Jessica Blom-Hoffman, Ph.D.
For the fourth time in just 12 years, a graduate of Lehigh’s school psychology program has won the prestigious Lightner Witmer Award from Division 16 (School Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA).
The award is given annually to an outstanding young scholar in the school psychology field. Jessica Blom-Hoffman
, Ph.D., assistant professor at Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences, received the award at APA’s national convention last month.
Blom-Hoffman earned her Ph.D. in school psychology from Lehigh’s College of Education in 2001. She also received her M.Ed. in human development from Lehigh in 1997.
“My educational experience at Lehigh shaped my career and research interests profoundly. I was afforded excellent opportunities to work with some of the best faculty members in the country in school psychology,” Blom-Hoffman says. “In particular, Drs. George DuPaul and Ed Shapiro served as influential mentors for me. They guided me in my previous work, and continue to mentor me in my career.”
She was also the first graduate of the program’s pediatric school psychology sub-specialization—a first-in-the-nation training program
focused on developing school psychologists who can serve as liaisons between schools and healthcare centers. It’s designed to specifically address the medical, educational, psychological, and community needs of children who are at risk for emotional or behavioral disorders.
“Not only was Jessica the first student to go through pediatric school psychology here at Lehigh, but she was also one of the most talented students I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with,” says George DuPaul, chair of the department of education and human services in Lehigh’s College of Education.
“She’s bright, enthusiastic, and has already earned a national reputation for her cutting-edge research,” he added. “Even our current students know her name, follow her research, and see her track record as the standard they aspire to reach.”
Her research interests
include early literacy and nutrition education. A current research project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, explores ways to promote fruit and vegetable consumption among Boston-area elementary school students.
Lehigh’s school psychology program is well known for ground-breaking research and high caliber students. DuPaul and Ed Shapiro, director of Lehigh’s Center for Promoting Research to Practice, have both been recognized by the APA for their prolific research
in the field of school psychology.
“Actually, Dr. Ed Shapiro and I published a paper about why Lehigh does such a good job preparing school psychology doctoral students to become leaders in the field,” Blom-Hoffman explained. “We narrowed it down to three important areas: mentoring, modeling, and money. “
The supportive and collaborative environment, coupled with great opportunities to work in settings such as Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, are what make Lehigh so special, she says.
Shapiro was also a past recipient of the Lightner Witmer Award, earning the honor in 1987 as an assistant professor at Lehigh.
Blom-Hoffman joins an impressive list of Lehigh alumni who, as award winners, have also been recognized for their contributions. They include Chris Skinner of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (a 1995 recipient), John Hintze of University of Massachusetts-Amherst (1999), and Syracuse University’s Tanya Eckert (2002).
Recipients of the award must be members of APA and have no more than seven years of experience. The award is given to an individual who demonstrates exceptional scholarship early in their careers.