Cara Karter

Coordinator of Research Support

Cara Karter is Chapin Hall’s Coordinator of Research Support and Editorial Manager for the Journal of Child and Family Studies, housed at Chapin Hall. Karter provides critical research support to the Director of Research and other Chapin Hall research staff. Her responsibilities have included leading components of projects at every stage of the research process. She also contributes to proposal and product development and the implementation of research policies, procedures, and data governance. As Editorial Manager for the journal, Karter is responsible for completing desk reviews; corresponding with potential and current authors, associate editors, and editorial board members; advising the Editors-in-Chief on strategic decision making; and managing many of the day-to-day operations of the journal.

Previously, Karter held positions as a Research & Evaluation Specialist at After School Matters; as a research Project Assistant at Chapin Hall; and as Evaluation Lead and Project Director for a sustainable development effort in rural Nicaragua. She has a wide range of evaluation experience in adolescent youth development, early childhood, housing/homelessness, and juvenile justice/community policing. Karter is skilled in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research and has conducted dozens of focus groups, interviews, and program observations throughout her career. She is also particularly skilled in research communication and project management. She is a certified assessor using the Dimensions of Success and Youth Program Quality Assessment tools. Karter serves as the Communications Chair for the Chicagoland Evaluation Association and as a Reviewer for the Journal of Youth Development.

Karter is passionate about promoting the use of translational, community-driven research as a vehicle to amplify participant voices and drive better decision making that enriches child and youth development. Karter received a Bachelor of Science in Social and Economic Development Policy and a certificate in Leadership Studies from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Certificate in Leadership Studies, Illinois Institute of Technology

Bachelor of Science in Social and Economic Development, Illinois Institute of Technology

Karter, C., & Brown, J. (2018, October). An internal implementation evaluation of police involvement in youth programs: Summer 2018 After School Matters-Chicago Police Department Initiative. Presentation at the Midwest Ecological Community Psychology Conference, Chicago, IL.

Axelrod, J., & Karter, C. (2016). The power of context: Understanding adolescent brain development. Invited presentation to the 5 by 25 Steering Committee convened by Children’s Home and Aid, Chicago, IL.

Karter, C. M., & Washington, L. A. (2015, October). Stimulants for enhancement purposes: Perceptions, attitudes, and usage among university students. Poster session presented at the International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

(2014, November). Global Dialogue Session: How do we develop and maintain communication with community partners? Panel presentation at the Engineers Without Borders USA National Conference, Reston, VA.


Most Influential in Research & Evaluation — After School Matters, awarded by National Afterschool Association, 2018.

Daro, D., & Karter, C. (2019). Universal services: The foundation for effective prevention. In J. E. Korbin & R. D. Krugman (Eds.), Re-visioning public health approaches for protecting children (pp. 113–126). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Karter, C., Lambie, A., & Lopez, M. (2018, August 14). Valuing youth voices in evaluation [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Glade, S., Karter, C., & Pagilla, K. (2014). Case studies from a community-focused engineering program with projects in Haiti and Nicaragua. International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, Fall, 551–562.