• 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
  • Informal Learning Environments


Hamm’s research interests center on the role of peer relationships in adolescents’ adjustment. She has applied her research findings to the development and testing of professional learning programs designed to help middle and high school teachers create supportive learning environments for their students. The primary focus of her current work is peer collaboration in mathematics and evidence-based strategies for educators to help students engage in productive collaborative learning. Her current research has shifted to include informal learning environments, as well as classroom and school settings. 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.

Hamm has three funded research projects at present. Hamm is Principal Investigator of CASCADE (Collaborative Research: Simulations in Mathematics Collaborative Activities in STEM Careers for Adolescent Engagement), a collaborative study with Horizon Research, Inc., funded by NSF, to develop and test an interactive simulation that enables teens from groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields to practice collaborative skills while learning about careers that involve mathematics, and the stories of professionals from backgrounds historically underrepresented in STEM who have succeeded in these fields. As Co-Principal Investigator of Hidden No More: Shedding Light on Science Stories in the Shadows — funded by NSF and led by the UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center — she is studying adolescents’ engagement with and learning from interactive, multimedia museum exhibits based on the research of past and current scientists from groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields, whose work involves innovations in the study of light. Finally, as Co-Principal Investigator on a project funded by IES and led by Desiree Murray at UNC-Chapel Hill, Hamm has extended her research on helping middle school teachers support healthy classroom social dynamics, contributing to development and testing of a curriculum to aid school counselors in supporting students’ self-regulation.