About Thrive

Our mission is to catalyze a movement of human thriving with and for others and for a greater purpose.

Who We Are

The Thrive Center for Human Development is a multidisciplinary research center established with a dual mission as both (1) an academic research center that teaches and mentors future scholars in the field of psychology, and (2) a non-profit organization that conducts and converts research about human thriving into applied resources. 

Formerly known as the Center for Research in Child and Adolescent Development (CRCAD), the Thrive Center was first founded in 2011 within the School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary, focusing on the areas of human thriving, positive youth development, spiritual and religious development, and virtue development. In 2021, the Thrive Center joined Fuller's Leadership Formation Division as one of six pioneering centers in its mission to empower leaders and their communities.

Meet the Team

Head shot of Pamela Ebstyne King

Executive Director, Peter L. Benson Professor of Applied Developmental Science

Pamela Ebstyne King, Ph.D. has worked with the Thrive Center for Human Development since its inception in 2011. In 2021, she was named executive director of the Thrive Center and continues to serve as the Peter L. Benson Professor of Applied Developmental Science in Fuller's School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy.

Her primary academic interests are applied research at the intersection of human thriving and spiritual development. She is passionate about understanding what individual strengths and environments enable humans to thrive and become all God created them to be. She holds particular interest in understanding the role of faith, spirituality, religion, virtues in this process.

Dr. King's work combines theology, empirical research, and community engagement to further understand what contexts and settings enable people to thrive. She has conducted research funded by Biologos Foundation and John Templeton Foundation, among others.

+ Learn more about her research and work.

Head shot of Jilleen Westbrook

Senior Director

Jilleen Westbrook, Ph.D. recently joined the staff of the Thrive Center for Human Development in 2022. She earned her Ph.D. in Economics from Claremont Graduate University and has taught at Temple University, the University of Southern California (USC), and Claremont Colleges.

Her academic work involved empirical investigations of the complicated psychological and market effects that result from policy decisions. Before joining, the Thrive Center, she worked as a consultant. Dr. Westbrook has long been interested in issues of faith and well-being, particularly in the practices that encourage mental, physical, and spiritual health.

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Lauren Kim

Operations Manager and Special Projects/Events Coordinator

With over 10 years of operational & admin experience, Lauren Kim joined the Thrive Center in 2022 to utilize her passion for faith-based creativity and witnessing others' ability to be joyously renewed. With an innate interest in different cultures and being born & raised in Seoul, Korea, Lauren hopes to connect a bridge between students of various backgrounds and their spirit's capability to thrive as He intended. In her intimate pursuit of God while cultivating the artistic passions of her heart, Lauren takes pride in being part of a team that brings forth the fruit of encouragement and spiritual joy in all. 

Head shot of Stephanie Trudeau

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Stephanie Trudeau, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research associate with the Thrive Center for Human Development. Trained as a medical family therapist and family social scientist from the University of Minnesota, her academic and clinical expertise utilizes a biopsychosocial-spiritual and systemic lens in order to examine illness and recovery across family and social systems. She has dedicated her scholarly and clinical career toward developing a deeper understanding of how families cope in the face of adversity, trauma, and grief.

Her research and clinical interests include families and chronic illness, the integration of behavioral health into primary and tertiary care settings, program development and evaluation, interdisciplinary team dynamics, burnout prevention and recovery and the function spirituality has as a coping and meaning-making mechanism.

At the Thrive Center, Dr. Trudeau is focusing her research efforts on the intersection of thriving and spirituality, beliefs, meaning-making, gratitude, and family systems level thriving. She is co-investigator for the Center's Shades of Gratitude Project and sub-study following the Fetzer Institute's Study of Spirituality in America.

+ Explore her work at the Thrive Center.

Head shot of Susan Mangan

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Susan Mangan, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research associate with the Thrive Center for Human Development. As a positive developmental psychologist, Dr. Mangan is interested in how we, as individuals and as a society, can lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Her research efforts focus on positive youth development, gratitude, and joy. She is also co-investigator for the Thrive Center's Shades of Gratitude Project and Compassion International Study of Positive Youth Development.

As a scholar more broadly, Dr. Mangan's research focuses on positive psychology interventions, well-being, psychological need satisfaction, and emerging adulthood. She also has a keen interest in evaluation, community program development, and measurement development, as evidenced by publications such as the Claremont Purpose Scale: A measure that assesses the three dimensions of purpose among adolescents. Dr. Mangan has been a longtime fan of the Thrive Center and is excited to contribute to its ongoing success. In addition to her research with the Center, Dr. Mangan is currently a visiting professor at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

+ Explore her work at the Thrive Center.

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Sean Noe

Thrive Scholars Fellow

Sean Noe is a third year Ph.D. student in Fuller's Clinical Psychology Program. He completed his bachelor’s in psychology at Point Loma Nazarene University. He also has experience as an educator and tutor, working with middle school and high school students in San Diego, California. His research interests lie in examining how aspects of religiosity and spiritual experience relate to youth and adolescent development. He has a particular interest in understanding religious experience and how this can help youth and adolescents develop and thrive.

Head shot of Lauren Van Vranken

Lauren Van Vranken

Thrive Scholars Fellow

Lauren Van Vranken is a second year Psy.D. student in Fuller's Clinical Psychology Program. She received her bachelor’s degree in human development and family sciences from Oregon State University. She has spent the past decade working in prison, jail and juvenile hall settings in Los Angeles and Ecuador as a volunteer chaplain, creative writing instructor, and facilitator of art therapy groups. This sparked her research interests in resilience, restorative justice practices, and collective thriving in the aftermath of trauma. Dedicated to research and clinical work that promote thriving through allyship with adolescents and adults affected by incarceration, she is particularly interested in researching how spirituality and hospitality promote resilience, kinship, and thriving for returning citizens.

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Rebecca Baer

Thrive Scholars Fellow

Rebecca Baer is a first-year Ph.D. student in Fuller's Clinical Psychology Program. She holds a masters in systemic counseling from the Internationale Hochschule Liebenzell in Germany. Her experience working with a large variety of demographics and cultures—from students at German University to refugees from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan—has shaped her desire to explore how joy, gratitude, and purpose can contribute to a thriving life no matter the background. As fellow at the Thrive Center for Human Development, she is currently examining the overlap between joy and gratitude as part of the Shades of Gratitude Project.

Thrive Collaborators

Head shot of Sung Kim

Associate Professor of Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary

Sung H. (Seong-Hyeon) Kim, Ph.D. joined Fuller's faculty in 2009, bringing his passion for psychological assessment and advanced statistics and psychometrics, such as topic modeling and structural equation modeling, to Fuller's School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy. 
 
As a faculty affiliate at the Thrive Center for Human Development, Dr. Kim has been providing statistical consulting and data analysis services to the Center's research projects, including the Shades of Gratitude Project.
 
Head shot of Lisseth Rojas-Flores

Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary

Lisseth Rojas-Flores, Ph.D. associate professor of clinical psychology in Fuller's School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy. Her primary research interests focus on trauma, youth violence prevention, the quality of parent-child relationships, and the overall well-being of children and parents living in low-income immigrant families in the United States. As a bilingual/bicultural licensed clinical psychologist, she takes a special interest in addressing the interrelationships between family, mental health, and social justice issues.

Dr. Rojas-Flores has produced a variety of mental health resources at the Thrive Center for Human Development, particularly for leaders who work with undocumented youth with and without DACA status.

+ Explore her work at the Thrive Center.

Head shot of Joey Fung

Associate Professor of Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary

Joey Fung, Ph.D. is associate professor of psychology in Fuller's School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy. She brings her expertise in parenting, child-parent relations, mindfulness, and culture and child psychopathology. Together with her students and colleagues, she is conducting research on school-based prevention intervention for ethnic minority youths, spirituality and mindfulness, and identifying nontraditional delivery systems of mental health care in international settings.
 
At the Thrive Center for Human Development, Dr. Fung has focused her efforts in creating mindfulness resources and sharing practices that help ground the mind and body.
 

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