Mary Margaret Kerr - Projects

Children as Tourists

Aug 2019 - Apr 2020

Hindered by the lack of research on child tourists generally and the virtual absence of studies of children at so-called dark tourism sites, we conduct research that engages youth in documenting their own travel experiences. This mobile ethnographic work takes place annually for several days, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, at sites throughout the Washington, DC area, and in Johnstown, PA. The project provides both undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines the opportunity to conduct field research alongside their young collaborators.

In 2020, 24 youth completed the first study of youth visitors to the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, while 23 youth completed research projects at the Johnstown, PA Flood Museum and the Johnstown Flood National Memorial, These youth learned research methods through distance instruction provided by our interdisciplinary, undergraduate research team whom I directly supervise. Our work was highlighted in 2019 in the Washington Post and will be documented in an upcoming research handbook published by Routledge.

Flight 93 Memorial Site Collaboration with National Park Service

2013 - 2020

We are conducting research on the experiences of children who visit and correspond with the Flight 93 memorial site. The goal of our work is to support the National Park Services in its development of programming for young visitors. Research began in the Spring on 2012 and continues.

Emotional Labor of Teachers Research Project

2013 - 2014

A collaborative research project with George Mason University, this project gathers quantitative and qualitative evidence regarding teachers' emotional practice, using the theoretical constructs of emotional labor. We are exploring the work teachers to do manage the expression of their emotions while at work, through individual interviews and a new self-report measure, The Emotional Labor of Teaching Scale (TELTS). Research began in the spring of 2011 and continues.

Reserve Teacher Corps Training Project

Oct 2009 - Dec 2010
Pittsburgh Public Schools contract to develop and implement an on-line instructional and behavioral coaching "help desk" for its substitute teachers.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Technical Assistance Team

Mar 1, 2009 - Aug 1, 2010
A grant from the Staunton Farms Foundation to the Pittsburgh Public Schools will provide support for a University technical assistance team led by Dr. Kerr to guide the district's efforts in implementing PBIS in its schools serving grades K-8.

Watson Institute Behavioral Supports for Youth (WIBSY)

Jan 5, 2007 - Aug 2010
This project offers technical assistance toPittsburgh City Schools in the area of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Support. The project is a partnership among the Watson Institute, the school district, and the School-Based Behavioral Health specialization within the Psychology in Education Department.

Pitt-Arsenal Project

Jan 2008
Faculty and students in three school leadership courses are working with my students in a behavioral assessment and interventions course to assess the needs of a local urban middle school. Following that effort, the 70 students will design and share data analyses, individual, classroom-wide, and school-wide interventions, and professional development seminars, literature reviews, and newsletters. Not only will the middle school gain new insights and a DVD full of resources, but our graduates are learning how to assess and solve real problems that teachers and students face every day in schools. Our hope is that as our school leadership graduates become principals and superintendents, they will be better advocates for students and teachers struggling with behavioral problems.
Mary Margaret Kerr


University of Pittsburgh
5712 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260