Sara Vasilenko

M.S., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Sara Vasilenko joins the Department of Human Development and Family Science as an assistant professor.

Prior to joining Falk College, Vasilenko served as a research assistant professor in Health and Human Development and as a research associate in the Methodology Center at Pennsylvania State University. There, Vasilenko was a postdoctoral fellow in the Prevention Research Center and Methodology Center after working as a graduate assistant in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Prior to her time at Penn State, Vasilenko held a research apprentice fellowship in the Department of Epidemiology and worked as a research assistant in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University.

Vasilenko’s research spans topics related to adolescence and young adult health, sexual behavior, and drug use. She is currently subcontract PI on a grant from the Office of Adolescent Health, which focuses on how multidimensional risk factors moderate effects of teen pregnancy prevention programs, and co-investigator on a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant focusing on how substance use and its predictors vary by age. Vasilenko is published in journals such as the Journal of Adolescence, Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Early Adolescence, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Journal of Sex Research, and Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Vasilenko is the recipient of a 2006 Graham Endowed Fellowship, Pennsylvania State University College of Health and Human Development. She currently is a consulting editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence and member of the Society for Research in Child Development, among others.

Vasilenko earned a M.S. and Ph.D. in human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University and a B.A. in English from Kalamazoo College.


Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University

M.S. Pennsylvania State University


Adolescent and young adult development, sexual behavior, developmental methodology, substance use