Back to top

Department of Human Sciences Directory

Contact information for regional faculty members is located on the main College Directory.

Kelly Purtell

Assistant Professor, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Human Development and Family Science

(614) 688-1896

Download Vitae


  • PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010
  • BA, Psychology, University of Connecticut, 2005

Research Interests

Research Summary

My research centers on understanding how contextual factors shape health and development among low-income children and adolescents, and on how policies and programs can enhance the developmental trajectories of these youth. Specifically, my current research focuses on four themes: 1) the influence of family poverty on adolescents’ expectations and preparation for the transition to adulthood; 2) the role of income support benefits (ex. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families); 3) Understanding how educational settings, both in early childhood and K-12 years, influence the academic development of economically disadvantaged youth; and 4) quantitative methods, including longitudinal modeling and causal inference.


  • 2014-present: Assistant Professor, Human Sciences, The Ohio State University
  • 2012-2014: F32 National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow, Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin
  • 2011-2014: Evaluation Consultant, Play to Learn Project, United Way for Greater Austin
  • 2010-2012: Postdoctoral Fellow, Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin
  • 2008-2010: Graduate Research Fellow, Carolina Institute for Public Policy

Selected Grants

  • The Development of Low Income Children in the Context of Welfare and Food Stamps. F32HD069121. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Role: PI, 2012-1014. ($101,404).
  • State Variation in TANF Benefits and the Development of Low-Income Children. University of Michigan National Poverty Center Small Grants Competition. Role: PI, 2011. ($7,200).

Selected Publications

  • Henry, G. T.,Purtell, K. M., Bastian, K. C., Fortner, C. K., Thompson, C. L., Campbell, S. L., & Patterson, K. M. (2014). The effects of teacher entry portals on student achievement. Journal of Teacher Education, 65, 7-23.
  • Henry, G. T., Bastian, K. B., Fortner, C. K., Kershaw, D. C., Purtell, K. M., & Thompson, C. L., & Zulli, R. A. (2014).  Teacher preparation policies and their effects on student achievement. Education Finance & Policy, 9, 264-303.
  • Purtell, K. M. & McLoyd, V. C. (2013). Parents’ participation in a work-based anti-poverty program can enhance their children’s future orientation: Understanding pathways of influence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 777-791.
  • Purtell, K. M. & McLoyd, V.C. (2013).  A longitudinal investigation of employment among low-income youth: Patterns, predictors, and correlates. Youth & Society, 45, 243-264.
  • Purtell, K. M., Gershoff, E. T., & Aber, J. L. (2012) Low income families’ utilization of the federal “safety net”: Individual and state-level predictors of TANF and Food Stamp receipt. Children & Youth Services Review, 34, 713-724.
  • McLoyd, V. C., Kaplan R., Purtell K. M., & Huston, A. (2011). Assessing the effects of a work-based antipoverty program for parents on youths’ future orientation and employment experiences.  Child Development, 82, 113-132.
  • Grammer, J. K., Purtell, K. M., Coffman, J. L., & Ornstein, P. A. (2011). Relations between children’s metamemory and strategic performance: Time-varying covariates in early elementary school. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108, 139-155.