Education

  • Ph.D., The University of Alabama
  • M.A., The University of Alabama
  • B.A., The University of Texas at Austin

Courses

  • Advanced Development (graduate)
  • Atypical Child Development
  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Development
  • Research Methods and Research Methods Laboratory
  • General Psychology
  • Introductory Statistics
  • Personality
  • Sophomore Colloquium
  • Junior Colloquium

Research Interests

  • Child Development – Typical and Atypical
  • Autism – Screening and Intervention
  • Early Intervention
  • Symbolic Play
  • Parent Scaffolding
  • Executive Functions
  • Global Interventions for Children with Developmental Differences

Biography

Jillian Pierucci, Ph.D., grew up in Houston, Texas where she was often climbing trees and making memories with her sister. She joined St. Mary’s University in 2013 and is passionate about teaching. She appreciates students that have a yearning to learn and those that give their best efforts. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Pierucci conducts research within the field of developmental psychology. Specifically, she is partnered with an early intervention agency in San Antonio, Brighton Center, where she investigates the importance of parent involvement in children with atypical development (i.e., developmental delays, disorders, and/or disabilities).

She finds much joy in spending time with her family and soaking up the simple things in life like sunsets. Additionally, she loves to travel whether in the States, throughout the Americas to Europe and even Africa. Her life was forever changed when she spent time in Lusaka, Zambia where she worked in an orphanage. There she learned much. She witnessed children overflow with joy as they leaped around barefoot with tattered clothes and rumbling bellies. From this trip she gained a grander perspective in how blessed we are and has since been spurred on to live a life of simplicity rather than abundance. Her faith is her focus and she finds much enjoyment in running – whether on trails or doing marathons. In her spare time, you can find her trying out a new coffee shop, listening to live music, or playing with her French Bulldog, Pasquale.

Publications

Pearson, A., Pierucci, J.M., Aquino, G.A., Perez, M., Mwanza-Kabaghe, S., Sichimba, F., & Mooya, H. (2021). Stigma of autism spectrum disorder in Lusaka, Zambia, Africa. International Journal of Disability, Community & Rehabilitation, 19(1).

Thibodeau, R.B., Gilpin, A.T., Nancarrow, A.F., Pierucci, J.M. & Brown, M.M. (2020). Fantastical pretense’s effects on executive function in a diverse sample of preschoolers. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 68, 1-10.

Pierucci, J.M. (2018). Expert calls for end to stigma against children with autism. The Mast: Zambian Newspaper (No. 0597), 7.

Pierucci, J.M., *Miller, A., & *Dominguez, S. (2018). Play skills in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder within their natural environments. Journal of Mental Disorders and Treatments, 4(1), 1-6. DOI: 10.4172/2471-271X.1000151.

Brown, M.M., Thibodeau, R.M., Pierucci, J.M., & Gilpin, A.T. (2017). Supporting the development of empathy: The role of theory of mind and fantasy orientation. Social Development, 26(4), 951-964. DOI: 10.1111/sode.12232

Pierucci, J.M. (2016). ID children at risk for being a bully, a victim or both: Awareness – the first step to halting this scourge. San Antonio Express-News. http://www.expressnews.com/opinion/commentary/article/ID-children-at-risk-for-being-a-bully-a-victim-6794777.php?t=a7456e9c8d&cmpid=email-premium

Pierucci, J.M. (2015). Mothers scaffolding play in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 28(2), 217-235. DOI: 10.1007/s10882- 015-9459-8

Jarrett, M., Gilpin, A.T., Pierucci, J.M., & Rondon, A.T. (2015). Cognitive and reactive control processes: Associations with ADHD symptoms in preschoolers. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 1-5. DOI: 10.1177/0165025415575625

Giplin, A.T., McInnis, M.A., & Pierucci, J.M. (2015). The relationship between fantasy orientation and emotion regulation. Journal of Early Education and Development.

Pierucci, J.M., Barber, A.B., Gilpin, A.T., Crisler, M.E., & Klinger, L.G. (2014). Play constructs and developmental skills in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. DOI:10.1177/1088357614539837

McInnis, M.A., Pierucci, J.M., & Giplin, A.T. (2014). Investigating valence and autonomy in children’s relationships with imaginary companions. International Journal of Developmental Science, 7, 151 – 159. DOI: 10.3233/DEV-130123.

Pierucci, J.M., O’Brien, C.T., McInnis, M.A., Gilpin, A.T., & Barber, A.B. (2014). Fantasy orientation constructs and related executive function development in preschool. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 38(1), 62 – 69. DOI: 10.1177/0165025413508512.

DeCaro, J., Boxmeyer, C., Gilpin, A., Lochman, J., Pierucci, J.M., McInnis, M., Jimenez, L. A., Thomas, M. (2013). Beyond stress: “Biological sensitivity to context” as an evolutionary construct and its implications for psychosocial markers in field research [Abstract]. American Journal of Physical Anthropology S52: 109-110.

Scofield, J., Gilpin, A.T., Pierucci, J.M., & Morgan, R. (2013). Matters of accuracy and conventionality: Prior accuracy guides children’s evaluations of others’ actions. Developmental Psychology, 49(3), 432 – 438. DOI: 10.1037/a0029888.

Presentations

Pierucci, J.M. (2022, June). Well-being of early childhood intervention service providers. Poster session presented at the Society for the Study of Human Development, Washington, DC (virtual).

Venkat, S. & Pierucci, J.M. (2022, April). Need for support services for Zambian children with developmental differences. Poster presented at St. Mary’s University Research Symposium, San Antonio, TX.

Hubacek, R. & Pierucci, J.M. (2022, April). Knowledge within the United States of child maltreatment. Poster presented at St. Mary’s University Research Symposium, San Antonio, TX.

Venkat, S., Dickson-Land, P. & Pierucci, J.M. (2021, November). Recognizing sex disparities in scientific research: An exploration of autism genetics literature. Poster presented at Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (virtual).

Pierucci, J.M., Hernandez, A., Lucente, H., Aquino, G. & *Garcia, G. (2021, May). Systematic review of ASD intervention services and treatment programs in Africa. Poster presentation at the International Society for Autism Research Conference, Boston, MA.

Pierucci, J.M. (2021, April). Needs for Zambian children with atypical development: Perspectives of stakeholders. Invited oral presentation for the National Research Week at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX (virtual).

Venkat, S., Dickson-Land, P. & Pierucci, J.M. (2021, April). Sex disparities within Autism Spectrum Disorder genetics literature: A systematic review. Poster presented at St. Mary’s University Research Symposium, San Antonio, TX.

Venkat, S. & Pierucci, J.M. (2021, April). Barriers to health-related caregiver involvement within Latinx households. Poster presentation at the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M., Amaya, I. & Johnson, A. (2021, April). College students’ knowledge of and stigma toward autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Poster presentation at the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Robles, A., Martinez, M. & Pierucci, J.M. (2021, April). Wellbeing of service providers for individuals with atypical development in San Antonio. Poster presentation at the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2021, March). Global outreach for autism: Awareness and intervention in Zambia. Invited oral presentation for St. Mary’s University’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Brown Bag, San Antonio, TX (virtual).

Pierucci, J.M. (2020, December). Autism: What we know today. Invited oral presentation for Proactive Ways Academy, Lusaka, Zambia (virtual).

Pierucci, J.M. (2020, December). Lessons learned and recommendations for conducting early intervention research in a lower-middle income country. Oral presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development – Connecting Worlds: Studying Child Development in Low Resource Contexts, St. Louis, MO (virtual).

Venkat, S. & Pierucci, J.M. (2020, November). Health-related caregiver involvement and its impacts on Latinx adult quality of life. ePoster presentation at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) 2020.

Gutierrez, M., Pierucci, J.M. & Gonzaba, W. (2020, April). Effects of cognitive and physical rehearsal in various practice styles of free-throws. Poster presentation at the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference, Frisco, TX (postponed due to COVID-19).

Thibodeau, R.B., Gilpin, A.T., Brown, M.M., Pierucci, J.M., Nancarrow, A.F. & Farrell, C.B. (2019, October). Pretend play differentially impacts cognitive development among middle-class and low-income children: An experimental study. Poster session presented at the Cognitive Development Society Conference, Louisville, KY.

Aquino, G. & Pierucci, J.M. (2019, October). Types of play as influencing factors of social and emotional behaviors in children with developmental atypicalities. Poster session presented at the Society for the Study of Human Development, Portland, OR.

Pierucci, J.M., Perez, M., Aquino, G., Pearson, A., Ytuarte, B., Sichimba, F., Mooya, H. & Mwanza Kabaghe, S. (2019, October). Early childhood intervention accessibility and needs for a lower-middle income country: The voices of Zambian service providers. Poster session presented at the Society for the Study of Human Development, Portland, OR.

Pierucci, J.M. (2019, April). A global perspective on autism spectrum disorder: Intervention, education and existing stigma. Invited oral presentation for The Developmental Concentration Brown Bag Series at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.

Pierucci, J.M. (2019, April). Life as a psychologist while autism is on the rise. Invited oral presentation for Catholic Central High School, San Antonio, TX.

Johnson, A., Amaya, I. & Pierucci, J.M. (2019, April). Current knowledge, existing stigma and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder in America. Poster presentation at the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference, Albuquerque, NM.

Pierucci, J.M., Pearson, A., Aquino, G., Perez, M., Mwanza-Kabaghe, S., Sichimba, F., & Mooya, H. (2019, March). First parent-mediated intervention using Project ImPACT in Zambia: Caregiver satisfaction and children’s developmental changes. Oral symposium presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, MD.

Pearson, A., Pierucci, J.M., Aquino, G., Perez, M., Mwanza-Kabaghe, S., Sichimba, F., & Mooya, H. (2019, March). Stigma of autism spectrum disorder in Lusaka, Zambia, Africa. Oral symposium presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, MD.

Aquino, G., Pierucci, J.M., Pearson, A., Perez, M., Mwanza-Kabaghe, S., Sichimba, F., & Mooya, H. (2019, March). Assessing the knowledge on developmental delays and disabilities of psychology graduate students in Zambia, Africa. Oral symposium presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, MD.

Farrell, C., Giplin, A., Thibodeau, R., Nancarrow, A., Brown, M., & Pierucci, J.M. (2019, March). Child Imagination Questionnaire: Individual differences in fantasy orientation and assessing relations with cognitive development. Poster presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, MD.

Sichimba, F., Mooya, H., Pierucci, J.M., Perez, M., Aquino, G., Pearson, A., Mwanza, S. (2019, March). Parenting a child living with autism spectrum disorder: Exploring experiences of caregivers in Lusaka, Zambia. Poster presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, MD.

Pierucci, J.M. (2019, February). Implementation and cultural modification of a parent-mediated intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder in Zambia, Africa: Empowering parents and improving children’s development. Oral presentation for the BRAD Grant Cohort, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2018, November). Empowering graduate students to use advanced statistics in SPSS. Invited oral presentation at The Graduate Center For Excellence, San Antonio, TX.

Aquino, G. & Pierucci, J.M. (2018, April). The effects of parental divorce on young adults’ self-esteem and self-efficacy. Poster presentation at the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference, Houston, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2018, April). Integrating Kaltura media technology into hands-on student projects: Increasing students’ content mastery and peer learning. Oral presentation at the Faculty Technology Institute Showcase at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2018, March). Overcoming statistical fears: An interactive refresher on SPSS. Invited oral presentation at The Graduate Center For Excellence, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2017, October). Caregivers’ involvement in early intervention at Brighton Center. Invited oral presentation at Brighton Center, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2017, October). Local and global impacts of developmental psychology: A focus on early intervention. Invited oral presentation at The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2017, July). The impact of getting involved: Where a research assistantship can take you. Invited oral presentation at The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.

Hill, H. & Pierucci, J.M. (2017, April). Teaching the developmental sciences through hands-on learning experiences: The power of observation and reflection. Oral presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2017, March). St. Mary’s University McNair Scholars Program: Graduate school experiences. Invited guest panel speaker at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2016, September). Developmental psychology and autism. Invited oral presentation at Central Catholic High School, San Antonio, TX.

Perez, M. & Pierucci, J.M. (2016, July). Free writing and reflective journaling: The development of emotional intelligence in young students. Ninth Annual McNair Summer Research Symposium, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2016, May). Baby brain development.Invited oral presentation for Texas Infant Mental Health Association, First3Years at San Antonio Area Foundation, San Antonio, TX.

Oommen, A. & Pierucci, J.M. (2016, April). Psychology of personality. Independent Study Mentorship: John Marshall High School, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2016, March). The importance of caregiver involvement in individualized family service plans. Invited oral presentation at Brighton Early Intervention Center, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2016, March). The role of imagination in young children and the importance of emotional regulation. Invited oral presentation at Texas A&M University – San Antonio (TAMUSA), San Antonio, Texas.

Pierucci, J.M., Grogan, H., & Yocham, J. (2015, October). Investigating parent involvement in young children’s early intervention treatment plans. Poster presentation at Society for the Study of Human Development, Austin, TX.

Brown, M.M. & Pierucci, J.M. (2015, October). Fantasy orientation and executive functions in adulthood. Poster presentation at Society for the Study of Human Development, Austin,TX.

Pierucci, J.M. (2015, March). Parent mediated intervention: Social engagement of toddlers with ASD during play with mothers. Poster presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, PA.

Pierucci, J.M., Deptawa, J., Gilpin, A.T., & Brown M.M. (2015, March). Exploring fantasy play in childhood and its potential role in peer victimization. Poster presentation at the 41st Annual International Conference The Association for the Study of Play, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M. & Miller, A. (2015, March). Play observations of children with autism spectrum disorder within their natural environments. Poster presentation at the 41st Annual International Conference The Association for the Study of Play, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M., Barber, A.B., & Gilpin, A.T. (2014, May). Project ImPACT: Examining mothers’ scaffolding techniques during play in toddlers with ASD. Poster presentation at International Meeting For Autism Research, Atlanta, GA.

Pierucci, J.M. (2014, April). How can we get caregivers to ‘buy in’? Invited oral presentation at Brighton Early Intervention Center, San Antonio, TX.

Pierucci, J.M., Barber, A.B., Crisler, M.E., Gilpin, A.T., & Klinger, L.G. (2013, April). Examining play skills in children with an autism spectrum disorder. Poster session presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, WA.

Pierucci, J.M., Gilpin, A.T., Barber, A.B., & Ingersoll, B.R. (2013, April). Project ImPACT pilot study: Examining intervention effects on developmental and social skills of toddlers with ASD. Poster session presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, WA.

McInnis, M.A., Pierucci, J.M., Rowels, S., & Gilpin, A.T. (2013, April). The relationship between fantasy orientation and emotion regulation. Poster session presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, WA.

McInnis, M.A., Pierucci, J.M., Rowels, S., & Gilpin, A.T. (2013, April). The bully in my mind: Investigating children’s negative relationships with imaginary companions. Poster session presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, WA.

Pierucci, J.M., Barber, A.B, & Gilpin, A.T. (2013, March). Start early: How can parents help improve social skills in toddlers with ASD? Poster session at the 12th Annual Autism Conference, Tuscaloosa, AL.

DeCaro, J.A., Boxmeyer, C.L., Gilpin, A.T., Lochman, J.E., Pierucci, J.M., McInnis, M.A., Jimenez,L.A., & Thomas, M. (2013, April). Beyond stress: “Biological sensitivity to context” as an evolutionary construct and its implications for psychosocial markers in field research. American Association of Physical Anthropologists Conference, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Boxmeyer, C.L., Gilpin, A.T., Lochman, J.E., DeCaro, J.A., Pierucci, J.M., McInnis, M.A., Jimenez, L.A., & Domitrovich, C. (2012, June). Improving school readiness: Preschool PATHS and Coping Power behavioral parent training for at-risk preschoolers. Poster session at the Society for Prevention Research Conference, Washington, D.C.

Pierucci, J.M., Barber, A.B., Crisler, M.E., DeRamus, M.K., & Klinger, L.G. (2012, May). Measuring play constructs across measures in young children with ASD: Context matters. Poster session at the International Meeting For Autism Research, Toronto, CA.

Greer, K.C., Barber, A.B., Evans, A., Pierucci, J.M., Dickey, K.M., Klinger, M.R., & Klinger, L.G. (2012, May). Comparing autism screeners and physician surveillance techniques at 18- and 24-month well child visits. Oral presentation at International Meeting For Autism Research, Toronto, CA.

Pierucci, J.M., Barber, A.B, Crisler, M.E., DeRamus, M.K., & Klinger, L.G. (2012, March). Correlates of play and development across independent measures. Poster session at the 11th Annual Autism Conference, Tuscaloosa, AL.

Pierucci, J.M., Scofield, J., Gilpin, A.T., & Graham, G. (2011, October). Does conventionality matter? Children’s consideration of accuracy vs. conventionality when judging reliability. Poster session at the Cognitive Development Society, Philadelphia, PA.

McInnis, M.A., Gilpin, A.T., Barker, E.D., & Pierucci, J.M. (2011, October). The bully in my mind: Investigating children with mean imaginary companions. Poster session at the Cognitive Development Society, Philadelphia, PA.

Morgan, R., Scofield, J., Gilpin, A.T., & Pierucci, J.M. (2011, April). Judging trustworthiness through accuracy and conventionality. Poster session presented at the Undergraduate Student Association Research Conference, Tuscaloosa, AL.

Pierucci, J.M., Gilpin, A.T., Barker, E.D., & O’Brien, C.T. (2011, March). The relationship between fantasy and cognition. Poster session presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, Quebec.

O’Brien, C.T., Barker, E.D., Gilpin, A.T., & Pierucci, J.M. (2011, March). The role of social- and neurocognition in the association between preschool callous-unemotional traits and peer victimization. Poster session presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, Quebec.

Pierucci, J.M., Scofield, J., Gilpin, A.T., & Morgan, R. (2011, March). What determines the reliability of a source: Accuracy versus conventionality. Poster session presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, Quebec.

Pierucci, J.M. & Gilpin, A.T. (2010, April). Pretense is not just play, it may facilitate brain development. Oral presentation at the 3rd Annual Research Festival, Tuscaloosa, AL.

Pierucci, J.M., Morgan, R., Scofield, J., & Gilpin, A.T. (2010, March). How children judge whether an informant is reliable: Accuracy versus conventionality. Poster session presented at the 13th Annual Graduate Student Association Research and Thesis Conference, Tuscaloosa, AL.

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