Dr. Sara Etz Mendonça is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Program for Leadership and Character and in the Department of Psychology. She earned a B.A. in Romance languages and literature from the University of Chicago, an M.Ed. from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research focuses on the development of character and virtues in youth and the creation of effective character interventions. Her work has been published in edited volumes such as Developing Gratitude in Children and Adolescents and peer-reviewed academic journals including Current Psychology and Cross-Cultural Research. She has also presented her findings at multiple national and international conferences including the Society for Research in Child Development and the Association for Moral Education. Beyond her scholarly work, she is a dedicated educator who has won teaching awards from multiple middle and high schools from Illinois to Mexico to Sweden, and, most recently, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While working in high schools, she founded programs for immigrant parents and their children to inform them about the college admissions process so that the students could continue their education by attending university. A firm believer in the connection between mind and body, she has both founded and coached various track and soccer teams in the educational institutions where she has worked.
Sierra Kohler is the Program Coordinator for the Templeton Grant working with Dr. Eranda Jayawickreme in the Psychology department and Dr. Michael Lamb in the Program for Leadership and Character. Sierra has a B.A. in Psychology from Queens University of Charlotte and a M.A. in Counseling from Wake Forest University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate. Sierra is interested in post traumatic growth and wellbeing and hopes to pursue her doctorate degree in the future.