Elizabeth Skora HorganPhD Student, Human Development & Family Studies


Elizabeth’s research interests center around the effects of interactive digital media on children’s cognitive and social-emotional development. Specifically, her interests focus on the educational potential of touchscreen games and apps to enhance positive development. Elizabeth is passionate about aiding media producers in aligning content with developmental goals grounded in research and ensuring that high quality media content is accessible to youth from all backgrounds.

Education and Relevant Experience

Elizabeth graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with dual degrees in Psychology and Media Studies. During her undergraduate career, she worked as a research assistant in the Child Cognition, Affect, and Behavior Lab with Dr. Brendan Rich on a study researching resilience in children with anxiety and learning disorders. She also worked with Dr. Benjamin Hinnant in the Physiology, Affect and Cognition Lab. After graduation, she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Chicago teaching English as a Second Language courses to disadvantaged students, where she became interested in increasing the accessibility of high-quality media content. Additionally, she worked as a Clinical Research Assistant at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. and as a Senior Research Assistant in Education Research at Child Trends, a non-profit non-partisan research center.

Elizabeth received her M.S. in 2018 from the Department of Human Development and Family studies. Her master’s project utilized Fisch’s Capacity Model to explore whether children’s knowledge of touchscreen mechanics is correlated with their learning from STEM media. Elizabeth is now working towards her Ph.D. under the guidance of Dr. Heather Kirkorian. She currently holds the position of Shannon Graduate Fellow in Early Childhood Development, supporting the work of both Dr. Kirkorian’s Cognitive Development and Media Research Lab and the Child Development Laboratory Preschool in the School of Human Ecology.

Awards and Recognition

Elected President of HDFS Graduate Student Organization, UW-Madison, 2018-2019
Elected Student Representative to the HDFS Graduate Program Committee, 2017-2018
Steenbock Independent Research Scholarship, UW-Madison, 2017
Scannell Trent Professional Development Award, UW-Madison, 2017
Outstanding Early Stage Researcher Award, UW-Madison, 2017
Excellence in Community-Based Research Award, Washington, DC, 2015

Selected Publications

Hine, B., England, D., Lopreore, K., Skora Horgan, E., & Hartwell, L. (2018). The rise of the androgynous princess: Examining representations of gender in prince and princess characters of Disney movies released 2009–2016. Social Sciences, 7(12), 245.
Kirkorian, H. L., Etta, R., Yoo, S., Jing, M., & Skora, E. (2017). Video Deficit. Oxford Bibliographies: Communication. Oxford University Press: New York, NY.
Owens, J., Wang, G., Baylor, A., Skora, E., & Lewin, D. (2016). Association between short sleep duration and risk behavior factors in middle school students. SLEEP.
Lu, M., Yang, G., Skora, E., Wang, G., Cai, Y., Sun, Q., & Li, W. (2015). Self-esteem, social support, and life satisfaction in Chinese parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 17, 70-77.

Selected Presentations

Skora Horgan, E. & Kirkorian, H. (2019). Moderators of STEM learning from a digital game: Preschoolers’ knowledge of touchscreen mechanics. Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Baltimore, MD.
Kirkorian, H., Heon Yoo, S., Etta, R., Skora Horgan, E., Barr, R. (2019). Behavioral and physiological effects of child- and adult-directed television during young children’s play. Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Baltimore, MD.
Etta. R., Skora Horgan, E., & Kirkorian, H. (2019). Parent attitudes surrounding eBooks and print books: An Amazon Mechanical Turk study. Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Baltimore, MD.
Kirkorian, H., Skora Horgan, E., & Etta, R. (2018). Putting technology to work for learning and play. Wisconsin Early Childhood Association Annual Conference, Madison, WI.
Etta, R., Skora Horgan, E., & Kirkorian, H. (2018). Turning the Page on Children’s Book Use: Parent Perceptions of eBooks and Print Books. International Communications Association Conference, Prague, Czechia.
Skora Horgan, E. & Kirkorian, H. (2018). Testing the Role of Individual Differences in Early STEM Learning from Interactive Technology. American Psychological Association Technology, Mind, and Society Conference. Washington, D.C.
Skora, E., Temkin, D., & Lewin, D. (2016). Implications of adolescent bedtime electronic networking for cyberbullying involvement and sleep. Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting, Baltimore, MD.


  • Human Development & Family Studies

Degree Program

  • Human Development and Family Studies Graduate Program