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Jennifer Woolard, PhD

A Professor of psychology and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, Jennifer Woolard began her career at the National Victims Resource Center. While obtaining her doctoral degree in developmental and community psychology at the University of Virginia she also served as a victim-witness volunteer in the county police department, a staff member to the Virginia Commission on Family Violence Prevention, and a consultant with Virginians Against Domestic Violence (now Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance) . She then joined the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice and became an assistant professor at the University of Florida’s Center for Studies in Criminology and Law. In 2002 she joined the psychology faculty at Georgetown University. Her research and action laboratory, the Georgetown Community Research Group, studies individual and family experiences with systems of care and control in order to create fair, effective, and just legal processes. Projects examine how youth and parents understand the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to a trial. Her lab is the evaluation partner for the Youth In Custody Practice Model initiative, which helps juvenile correctional institutions implement evidence-informed and developmentally-appropriate practices. Dr. Woolard has testified as an expert before federal and state legislatures as well as in criminal cases. She has presented her research findings to a wide variety of academic, legal, and policy audiences, and won several awards for teaching excellence, including the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. She currently serves as chair of the Psychology Department.