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News & Press March 2023

Inside Erikson | March 2023

a monthly comm(unity) newsletter

March 2023  — Welcome to the March edition of the Inside Erikson newsletter!

Happy Women’s History Month! As we celebrate the accomplishments of women across the globe, we also celebrate three of Erikson Institute’s co-founders; Lorraine Wallach, Maria Piers and Barbara Taylor Bowman (above) and their contributions to the field of early childhood education. Following in their footsteps, Erikson Insitute’s current President Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning, as well as many women throughout our organization, continue to amplify our mission and advocate on the behalf of young children everywhere.

Last month, during his budget proposal to the General Assembly, Governor Pritzker unveiled Smart Start Illinois, a multi-year initiative designed to provide all families with young children equitable access to quality education and care programs, and early intervention and home visiting services, and to make deeper investments in the early childhood workforce. Erikson applauds the Governor’s focus on young children and has issued a statement of support for the budget that you can read on The budget must now make its way through the General Assembly. Find your local legislator and ask them to support the Governor’s vision for Smart Start Illinois.

Month at a Glance

  • National Social Work Month
  • Women’s History Month
  • Gender Equality Month
  • Child Life Month
  • Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
  • National Employee Appreciation Day — March 3
  • Erikson Institute’s Spring Break — March 3-9
  • International Women’s Day — March 8
  • Equal Pay Day — March 14
  • St. Patrick’s Day — March 17
  • International Transgender Day of Visibility — March 31

Erikson Updates

Fussy Baby Network’s 20th Anniversary and FAN National Meeting

On February 14, the Fussy Baby Network and FAN team held its national meeting themed “The Many Faces of Attunement: Holding our Humanity.” This event was attended by 120 attendees from across the country and New Zealand. In addition to this wonderful accomplishment, Erikson also celebrates 20 years of Fussy Baby Network this March! Congratulations to all the amazing team members: Linda Gilkerson (Executive Director, Fussy Baby Network), Tori Graham (Director, FAN training) Siemone Smith (DEI Lead Trainer), Aleida Jaimes-Correa (Bilingual Lead Trainer) Mary Nowak (Associate Director of Operations) Sarah Martinez (FAN Lead Trainer) Linda Horwitz (Supervisor, Fussy Baby Network and Smooth Way Home) for their continued service to new moms.

Visit to learn more about the Fussy Baby Network

Erikson advisor appointed to Illinois Early Childhood Committee

State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas

Erikson is happy to support State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas as she recently announced she will serve as chair of the newly formed Senate Early Childhood Committee in the 103rd General Assembly. Prior to becoming a senator in 2020, Sen. Pacione-Zayas was the Associate Vice President of Policy for Erikson Institute. She established Erikson’s Early Childhood Leadership Academy and Community Data Lab—two statewide initiatives designed for Illinois leaders to foster deeper understanding of the importance of a child’s early years and to apply child development science to policies that yield positive outcomes for children and families. Congratulations, Sen. Pacione-Zayas!

Read the full announcement

Celebrating Erikson’s Award-Winning Faculty

Erikson is excited to announce that several of our new faculty have recently received awards and acknowledgements from distinguished organizations. From groundbreaking research to prestigious honors, we congratulate everyone below for these amazing accomplishments.

Abigail Palmer Molina (Assistant Professor)

Lead author on a research brief with the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families that explores how COVID-19 impacted childcare subsidy access for Hispanic children in North Carolina. Read the brief here.

Samantha Melvin (Assistant Research Professor)

Selected for the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) 2023 Early Career Interdisciplinary Scholars Fellowship Program.

Crystasany Turner (Assistant Professor)

Won the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Early Childhood Education Special Interest Group (SIG) Dissertation Award 2023 for her dissertation titled Black Women Family Childcare Providers’ Roles as Community Mothers During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Meghan Gowin (Post-Doctoral Researcher and Teacher Licensure faculty team)

Received the AERA Dissertation Award for the Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education SIG as well as the Selma Greenberg Outstanding Dissertation Award for the Research on Women and Education SIG for her dissertation titled Sister Outsider: Lived Experiences of Black Women Early Childhood Educators who Employ Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.

Lilly Padia (Assistant Professor)

Received the AERA 2023 Outstanding Dissertation 1st place Award from the Bilingual Education Research (BER) SIG and Honorable Mention Dissertation Award from the Disability Studies in Education (DSE) SIG for her dissertation titled Communicative Justice: Bilingual Nonspeaking Children and Families Languaging Beyond the Spoken Word.

365 Days of “1,800 Days”

Erikson Institute x PRX Presents 1,800 Days The Story of Early Childhood in the U.S.

February 28th marks the one-year anniversary of Erikson Institute’s, “1,800 Days” podcast! In partnership with PRX and hosted by WBEZ reporter and renowned author Natalie Moore, “1,800 Days” explores early childhood care and education from its conception to its current state, to experts’ predictions of its future. The podcast tells the story of early childhood in the U.S. from the perspective of the pioneers, partners, and the early care and education workforce. Since its release, the podcast has been downloaded over 7,000 times in over 40 different countries. You can listen to all five episodes by visiting

New Book on Child Care and Justice with Forward by Barbara T. Bowman

Child Care Justice: Transforming the System of Care for Young Children (The Teaching for Social Justice Series) by Maurice Sykes and Kyra Ostendorf is a new book with a forward written Erikson professor Barbara Bowman. According to the book description, “This volume disrupts mental models regarding where the work of early care and education began—with enslaved African women—and how the stigma of that beginning relegates present-day child care workers to a low-status, low-wage field of practice. Expert authors contribute their wisdom, experience, research, and practical knowledge on issues related to equity and social justice.” Congratulations, Barbara!

Samuel Meisels

Former president of Erikson Institute and founding executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska, Samuel J. Meisels retired Feb. 28. Over his 50-year career, he distinguished himself as a leading voice in the field of early childhood education. Sam was Erikson’s longest-serving president to date, leading the Institute from 2002 until 2013. Under his guidance, Erikson grew in a number of exciting ways, with the launches of the Fussy Baby Network, Early Math Collaborative, Distance Learning, the Herr Research Center, Center for Children and Families and the Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center.

Read more about Sam’s career

Upcoming Erikson Events

Erikson’s President presents at Sarah Lawrence College

Erikson Institute’s President Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning will speak at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY on March 23 at 6pm EST. Her presentation, titled “Toward a New Politics of Belonging: Moving Beyond ‘Diversity’ and ‘Inclusion,’” is a part of the Longfellow Lecture series. The series, which started in 1987, honors the memory of Cynthia Longfellow, who devoted her professional life to bettering the lives of young children.

Register for the event

Tell a Prospective Student About This Event: Discussion with President Souto-Manning on Erikson’s Reimagined Master’s in Early Childhood Education

Erikson Institute (Re)Imagining Early Childhood Teaching and Learning Virtual Information Session on March 9, 2023 10 - 11 am Register today for this FREE Virtual Event featuring Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning, President of Erikson Institute and Dr. Sandra Osorio

Please Join Erikson Institute’s President, Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning, and Dr. Sandra Osorio, Associate Professor of Raciolinguistic Justice & Director of Teacher Education, as they speak about the launch of Erikson’s reimagined teacher licensure program. This program, the first of its kind in Illinois, will help prepare teachers to meet the needs of every child in their classroom. This program will provide small, cohort-based learning opportunities with strong student services, including two years of professional learning post-graduation. Come learn more about this program and our Educator Impact Grant that covers full tuition and student service fees for qualifying students.

Register here today

Webinar Discussing Early Math featuring Erikson alumna

Erikson alum, Lauren Solarski, PhD, will be one of several panelists at an upcoming webinar, “Promoting High-Quality Math and Science Learning in Kindergarten,” part of the Transforming Kindergarten series, co-sponsored by New America and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The webinar will be held Tuesday, March 7 from 3-4:30 p.m. ET.

Learn more and register here

Faculty Spotlight

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 Senior Instructor and Assistant Director of our Infant Studies program, Sarah Martinez.

 Senior Instructor and Assistant Director of our Infant Studies program, Sarah Martinez

Name: Sarah Martinez

Faculty Member since: 2013 – coming up on my 10-year anniversary this summer!

Of all the colleges and universities worldwide, why did you decide to teach at Erikson? Erikson’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Program is one of the best anywhere. Infant Mental Health is my passion, so teaching in that program is a great fit for me.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career at Erikson? Every year at the graduation ceremony for the IECMH program, we take a few minutes to recognize the work that each student did in their Capstone project in the program. I am inspired by the work they do to support infants, young children, and families.

What is your hidden (or secret) talent? I can sing a little, but I mostly save it for the times I’m in the car alone!

Erikson in the News

Samina Hadi-Tabassum recently co-authored an article for titled “How to Create an A+ Teaching Resume.”

Read the article here

Erikson’s new Triple Endorsement Master’s Degree program was featured in Lawndale News.

Read the article here

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 1,800 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

More Ways to Connect

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

Lorraine Wallach, Maria Piers and Barbara Taylor Bowman

Join the Erikson family with monthly news + events updates shared by academics, community members, and families.

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