Jonathan Tirrell

Jonathan Tirrell

Barnum Hall
Research/Areas of Interest:

I am a developmental scientist and Research Associate Professor at Tufts University in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development. With the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development (IARYD), I study positive youth development (PYD), seeking to understand what goes "right" in the lives of youth, by engaging in researcher-practitioner partnerships with youth-serving organizations around the world (currently Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, and El Salvador).

My research is broadly focused on character development--I am interested in how people become good people. With a focus on person-context relations across development, I also explore how good people shape, and are shaped by, good communities and cultures. Specifically, my work has focused on the potential role of forgiveness as a character strength and civic virtue. This interest has steered me toward working with individuals and organizations interested in peacebuilding and restorative justice, for instance, in Rwanda as well as the Boston area.

Lessons learned from this work are timely and important for civil society and human flourishing, perhaps especially in an era of increasingly polarized social and political climates. Forgiveness, restorative justice, and peacebuilding seem to be linked by common threads of empathy, curiosity, generosity, listening, and dialogue, as well as critical thinking, personal responsibility, community action, and civic engagement.

Please find my CV in LinkedIn for more information on my professional experiences, research grants, editorial and consulting activities, teaching experience, and publications.


  • PhD, Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University, United States, 2017
  • MA, Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University, United States, 2015
  • BA, Psychology / Visual and Performing Arts (Music), Fairfield University, United States, 2009