Shannon Varga

Associate Director of Research & Evaluation, CERES Institute
Research Assistant Professor


Shannon M. Varga Ph.D. is a Research Assistant Professor in the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development at Boston University and is Associate Director of Research and Evaluation for the CERES Institute for Children and Youth. Dr. Varga’s research has the goal of optimizing programs, policies, and practices that take a relational approach to promoting the healthy development of young people. In her previous work with America’s Promise Alliance, she has studied the role of social capital, networks, and social support in workforce development and re-engagement initiatives with risk immersed and emergent bilingual youth. She is currently involved in projects at the CERES Institute that examine relationships in schools, economic empowerment for girls, familial involvement in special education decisions, debate inspired pedagogy, and voluntary service engagements of formerly justice involved youth.

Shannon received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science in 2016 from the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education. She received her BA in Psychology from Montclair State University in 2012.

Flanagan, S. K., Zaff, J. F., Varga, S. M., & Margolius, M. (in press). Webs of supportive relationships: A positive youth development approach to career and workforce development with Risk-Immersed Youth. 

Varga, S. M., Margolius, M., Tang Yan, C., Skubel, A., Cole, M. L., & Zaff, J. F. (2019). I’m Going Back: The Re-engagement Experiences of Tucson Youth. Washington, DC: America’s Promise Alliance.

Varga, S.M., Margolius, M., Skubel, A., Cole, M.L., & Zaff, J.F. (2019). More Than a Village: Perspectives on Re-engagement in Tucson. Washington, DC: America’s Promise Alliance.

Varga, S. M., & Zaff, J. F. (2018). Webs of support: An integrative framework of relationships, social networks, and social support. Adolescent Research Review, 3(1), 1-11.

Flanagan, S. K., Varga, S. M., Zaff, J. F., Margolius, M., & Lin, E. S. (2018). Comprehensive Community Initiatives: The Impact on Population-level Child, Youth, and Family Outcomes. Washington, DC: America’s Promise Alliance.

Varga, S.M., Margolius, M., Tang Yan, C., Cole, M.L. & Zaff, J.F. (2017). I Came Here to Learn: The Achievements and Experiences of Massachusetts Students Whose First Language Is Not English. Washington, DC: America’s Promise Alliance.

Varga, S. M., & Deutsch, N. L. (2016). Revealing both sides of the story: A comparative analysis of mentors and protégés relational perspectives. Journal of Primary Prevention, 37(5), 449-465.

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