing a path of study in psychology was primarily inspired by her grandmother’s (Genevieve Savani) trailblazing history in the field. Genevieve graduated high school at age 16 in 1935. Despite various barriers at that time, including being a female from an extremely poor first-generation Italian (coal-mining) family in Pittsburgh, Genevieve attended college and then graduate school. She then went on to establish the gifted program in her school district, in addition to becoming the first school psychologist in the district.