UMass Psychology


Dr. Ann Masten,
 University of Minnesota

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: "Ordinary Magic on the Developmental Road to Resilience"

Ann Masten, PhD, is a Regents Professor and the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. A licensed psychologist, she completed her doctoral training at Minnesota in psychology, with a clinical internship at UCLA. She joined the faculty in the Institute of Child Development at Minnesota in 1986, chairing the department from 1999 to 2005. Professor Masten’s research is directed at understanding processes that promote competence and resilience in human development, with a focus on protective processes in the context of high cumulative risk, adversity, and trauma. She directs the Project Competence studies of risk and resilience, including studies of normative populations and high-risk young people exposed to war, natural disasters, poverty, homelessness, and migration. Dr. Masten currently serves on the Board of Children, Youth, and Families and co-chairs the Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally for the Institute of Medicine/U.S. National Academies. She is past president of the Society for Research in Child Development and the 2014 recipient of the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society. Professor Masten has published numerous articles and books on risk and resilience in human development, including a new book, Ordinary Magic: Resilience in Development, published by Guilford Press in 2014. She has given many presentations on resilience for national and international audiences, including a MOOC (free mass open online course) available online beginning Sep, 2014, on Coursera, called “Resilience in Children Exposed to Trauma, Disaster and War: Global Perspective.”

Astrid Dabbeni, Executive Director of Adoption Mosaic, Portland, OR

Ms. Dabbeni has a degree in sociology with an emphasis in adoption. For the past twenty plus years she worked in both the private and public sectors of various adoption organizations such the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center, Holt International and Rocky Mountain Adoption Exchange. Currently she is the Executive Director and co-founder of Adoption Mosaic, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect, honor and serve the adoption community through innovative education, practices and support services. Ms. Dabbeni serves on the board of directors of the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) and has authored articles on the subject of adoption including being a chapter contributor in the book Parents As Adoptees. She has also developed a 3 part  innovative, evidence-based training DVD, Education Center for Adoptive Parents~ Supporting and Connecting Families.

Dr. Judith Eckerle,
Pediatrician and Director of the Adoption Medicine Program at the University of Minnesota

Judith K. Eckerle is an assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Global Pediatrics, and is the Director of the Adoption Medicine Program at the University of Minnesota. She was adopted from South Korea at 6 months of age and has been a part of numerous adult adoptee programs and groups in the USA and abroad. Dr. Eckerle received her bachelor's degree at Illinois Wesleyan University (biology, flute performance) and medical school at Medical College of Wisconsin. She completed her residency at Weill Cornell Medical Center (New York, NY) and a 1-year post-doctoral fellowship in adoption medicine at the University of Minnesota's Center for Neurobehavioral Development. Dr. Eckerle currently sees domestic and internationally adopted children in the Adoption Clinic as well as the Fetal Substances Exposures Clinic. She also teaches residents in the International Adoption Clinic local elective and mentors medical students and residents. Her research interests include investigating markers that may be predictive of future cognitive outcomes in adopted children. These factors include prenatal chemical exposures, nutritional deficiencies, and diagnostics and interventions for children who have experienced early adversity.

Nathan Ross, Project Coordinator for the Community Champions Network at the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)

Nathan Ross came into foster care in 1999 after severe abuse and neglect led to the deaths of two of his brothers. Once in care, he spent two years in a Belton foster home and was then adopted in Blue Springs when he was 14. At 18, Nathan began using his story to help effect positive changes within the child welfare system. He has spent the last seven years going across the country, advocating for a system that fights against child abuse and neglect. Nathan works full time as the project coordinator of the Community Champions Network for the North American Council on Adoptable Children, an agency that promotes and supports permanent families for children and youth in the U.S. and Canada—especially children and youth who are or have been in foster care and those with special needs.

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