Jessica Mercer Young, principal research scientist, is a developmental psychologist and early childhood expert. For 20 years, her education R&D has provided new insights into learning and cognition; promoting equity; narrowing STEM opportunity gaps; and creating authentic, engaging, and innovative learning experiences that bridge formal and informal spaces. She leads studies funded by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, Heising-Simons Foundation, and Overdeck Family Foundations.

Young leads a body of work centered on promoting interest, knowledge, and positive mindsets in STEM. She designs and studies learning experiences that power up STEM engagement at home, in school, and in communities through math games, formal and informal science partnerships, culturally sustaining science media, and computational thinking.

A frequent presenter and widely published author, Young shares her findings with teachers, researchers, and families. She is a steering committee member of the National Alliance for Family Math and co-founded NAEYC’s Early Math Interest Forum. She began her career as a preschool teacher.

Young holds a PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology from Boston College and an EdM in Human Development from Harvard.