Jennifer Mortensen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Family Studies & Human Development, University of Arizona
  • M.S., Human Development & Family Studies, University of Nevada Reno
  • B.S., Early Childhood Education, University of Nevada Reno


Dr. Jennifer Mortensen earned her M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2009 and completed her Ph.D. in Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona in 2015. Within HDFS, her area of specialization includes ecological and transactional approaches to understanding family and child wellbeing. Her research primarily focuses on proximal and distal risk/protective factors for families with infants and toddlers, including the nature of parent-child interactions as they relate to family dynamics and infants' socioemotional development. Her research also examines the role of early care and home visiting settings in fostering family wellbeing, especially for families facing risks such as economic hardship or maltreatment. She has taught a variety of HDFS courses at the University of Nevada, Reno related to lifespan development, families and relationships, infant/toddler development, and early childhood education. Dr. Mortensen is a Certified Family Life Educator and a committed advocate for family and early childhood policy, drawing motivation and inspiration for this work from her time as an infant/toddler teacher at Early Head Start.