Senior Research Fellows

In 2006, the Donaldson Adoption Institute launched a Senior Research Fellows Program to enhance the quality and impact of its work. The Fellows are among the most prominent and esteemed researchers, lecturers and writers in the field of adoption and child welfare and they strengthen and expand DAI’s initiatives by:

  • contributing their knowledge and expertise,
  • providing content from their research and experience,
  • helping to shape projects, and
  • assisting in focusing efforts on the vitally important issues that affect children, birth families, adoptive families and professionals.

Amanda Baden, Ph.D.

Amanda Baden, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Leadership at Montclair State University in N.J. She is a licensed psychologist with a clinical practice in Manhattan. Her research and practice focus on adoption triad members, transracial/international adoption issues, racial and cultural identity, and multicultural counseling competence. She is on the editorial board of Adoption Quarterly and co-chairs the Biennial Adoption Initiative Conferences in New York. She is a columnist for Families with Children from China journals across the U.S. and she is an editor of the book, The Handbook of Adoption: Implications for Researchers, Practitioners, and Families. In 2005, she received an Angel in Adoption award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Harold Grotevant, Ph.D.

Harold D. Grotevant, Ph.D., holds the Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Along with Dr. Ruth McRoy, he directs the Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project, which examines outcomes for adopted children with birth family contact. His work has resulted in over 100 articles published in professional journals, as well as several books. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the National Council on Family Relations; member of the Board of Directors of NACAC; and recipient of many research, teaching, and educational leadership awards.


Penelope (Penny) L. Maza, Ph.D.

Dr. Maza has been working in the child welfare field for over 30 years, primarily as a senior staff member and a manager in the federal government. She has also served as the Research Director of the Child Welfare League of America. She currently works as a consultant to a wide range of adoption, foster care and child welfare organizations. Her career has involved a variety of activities including research, program evaluation and innovation, quality assurance, and analyses of administrative and other data sources. Not only has her work influenced the operation of state adoption programs, but it has also had an impact on and been incorporated into federal legislation. She is a recipient of a 2012 Centennial Adoption Excellence Award and holds a Ph.D. in sociology.

Ruth Gail McRoy, Ph.D.

Ruth Gail McRoy, Ph.D. holds the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professorship at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Prior to joining the Boston College faculty, McRoy was a member of the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work faculty for 25 years, held the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professorship and served as Associate Dean for Research and Director of the Diversity Institute. McRoy has published over 100 journal articles and ten books.


Her recent honors include the following: 2004 Flynn Prize for Social Work Research, the 2005 George Silcott Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Administrators in Child Welfare, the 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research, the 2006-2007 University of Texas at Austin Graduate School’s Outstanding Alumna Award, 2010 St. Johns’s Outstanding Scholar in Adoption Award and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. She has served on the Board of the North American Council on Adoptable Children, and now is a member of the Society for Social Work and Research Board and the Donaldson Adoption Institute Board.


She is president of NACAC and serves on additional Boards, including the Society for Social Work and Research. She was Director of the Center for Social Work Research and Director of the Diversity Institute at the University of Texas, Austin. Her recent honors include the 2004 Flynn Prize for Social Work Research from USC, the 2005 George Silcott Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Administrators in Child Welfare, and the 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research.


McRoy has authored, co-authored or co-edited over 100 journal articles and book chapters and ten books, including: Transracial and Interracial Adoptees: The Adolescent Years (with L. Zurcher), Special Needs Adoptions: Practice Issues, Openness in Adoption: Family Connections (with H. Grotevant), Challenging Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare (with Deborah Green, Kathleen Belanger, and Lloyd Bullard) and Intersecting Child Welfare, Substance Abuse and Family Violence: Culturally Competent Approaches (with R. Fong, and C. Ortiz-Hendricks).


Ellen Pinderhughes, Ph.D.

Ellen Pinderhughes, Ph.D. is on the faculty of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University. She is a developmental and clinical psychologist who has worked as a therapist and a clinical consultant. Her research focuses primarily on the complex interplay of family dynamics in adoptive and biological families with children at risk for problem outcomes. With 20 years of clinical and research experience in adoption, Dr. Pinderhughes is nationally known for her work on older child adoptions and her more recent research on intercountry transracial adoptions. She has written extensively on adoption-related issues in books and journals.