Parsa Taheri

Insights Whiz

Houston, TX

Parsa joined the smarty party as an Insights Whiz in Spring 2024 following the completion of her master’s degree. She brings an impressive background in both quantitative and qualitative child development research, advanced statistical analysis and programming skills, and a passion for transforming data into engaging and accessible insights.

As an Insights Whiz, Parsa supports all parts of the end-to-end research process for many of Smarty Pants’ major children’s toy, game, and entertainment clients. While her heart lays in quantitative methods, Parsa is also positioned well to support Smarty Pants’ qualitative initiatives. She enjoys applying her data, analytical and design skills to understand consumer behavior and guide client decision-making.


Parsa began her research career as an Applied Psychology Quality Undergraduate Education and Scholarly Training (AP-QUEST) summer intern at New York University. There, she focused on extracting qualitative insights into the effectiveness of a narrative-based education intervention program that aimed to enhance language and literacy skills in Hispanic preschools.

She later pivoted to clinical research at a Minneapolis hospital’s research institute, supporting participant recruitment, data collection, and ongoing data management for a longitudinal maternal cognition study. She then gained acceptance to the Minnesota Inclusive Neuroscience Development Scholarship (MINDS) program at the University of Minnesota, where she was awarded a funded research assistantship to study adolescent health trajectories.


Parsa’s passion for research was ignited as she earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Women’s Studies with cum laude honors from Barnard College, the women’s college of Columbia University in New York City.

Parsa earned a fully-funded master’s degree in psychology at the University of Houston, where she earned a 4.00 GPA and excelled in all things statistics and quantitative research. During her time at UH, she worked as a research analyst for the Developing Systems Laboratory and the Laboratory of Early Experiences and Development, where she independently led research projects to understand how experiences and systems shape young children’s behavior.


Born in Iran and raised in Minneapolis, MN, Parsa currently lives with her life partner and their two cats in Houston, TX. After work, you will most likely find her at the gym Olympic weightlifting or spending time with her loved ones.

Fun Facts

  • Enjoys lifting heavy barbells over her head for fun
  • Is very clumsy and has managed to sprain her ankle even while wearing hiking boots
  • Shamelessly obsessed with thrifting and all things sustainable fashion
  • Dreams of owning an inclusive gym someday
  • Is chronically on Google Flights pondering her next travel adventure