Kristen Fay Poston

Research Scientist

B.A. Wellesley College, M.A., Ph.D. Tufts University

Dr. Kristen Fay Poston is a Research Scientist at the National Institute of Out-of-School Time (NIOST), and a visiting lecturer in the Psychology Department at Wellesley College and the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. She is a Wellesley College graduate and earned her Master’s degree and doctorate in applied Child Development from Tufts University.

Currently, she is part of a research team at NIOST who are evaluating the impact of before-school physical activity programs (BOKS) on children’s learning and non-learning outcomes. She is also a member of the team evaluating the Boston and Beyond Summer Learning Project, an integrative summer program that unites Boston Public Schools with community-based organizations to promote improved learning and non-learning outcomes among urban youth.

Prior to NIOST, Dr. Poston held research appointments at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University and at the Massachusetts General Hospital Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program in Boston. Her research has focused primarily on identifying and describing the individual and contextual factors that influence developmental trajectories of positive psychological and physical health among adolescents, most specifically with regard to weight regulation and perception, dietary habits, eating attitudes and behaviors, and patterns of physical activity. She uses an interdisciplinary approach that integrates psychological theories with nutrition science, education, public health, and psychiatric perspectives. Methodologically, she has worked with a variety of longitudinal and cross-sectional data sets. As a result, her research has been published in diverse academic journals, such as Developmental Psychology, Eating and Weight Disorders, International Journal of Eating Disorders, British Journal of Psychiatry, Transcultural Psychiatry, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, and Journal of Youth Development.

In her free time Kristen volunteers at the Multi-service Eating Disorder Association (MEDA), a community-based organization that promotes education for and prevention of eating disorders. She enjoys baking and being active, either exercising indoors or hiking outdoors when the weather is warm. She is extremely passionate about teaching and mentoring students. Kristen has taken trips to Kauai, Puerto Rico, Cozumel, Santa Barbara wine country, and Savannah in the past and was excited to experience New Zealand on her honeymoon.


    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA

Directions to NIOST

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