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Jennifer W. Yu

Program Director/Senior Principal Scientist, SRI Education

Jennifer Yu, Sc.D., specializes in the development, implementation, and evaluation of education 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 has been 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 addressed the interests and motivations of middle school students with autism to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as predictors of STEM participation among college students with autism. Yu is also on a multidisciplinary 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 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-principal investigator 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 cowritten 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.

Key Projects

  1. Center on Inclusive Software for Learning 
  2. Science Notebook in a Universal Design for Learning Environment 
  3. Success Predictors in Postsecondary STEM Education and Employment for Students with Autism
  4. Factors in Positive Outcomes for Children & Youth with Autism
  5. Regional Educational Laboratory, Appalachia

Selected Publications

  1. Cerully, J. L., Collins, R. L., Wong, E. C., Seelam, R., & Yu, J. (2018). Differential response to contact-based stigma reduction programs: Perceived quality and personal experience matter. Psychiatry Research, 259, 302-309.
  2. Wei, X., Yu, J. W., Wagner, M., Hudson, L., Roux, A., Shattuck, P., & Blackorby, J. (2018). Job searching, job duration, and job loss among young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 48, 1-10.
  3. Davies-Mercier, E., Woodbridge, M. W., Sumi, W. C., Thornton, S. P., Roundfield, K. D., Lee-St. John, T., . . . Yu, J. (2017). Traumatic experiences and associated symptomatology in Asian American middle school students. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 8(3), 209-223.
  4. Wei, X., Yu, J. W., Shattuck, P., & Blackorby, J. (2015). High school math and science preparation and postsecondary STEM participation for students with an autism spectrum disorder. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. doi:10.1177/1088357615588489
  5. Characteristics of Two-Year College students on the Autism Spectrum and Their Support Services Experiences
  6. Wong, E. C., Collins, R. L., Cerully, J. L., Seelam, R., & Yu, J. (2017). Effects of contact-based mental illness stigma reduction programs: Age, gender, and Asian, Latino, and White American differences. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 53(2).
  7. Wei, X., Wagner, M., Hudson, L., Yu, J. W., & Javitz, H. (2016). The effect of transition planning participation and goal-setting on college enrollment among youth with autism spectrum disorders. Remedial and Special Education, 37(1), 3-14. doi:10.1177/0741932515581495
  8. Roux, A. M., Shattuck, P. T., Rast, J. E., Rava, J. A., Edwards, A. D., Wei, X., McCracken, M., & Yu, J. W. (2015). Characteristics of two-year college students on the autism spectrum and their support services experiences. Autism Research and Treatment, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/391693
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