Dr. Steven John Holochwost | Principal and Director of Research for Youth & Families

Photo of Steven Holochwost smiling in front of bookshelves

Why it is important to do research with children and families in the naturalistic contexts in which they live and learn? In his 1979 book, The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design, Urie Bronfenbrenner might have said it best: “much of developmental psychology, as it now exists, is the science of the strange behavior of children in strange situations with strange adults for the briefest possible periods of time”.

Dr. Steven John Holochwost is Principal and Director of Research for Youth & Families at WolfBrown. He works with programs designed to improve the lives of vulnerable children and youth. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Lehman College. This is part of the City University of New York. There, his research focuses on the effects of environment, particularly poverty and parenting. He considers the voluntary forms of self-regulation (e.g., executive functions) in childhood. He also examines the involuntary activity of neurophysiological systems that support self-regulatory abilities.

This research is directly relevant to his applied work at WolfBrown. Dr. Steven Holochwost’s work at WolfBrown examines the efficacy of educational interventions for children in poverty. The common thread running through both these lines of work is the need to understand how poverty impacts child development—and how programs that expand educational opportunities for children can mitigate those effects

Since joining WolfBrown, Dr. Steven Holochwost has served as Principal Investigator or Co-principal Investigator on many studies. In these, he assesses the impacts of arts education programs on under-served children and youth. Holochwost’s work addresses how instrumental music education can foster basic cognitive skills among children in poverty. He looks at how choral participation can change the ways incarcerated adolescents perceive their peers. Dr. Holochwost also examines how theater residencies can improve social skills among school students who are routinely exposed to traumatic events.

His areas of specialization include the use of mixed quantitative and qualitative methods and the application of advanced analytics to longitudinal data. His work has been supported by the National Endowment for Arts, the US Department of Education, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Penn, Mellon, Arnold, and Buck Family Foundations.

Over the past fifteen years, Dr. Holochwost has worked in government, academia, and private research firms. Before joining WolfBrown, Dr. Holochwost was Associate Director of Research at the Early Learning Center. Prior to that, he was Senior Assistant Child Advocate with the Office of the Child Advocate for the State of New Jersey. He earned his Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. There, he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He also holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the Fels Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.

Steven can be reached directly via email.



We always welcome inquiries from potential collaborators. Please send a message and one of our consultants will respond.