The Doctoral Student Association organizes the Applied Child Development Seminar Series, an intellectual forum on topics related to applied child development research.
PhD student biographies
Education: B.A. in History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill M.A. in Bilingual and Multicultural Education, University of Colorado, Boulder
Interest areas: Bi-literacy development and translanguaging with Spanish-English emergent bilingual children; using culturally relevant texts to develop reading comprehension and oral discourse
Dissertation title: A Classroom-Based Case Study of Literature Discussions with Emergent Bilingual Children
Additional information: Currently Amy is conducting research about teachers’ instruction using culturally relevant texts and its impact on students’ reading comprehension and language use. She is also an adjunct instructor in Erikson’s Bilingual/ESL Certificate Program and a clinical teaching supervisor in Northeastern Illinois University’s bilingual and bicultural education program. Her other experiences include 12 years as a Spanish-English dual language primary grade teacher in Chicago Public Schools.
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies Erikson Institute, Master of Science in Child Development
Interest areas: Workforce development and supports, partnerships with parents, and relationship building within the context of communities
Education: B.S. in Family and Child Development, Texas State University M.A. in Early and Elementary Education
Interest areas: History of education, intersectionality, and special education
Dissertation title: Braided Lives: Jewish American girls, public schools, and progressive education
Additional information: Hannah is an adjunct instructor in the Early Education Department at Triton College. Her other professional experiences include teaching at Head Start, working at an accredited child development center, and working as a program evaluator. Hannah is interested in promoting and improving the teaching of history of education.
Mary K Frese
Education: B.S. Psychology (University of Illinois Champaign Urbana) B.A. Philosophy (University of Illinois Champaign Urbana) M.A. Developmental Psychology (Loyola University Chicago)
Interest areas: Early intervention and prevention, parent-child interaction, training for family support staff
Ilana Dvorin Friedman
Education: B.S. in Sociology, Minors in Education Studies, History, and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University M.S. in Child Development, Erikson Institute
Interest areas: Gender discourse in the early childhood classroom, gender beliefs of early childhood educators, Jewish early childhood education, professional development of early childhood educators, family and community engagement, foundations and history of American schooling
Dissertation title: Gender Role Beliefs of Teachers in Orthodox Jewish Early Childhood Programs
Additional information: Ilana is a doctoral candidate at Erikson Institute and Loyola University. Ilana has been an adjunct instructor at a variety of programs over the last seven years, including Erikson Institute, The Blitstein Institute of HTC, Oakton Community College, and Harold Washington College. Ilana previously worked as the Early Childhood Coordinator at an early childhood center.
Education: B.A., Eastern Connecticut State University M.S. in Human Development and Social Policy, University of Utah
Interest areas: Early Childhood policy, teacher preparation and development, parent-child interaction, play, culturally-relevant pedagogy
Additional information: Erika recently relocated to Chicago after living in Salt Lake City for five years, where she worked in a variety of child care roles, including Early Childhood Program Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake, early childhood/elementary teacher in a private program, and student teacher supervisor at the University of Utah’s Child and Family Development Center laboratory school, while completing her M.S. Currently, Erika works as a research assistant on the West Chicago Collective Impact Study.
Education: B.A. in Sociology, Minor in Applied Developmental Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles. M.S. in Early Childhood Development with Specializations in Infancy and Administration, Erikson Institute
Additional information: Rebecca is currently working in the Early Development Instrument program at Erikson Institute and also teaches as adjunct in the Infant/Toddler Certificate Program. Rebecca is originally from California and moved to Chicago a decade ago to pursue her master’s degree. She is now beginning her doctoral work with two small children in tow. Prior to beginning her doctorate, she was a parent ambassador for the Jewish United Fund and has many years of experience in infant and toddler programming, with roles ranging from assistant teacher to education coordinator. She also has a background in early childhood systems and collaboration work, and she is passionate about policy and advocacy.
Education: B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign M.S.W., Concentration in Children Youth and Families, Specialization in Management, Washington University, St. Louis
Interest areas: Strengths-based and identity development research for individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Additional information: Currently, Missi is a doctoral research assistant with the Early Math Collaborative at Erikson assisting with the development of video data analysis instruments. Her other professional experiences include teaching early childhood, working for a family resource agency, and working as a counselor/supervisor/program coordinator for a residential summer camp.
Sabrina Altagracia Mendez
Education: A.A. in Psychology, Miami Dade College B.A. in Psychology, Florida International University M.S. in Mental Health Counseling, Florida International University
Interest areas: Latino child development, Dominican children and families, normative development, parent-child interactions, infant mental health, social-emotional development, higher education
Additional information: Sabrina is a third-year doctoral student. Prior, she was an infant mental health therapist in Miami working with children and families involved in child welfare. Sabrina was a licensed mental health counselor trained in the evidence-based Child-Parent Psychotherapy therapeutic model. She was also an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College and Florida International University teaching a variety of psychology courses. Sabrina worked with Erikson Professor Linda Gilkerson, PhD, as a program coordinator in the Trauma-Informed Early Intervention project and a research assistant for the implementation of the Fussy Baby Network® in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. Currently, she is a full-time professor in Truman College’s Human Development and Education department. Sabrina’s research area is developing and presently focused on the normative early child development of Dominican children with special focus on socialization practices of Dominican families.
Education: B.A. in Early Childhood Education with IL teacher licensure, Concordia University Chicago M.A. in Early Childhood Education, Concordia University Chicago
Interest areas: Teacher preparation, early childhood professional development, engaging adult learners, the Reggio Emilia approach, human development
Additional information: Mary is currently teaching human development at Erikson Institute and also taught child development for the RYB project with Erikson in Beijing, China. She works on the Family Child Care Project at Erikson, which involves the creation of the Town Square IL website and online professional development for family child care providers. Mary is a founding member of Cultivating the Early Years, a network for progressive early childhood educators. She has provided professional development and workshops for teachers, parents, professionals, and students at a variety of conferences, including NAEYC, PEN (Progressive Education Network), the Chicago Public Libraries and AATE (American Alliance for Theatre and Education). Mary taught full time in the early childhood teacher preparation program at Columbia College Chicago. Prior to that, she taught preschool and kindergarten for 12 years. She has also been adjunct faculty at Triton College in River Grove, Illinois; Concordia University Chicago; and Pacific Oaks College.
Education: B.S., Boston University M.S., Boston University
Interest areas: Early intervention, early childhood trauma, policy and procedure, adoption and foster care, prevention
Additional information: Michelle is a Boston native who has lived and worked as an occupational therapist in San Diego and Philadelphia. She moved to Chicago to pursue a doctorate in Child Development at Erikson. She works as a research assistant on a project training therapists to work with young children who have experienced trauma. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and baking.
Education: B.A., DePaul University M.S., Northwestern University
Interest areas: Empowering educators, improving professional development, coaching, the whole teacher approach, early math teaching and learning, culturally-relevant pedagogy, early childhood STEM
Additional information: Lauren currently serves as a coach, professional development facilitator, and research assistant for Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative, while also teaching courses in Erikson’s Child Development and Teacher Education programs. Lauren coordinated the Early Childhood STEM Working Group resulting in the report Early STEM Matters: Providing High-Quality STEM Experiences for All Young Learners. Previously a kindergarten teacher and her school’s Early Childhood Team Leader, Lauren was a 2014 Illinois State Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.
Education: B.A., Wesleyan University, Middletown Connecticut M.P.P., University of Chicago
Interest areas: Mindfulness as intervention strategy, intergenerational trauma, trauma-informed services and systems, diversity-informed practice, infant mental health, program evaluation, social policy and systems impact on families
Dissertation title: Trait Mindfulness and Self-Care as Buffers of Intergenerational Trauma Transmission
Additional information: Kandace is a sixth-year doctoral student working on her dissertation. She is studying how mindfulness characteristics, or traits, and self-care strategies are conditions that will reduce intergenerational trauma transmission within families. As part of her studies, she works to integrate mindfulness practices in Chicago public schools. While pursuing her doctoral studies, Kandace works as a senior program officer at the Irving Harris Foundation, where she helps build developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed equitable systems of care for young children and their families. Kandace is a co-creator of the Diversity-Informed Infant Mental Health Tenets, 10 guiding principles outlining equity standards in the infant mental health field, and facilitates local and national workshops on the tenets. Kandace’s other experiences include policy and program development work on behalf of under-resourced families and communities.
Education: B.A., University of Pennsylvania M.S.W., University of Pennsylvania M.S.ED in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development, University of Pennsylvania
Interest areas: Social-emotional development, early childhood trauma, complex trauma, risk and resilience, early intervention, parenting interventions, humor development, humor as a protective factor
Additional information: Colleen moved to Chicago from Philadelphia, where she previously worked as a clinical social worker and clinical research coordinator, to pursue a doctorate in Child Development at Erikson. She works as a research assistant on a project evaluating home visiting programs. She is most likely currently listening to the Hamilton soundtrack.
Education: B.A. in Bilingual Broadcasting, Zhejiang University of Media and Communications M.S.ED in Education and Social Change, University of Miami
Interest areas: Linguistic development, parent-child interaction in multi-culture families, early intervention, identity development, socialization