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Hi, I'm Shana.

I pronounce my name like this: Shay-nuh De-Flee-gur. I use she/her/hers pronouns. I was born and raised as an able-bodied, neurodivergent, cisgender Irish-Dutch-German-American girl on Lenni-Lenape land (Philadelphia, PA). I spent my early adulthood on the West Coast and abroad, studying psychology and education, and working as a public elementary school teacher. I returned to the East Coast to pursue applied research in human development and early education in 2017.


My master's research focused on understanding and communicating the science of early childhood adversity to practitioners and policymakers in education. My doctoral research has focused on teacher education activities and ecologies that promote teacher wellness and trauma-responsive, racially equitable practice. 

Currently, I engage in qualitative and mixed-methods research at the intersection of teacher mental health and social justice at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. In this role, I enjoy listening, imagining, and agitating with educators to help advance healthy, just, and regenerative learning spaces. A beneficiary of trauma-responsive teachers, and a trauma-responsive practitioner, myself, I am deeply committed to amplifying the voices of teachers and teachers-to-be, and co-constructing pathways to healing and growth.

I enjoy traveling (when public health conditions allow), doing the New York Times Spelling Bee and Crossword, exchanging snail mail, gardening, running, and cooking. 

alt="Shana, a white, blonde woman in glasses, smiling"


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Fun fact: the "What if?" background image on this site is a framed card that was given to me in 2012. It has hung in every classroom and office I've had since, as a reminder to stay curious. (If anyone knows who the original artist is, please let me know, so that I can credit them!) 

University of Pittsburgh

PhD training, Applied Developmental Psychology

Minor, Research Methodology (2019 - 2022)

  • Instructor, Department of Health and Human Development

  • Graduate Student Researcher

  • Psychology in Education Department Representative, Council of Graduate Students in Education (2019-2020)

  • First Experience in Research Mentor (2020)

  • AERA Division K Campus Liaison (2020-2021)

  • PA Psychological Foundation Student Education Award Recipient 

  • Ad Hoc Reviewer: Journal of Trauma Studies in Education; Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Harvard University

Ed.M, Human Development and Psychology

University of Southern California

MAT, Urban Elementary Education

Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential

  • Student Teacher

  • Graduate Research Assistant

  • Licensure: CA, AZ, HI

Pepperdine University

BA, Psychology

  • President's Award Scholarship

University of Arizona

Stanford University

Coursework, Spanish & Psychology

  • Freshman Class Council

  • Arizona Promise Grant

Coursework, Latin & Psychology of Stigma

Higher Education


La Casa del Niño Nueva Familia

Buenos Aires, Argentina - K-5

Pomaika'i Elementary School

Kahului, Hawaii - 1st Grade

Wailuku Elementary School

Wailuku, Hawaii - 2nd/5th Grade

Kihei Elementary School

Kihei, Hawaii - 4th Grade

TAL/XES International

Beijing, China - Early Childhood Teacher Educator 

University Teaching

Attentional Teaching Practices

University of Pittsburgh School of Education, MAT Program

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teaching evals

Child & Youth Work Practice I & II

University of Pittsburgh School of Education, Undergraduate

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teaching evals

From Classroom to Community: Inter- and Intra-personal Life Skills

University of Pittsburgh, Dept. of Athletics, Undergraduate

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teaching evals

"We must remain constructively dissatisfied with the status quo."

Dr. Jack Shonkoff

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