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Inside Erikson | July 2022

a monthly comm(unity) newsletter

July 2022 - Welcome to the July edition of the Inside Erikson newsletter!    While we were all very ready to celebrate FREEDOM this summer after two years of pandemic-related restrictions, our joy has been muted by the tragic mass shooting in Highland Park on July 4, and the repeal of Roe v. Wade, which outlaws women’s freedom of choice in many states. The reality is that freedom is even more limited now as many women across the country are hurting and join many citizens of the U.S whose freedom has been limited their entire lives. The families and community of Highland Park are hurting as their freedom to gather was stolen by gun violence. Thankfully, we still have the freedom to ADVOCATE for our children, communities that are hurting, and for the issues we care about. Erikson community, it’s time to ACTIVATE! In the words of an anonymous mom, wife and activist who was quoted on social media.

“We have a lot of work to do.

Let’s not get complacent.

Your vote counts.

Your voice counts.

I want to make sure my daughter has every reason to be this excited.

I want that excitement.

That unification.

I want everyone to feel free here.

We have work to do.”

Erikson Updates

Congratulations to Dr. Pamela Epley, Erikson’s new Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dr. Pamela Epley

As Vice President of Academic Affairs, Pam will oversee degree program development, curriculum, staffing, and other key functions of ensuring our academic programs are current, compliant with accrediting bodies, and all student support services.  She started her career as a physical therapist, working in early intervention and early childhood school-based settings. After earning a master’s in education, she went on to earn her PhD in Special Education at the University of Kansas and began teaching at Erikson in 2009. Over the years, Pam has conducted ground-breaking research in early childhood special education, and advanced from assistant to clinical professor.  Thank you, Pam, for your remarkable contributions as Interim Senior Vice President while simultaneously serving as Dean of Faculty since 2021. We value your leadership!

Erikson’s New Website Launch!

After nearly a year of planning and multi-phase execution, has a fresh design, and it will perform better in attracting and engaging external audiences, including prospective students, clients, and professionals.  A special thanks to  Amy Mikel, Director of Marketing  and Abi Odunsi, Web Developer who led this intensive, cross-functional effort with Orbit Media, a web-design agency. We also greatly appreciate ongoing guidance from the Executive Team and input from the many Erikson staff who served as department liaisons providing input throughout the process. Web content and features are constantly being updated, so visit the site often to see what’s new.

Erikson at the June Early Math Symposium

Congratulations to the Early Math Collaborative team, Jie-Qi Chen, Mary Hynes-Berry, Veronica Castro, Lisa Ferguson, Rebeca Itzkowich, Donna Johnson, Jeanine Brownell, and Rakhee Dodia. The team represented Erikson well with a keynote address to 1,205 attendees and three presentations. They received many accolades, and a participant wrote of the keynote, “The session was fantastic and was so appreciated by me. Nothing better than doing PD and knowing you can and want to put what you learned to use!!!” Follow the Early Math Collaborative team.

Linda Horwtiz, Interim Program Supervisor of the Fussy Baby Network, wrote a guest blog for Infant Massage USA on the magic of touch and connection during the first year of an infant’s life.

Meghan Hickey, MSCD, ’22, held an internship with Dr. Samina Hadi-Tabassum, designed, implemented, and analyzed an original study in her middle school classroom on executive functioning skills. Her study was featured in the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) journal, read about the Post-Pandemic Challenges: The Use of Mantras on Executive Functioning Skills.

Maggie Reardon, Research Operations Manager for Planning and Resource attended the JAM 2022 conference in Nashville for Jenzabar Software systems and picked up an award for Erikson for being a client for 25 years. Congratulations!

Trustee Spotlight

Erikson Institute has a wonderful group of life trustees and board members, and we are thrilled to share more about them and their commitment to the organization with you. We hope that you enjoy reading about these lovely individuals as much as we have enjoyed interviewing them.   Meet our July featured Life Trustee, Kate Neisser

Pictured: Erikson Trustee Kate Neisser (right) with fellow Trustee Kathy Pick (left)

Pictured: Erikson Trustee Kate Neisser (right) with fellow Trustee Kathy Pick (left)

Name: Kate Neisser

Erikson Trustee Since: 1995

While Kate Neisser joined Erikson’s board in 1995, she’s thought of it as family ever since she could remember.  Not only was her grandmother close friends with Erikson co-founder Maria Piers and EI champion Irving Harris, but also her father was an Erikson trustee and benefactor (our library bears his name).  Recalling dinner table conversation when she was a young child, Kate explains, “My mother would ask my father how Erikson was doing and I just thought that Erikson was some cousin I had yet to meet who was doing amazing work with kids.”  We are honored to have Kate as a third-generation supporter.

What motivates you to support Erikson? 

KN: I am motivated by my father’s and grandmother’s example of service to the organization, and like them, I embrace everything Erikson stands for, particularly when it comes to social justice. I’m particularly interested in the Center for Children and Families and all the social service work we do. I couldn’t be more excited that Mariana is punctuating our efforts toward DEIBJ.

What is your one hope or dream for Erikson? 

KN: For our mission to have a positive effect on people worldwide. I want everyone to have our deep understanding of how the family ecosystem impacts children’s earliest development so that parents and caregivers truly see and accept children for who they are and help them grow into compassionate adults.

What is a fun fact (or two) about you that you’d like to share?

KN: My twin boys, who are now 24 years old—were seen by Jennifer Rosinia (a Senior Instructor at Erikson) in 1998 for an occupational therapy assessment because they were born prematurely. Another fun fact is that I took the picture of my dad that hangs in the library during my senior year of high school. It turned out well, which was a total accident!

Erikson in the News

Erikson’s Policy Team shared the importance of the Illinois Risk and Report as mental health and policy changes are currently on everyone’s mind. Lawndale News echoed the need for more access to mental health services for families.

About Erikson

Graduate Education

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.

Clinical and Community Services

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.

Policy and Leadership

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.

Give to Erikson

The first 1,100 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.

More Ways to Connect

Learn more about Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative and TEC Center.

Boy in sunglasses and hat eating popsicle outdoors

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