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Jennifer Watling Neal

Professor of Psychology, Michigan State University

Jennifer Watling Neal is a professor at Michigan State University with interests that span the fields of Community Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Sociology, and Education. Her research focuses on understanding social networks in K-12 educational contexts. She has studied the role of children's classroom peer networks in shaping prosocial and aggressive behaviors and the role of educator networks in facilitating the adoption and use of new programs and practices. Additionally, she has an emerging line of research focused on understanding the prevalence and characteristics of childfree adults.


  • 2022–present
    Professor, Michigan State University
  • 2015–2022
    Associate Professor, Michigan State University
  • 2009–2015
    Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
  • 2008–2009
    Postdoctoral fellow, Institute for Juvenile Research


  • 2008 
    University of Illinois at Chicago, Ph.D. in Psychology
  • 2004 
    University of Illinois at Chicago, M.A. in Psychology
  • 2001 
    University of Arizona, B.S. in Psychology
  • 2001 
    University of Arizona, B.A. in Sociology