Jennifer W. Yu, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Education and Human Services | SRI International

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Jennifer W. Yu

Principal Scientist and Disabilities Program Director, Center for Learning and Development

Jennifer Yu, Sc.D., specializes in the development, implementation, and evaluation of educational and health-related supports and services for individuals with disabilities, with a focus on technologies and programs that improve the learning and quality of life for people with autism, learning disabilities, and mental/behavioral health issues.

Yu is co-principal investigator on several studies involving children and young adults with autism. A study funded by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) analyzed data from the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) and the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) to determine factors that promote positive outcomes for children and adolescents with autism. Studies funded by the National Science Foundation have focused on middle school students with autism and their interests and motivations to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as predictors of STEM participation among college students with autism. Yu is also involved in a multi-disciplinary development team that integrates SRI’s capabilities in vision technologies, artificial intelligence, and robotics to support the diagnosis and treatment of children with autism.

In addition to her autism research, Yu is presently co-investigator for the IES-funded study of a Science Notebook in a Universal Design for Learning Environment (SNUDLE), which uses a randomized controlled trial design to examine the efficacy of SNUDLE on science learning and motivation among fourth grade students, particularly those with learning disabilities. She also is co-PI for the Center on Inclusive Software for Learning, an R&D center led by CAST and funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs to explore and develop open-source software that will provide an accessible, engaging, and high-quality learning experience for K-12 students with disabilities.

Yu has written and co-written numerous papers on autism, learning disabilities, and behavioral disabilities in children and adolescents. Her work has appeared in such peer-reviewed journals as Exceptional ChildrenJournal of Adolescent HealthJournal of Autism and Developmental DisordersJournal of Emotional and Behavioral DisordersMaternal and Child Health Journal, and Pediatrics.

Yu received her master’s degree in education and a doctorate in public health, specializing in maternal and child health, epidemiology, and biostatistics, from Harvard University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health policy from the University of California, San Francisco.

Jennifer W. Yu