About the Center


Michael H. Levine, PhD

Executive Director

Michael H. Levine is the founding executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. The Center conducts research, builds multi-sector alliances, and catalyzes industry and policy reforms needed to advance high-quality media experiences for all children. Levine also serves on the executive team at Sesame Workshop where … 

Lori Takeuchi, PhD

Senior Director & Research Scientist

Lori conducts research on how children use digital media across the various settings of their lives, and the implications these tools hold for their learning and development. Lori started at the Cooney Center as a postdoctoral fellow in 2008. Since then, she has instigated and directed several of the Center’s … 

Catherine Jhee

Director of Web and Strategic Communications

Ms. Jhee is Director of Web and Strategic Communications at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, where she leads its digital media and publication efforts. She is a writer, editor, and interactive producer with more than 10 years of experience creating and distributing educational and documentary content for organizations including POV … 

Lili Toutounas

Senior Manager of Administration

Ms. Toutounas oversees administration for the Cooney Center as the Senior Manager of Administration, overseeing meetings, board relations, and database management, as well as providing administrative support to Michael H. Levine. Prior to her work at the Cooney Center, she managed administrative services at the Japan Society for four years. Lili has … 

Sadaf Sajwani

Director of Partnerships and Planning

Ms. Sajwani joined the Cooney Center in January 2013. She currently manages the Cooney Center’s work on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant for the Games and Learning Publishing Council, among other projects.  Additionally, she oversees general operations at the Cooney Center. Before joining the Cooney Center, Sadaf was … 

Alexia Raynal

Research Manager

Mrs. Raynal joined the Joan Ganz Cooney Center team in 2016. As Research Manager, Alexia supports leadership in three main projects: the Aprendiendo Juntos Council, the Center’s partnership with Apple’s ConnectEd initiative, and the launch of a supplementary curriculum to reinforce social and emotional learning. Her experience working with low-income and Latino-Hispanic … 

Katy Svehaug

Web and Content Associate

Katy Svehaug is a Web and Content Associate with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. She manages content on the Center’s Twitter and Facebook, and is always looking for new ways to disseminate high-impact research on a broader social scale. With a background in mental health and disability studies, Katy also works at Columbia … 

Vikki Katz

Vikki Katz, PhD

Senior Research Scientist

Vikki Katz is Associate Professor at the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University, and a Senior Research Scientist at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. Her research focuses on Latino families and how they engage each other and technology for different kinds of activities. She is currently partnering with …