• Ph.D. 1996 – University of Wisconsin, Educational Psychology
  • M.S. 1993 – University of Wisconsin, Educational Psychology
  • B.A. 1989 – Wake Forest University, Psychology

Areas of Expertise

  • Adolescent Development
  • Peer Relations
  • School-based intervention
  • Educational Psychology


Dr. Hamm’s research interests center on early adolescents’ social, behavioral, and academic adjustment, and the role of peer relations in successful school adaptation. She has applied her research findings to the development and testing of professional development programs designed to help middle school teachers create supportive learning environments for their students. Dr. Hamm currently directs or co-directs several research studies that involve creating professional development programs and examining their efficacy and utility for middle school teachers and their students. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Institute for Education Sciences (IES; U.S. Department of Education), the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation.

Two current project, both funded by the NSF, involve helping educators enhance two unique learning environments for teens. Hamm is Principal Investigator of PEARL (Peers Engaged as Resources in Learning), a collaborative study with Horizon Research, Inc., designed to provide foundational research on small group learning in mathematics classrooms. This project brings together theories and evidence-based practices regarding high quality mathematics education and productive classroom social dynamics. She is also co-Principal Investigator of Hidden No More: Shedding Light on Science Stories in the Shadows, a design and development project in collaboration with the UNC-CH Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, to develop and test innovative learning experiences for informal environments (e.g., museums) based on the research of past and current STEM innovators from underrepresented groups, whose work helps people understand, create, and harness light now.

As co-PI on an additional current project funded by IES and led by Desiree Murray, at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (UNC-Chapel Hill), Hamm has extended her research on helping middle school teachers support healthy classroom social dynamics, to contribute to development and testing of a curriculum to help health and physical education teachers support students’ self-regulation.