a monthly comm(unity) newsletter
August 2023 – Welcome to the August edition of the Inside Erikson newsletter!
August is an exciting time for students, faculty and staff as we prepare for the start of a new school year. As we kick off the new academic year, we welcome new employees and celebrate the faculty and staff who have received promotions and title changes. Erikson will also hold our very first One Erikson Orientation for all employees this month. This event will kick off the 2023-2024 academic year with opportunities to engage in personal and professional development, relationship and community building and vision-setting for the year, as well as to get on-boarded into more inclusive ways of work and practices, and processes for healing and growth. We look forward to a fall semester full of enrichment and growth that will help us achieve justice for young children.
National Book Lovers Day — August 9
International Youth Day — August 12
One Erikson Orientation — August 16 and 17
World Humanitarian Day — August 19
Online Student Orientation — August 22
Internship Orientation (Concentration MSW Students) — August 24
Women’s Equality Day — August 26
New On-Campus Student Orientation — August 24
Summer Incomplete “I” Grade Deadline — August 28
Congratulations to Erikson’s Director of Teacher Education Dr. Sandra Osorio who recently joined the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)’s Board of Trustees. In addition to her appointment, she was named as one of the the 2023-2025 co-director of NCTE Professional Dyads and Culturally Relevant Teaching (PDCRT) program. The PDCRT program, initiated by the Affirmative Action Committee of the Early Childhood Education Assembly (ECEA) of the National Council of Teachers of English was developed to create a space within NCTE to support early childhood Educators of Color and educators who teach Children of Color, children who are emerging bi/multilinguals, and children from low-income households in studying about culturally relevant pedagogies and generating, implementing, documenting, evaluating, assessing, and disseminating classroom practices and process reflections from work done in preK to fifth-grade classrooms.
As you’ve read in previous newsletters and announcements around Erikson, we have two new executive team members starting this month. Dr. Ayanna F. Brown, Associate Vice President for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), and Dr. Maxine McKinney de Royston, Dean of Faculty have officially started and have already hit the ground running. The esteemed duo will be hosting Erikson’s first One Erikson Orientation (read more on the orientation in the “Erikson Updates” section of this newsletter). We are excited to welcome them on board and can’t wait to see what they have in store for Erikson’s faculty and staff.
Maria Di Lorenzo is Erikson’s new General Counsel. With over 20 years of experience as a General Counsel, Maria is an expert in Compliance and Board Governance. In her new role, Maria will provide strategic legal advice, serve as Assistant Secretary of the Board of Trustees, and limit risk exposure. When not working, she enjoys time with her husband and four kids, engaging in civic and volunteer activities, and spending time outdoors enjoying nature.
Gilbert Martinez has joined the Office of Research, Registration, and Records in the position of Registrar. Reporting to the Director of Research, Registration, & Records, the Registrar is responsible for ensuring the integrity and accuracy of student academic records by managing the life cycle of academic progression through grading processes, receiving and processing all academic transcript requests, maintaining accurate and up to date degree/aim information in the Advising module, and managing all requests for changes to student demographic and personal data. Gil has spent most of his career in higher education administration and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position. Prior to his arrival at Erikson in July, he served as University Registrar at both Lewis University in Romeoville and Concordia University in Chicago.
The DCFS Project is excited to welcome Alison Place to our team! Alison has a long-standing connection with Erikson, including as a graduate of the Child Development program, research associate with Herr Research Center, staff member with the Academic Success Center, and graduate student research assistant with Fussy Baby. In the role of Project Data Assistant for the DCFS Project, she will support the Project in gathering, organizing, entering and maintaining data on child welfare involved young children and the assessments, referrals and consultations performed by Project staff. Additionally, Alison will support Project functioning through essential administrative tasks.
Erikson is excited to welcome applied child development scholar, Anita Evans as a Research Coordinator for Project Connect and Hawaii SELove. In this role she manages the research that unlocks new insights into teacher collaboration and development. In addition, Anita co-chairs the Doctoral Student Association, weaving connections and building bridges among her peers. With her background in process-oriented arts education and experience as a preschool teacher, Anita navigates challenges with creativity and adaptability. Her passion and playful approach breathes life into her work, infusing it with unique energy and vibrancy.
Tina Aslanidis will be joining the Office of Research, Registration, and Records as Erikson Institute’s Grants Administrator on September 1st. Reporting to the Director of Research, Registration, & Records, the Grants Administrator will work closely with research faculty and Principal Investigators to manage a portfolio of research projects in the areas of child development, early childhood education, and early care and education funded by federal, state, local, and private grants and contracts. Tina will coordinate across departments to ensure all pre- and post-award activities, including budget setup, implementation, reporting, and closeout, are effectively administered and in compliance with grant requirements as well as Institute policies. Tina has significant experience in grants administration. She has spent much of her career working for the City of Chicago’s Public Safety Administration, most notably as Supervisor of Grants Administration.
Melissa Casteel is the new Early Childhood Leadership Academy (ELCA) Alumni Coach for Erikson’s Policy and Leadership Department. She will support ECLA alumni by helping them apply the knowledge gained at Erikson to advance their action plans, which center children and families.
Melissa is a Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows alumna and an adult and early childhood educator, connector, and leadership coach. She is also the co-host of Brown Crayon, a podcast focused on elevating the voices of melanated early childhood leaders. Melissa, the daughter of a family childcare provider, started her career as a kindergarten teacher. She has since served as director of assessment, national trainer, researcher, adjunct faculty, and director of an accredited early childhood program and public school-administered Head Start program. A first-generation college graduate, she received a doctorate in adult and continuing education, a graduate degree in early childhood leadership and advocacy, and a graduate degree in administration and supervision, all from National Louis University. Her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.
We’re hiring for a variety of roles that support our mission. Please check out new opportunities here and share widely with your networks.
Erikson’s Annual Luncheon will be held on October 27 featuring voting rights activist and best-selling author Stacey Abrams. We are currently seeking table sponsors. Individual ticket sales coming soon. Learn more here.
Erikson’s Research team invites you to join Home Grown and its partners at the Pre-K in Family Child Care Project Team (Erikson Institute, University of Delaware & University of North Carolina Equity Action Research Coalition) and NIEER on August 10 for a webinar focused on our shared work to better understand how we can build a mixed-delivery pre-K system that serves diverse families by including family childcare. Learn more and register here.
Erikson Institute’s reputation in the early childhood field has been strengthened by the contributions of our world-renowned faculty. Learn more about this dynamic group and what makes them stand out.
Meet Assistant Professor, Dr. Meghan Green
Name: Meghan Green
What year did you start working at Erikson?
I began working at Erikson in July 2022 as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. I transitioned into my new role as an Assistant Professor in July 2023.
Of all the colleges and universities worldwide, why did you decide to teach at Erikson?
I was drawn to Erikson’s deep commitment to children and families, especially our history as a community partner in racially and linguistically diverse spaces. After learning more about the racial equity work being done across Erikson sectors, I have grown to appreciate the vast knowledge and passion of faculty and staff.
What has been the most rewarding moment in your career at Erikson?
My most rewarding moment has definitely been joining the Triple Endorsement faculty this summer with our inaugural cohort! Our students have demonstrated such profound levels of engagement and deep critical reflection in this first semester. I had the pleasure of teaching two courses this summer, Culturally Sustaining Environments and Seminar: Learning Environments, and in each course, students have supported each other and embraced our program’s Ethos of Care.
What is your hidden (or secret) talent? In my humble opinion, I am a really great chef! I grew up in south Louisiana watching my grandmother and mother cook every type of Creole/Cajun dish there is. Cooking is one of my favorite ways to nurture my loved ones.
Recognized for our groundbreaking work in the field of early childhood, Erikson specializes in preparing child development, education, and social work leaders to improve the lives of young children, families, and their communities. For more information on our degree and certificate programs, visit our website or email our admissions team.
Erikson’s Center for Children and Families offers pediatric mental health services for children birth to age 8 and their families. Services can be provided in both English and Spanish, and are available to families regardless of their ability to pay.
Erikson’s Policy and Leadership department engages leaders in government, business, and nonprofit sectors to inform effective policies that benefit children and families. They offer unique programming that equips decision-makers and influencers with the resources, skills, and deep knowledge about early childhood development that will support their efforts to make lasting change. Learn more about our Policy and Leadership
The first 1,800 days of life set the stage for a child’s long-term physical and emotional health, socioeconomic trajectory, life expectancy, happiness, and well-being. Can we count on you to make a gift to strengthen our ability to serve children and families, as well as our students, faculty, and staff, during this time? Your support for Erikson prepares the heroes in young children’s lives—teachers, social workers, civic leaders, parents and caregivers—to get them safely through this crisis so they can soar into promising futures. Please donate here
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