Jennifer Lawlor is a Research Fellow in the School of Information and the School of Education. She holds a Ph.D. in community psychology from Michigan State University and a B.A. in psychology from DePaul University. Her research interests center around understanding how people collaborate and share information to manage complex problems in community settings, with a particular focus on coalitions. She also studies how tools from complexity science and systems thinking can improve the understanding of social issues. Jennifer is invested in conducting community engaged research and has collaborated with partners around the state of Michigan working on improving postsecondary attainment, early childhood service systems, and local and regional food systems. Before her career as a researcher, Jennifer worked at a middle school in Chicago, in serving as a resource and advocate for students and their families who were often left behind by the education system. This work informs her current approach to engaging in research with communities as well as her understanding of social issues as systemic and ecological. She is currently part of a team that is building a prototype community research ecology (CoRE). The CoRE will provide a space for researchers and practitioners in education to share and synthesize information related to problems of mutual interest. When Jennifer isn’t doing research, she enjoys hiking, playing the ukulele, and baking.
Areas of interest
Community change efforts to address complex problems, collaboration and information sharing networks, applications of complexity science and systems thinking to address social issues, community research ecologies
Ph.D. in Community Psychology at Michigan State University
M.A. in Community Psychology at Michigan State University
B.A. in Psychology at DePaul University