Erikson’s doctoral students come from around the world to pursue diverse applied research interests.
Ph.D. student biographies
B.A. in History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
M.A. in Bilingual and Multicultural Education, University of Colorado, Boulder
Biliteracy 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
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.
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies
Erikson Institute, Master of Science in Child Development
Workforce development and supports, partnerships with parents, and relationship building within the context of communities
B.S. in Family and Child Development, Texas State University
M.A. in Early Childhood Education, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Jewish early childhood education, American educational history, and the organizational culture of child development centers.
Hannah is currently a research assistant for the West DuPage Educare Implementation Study. Her other professional experiences include teaching at Head Start, an accredited child development center, and working as an adjunct faculty member.
Mary K Frese
B.S. Psychology (University of Illinois Champagin Urbana)
B.A. Philosophy (University of Illinois Champaign Urbana)
M.A. Developmental Psychology (Loyolola University Chicago)
Early intervention and prevention, Parent-child interaction, training for family support staff
Ilana Dvorin Friedman
B.S. in Sociology from Brandeis University with Minors in Education Studies, History, and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
M.S. in Child Development from Erikson Institute
Gender discourse in the early childhood classrooms, gender beliefs of early childhood educators, Jewish early childhood education, professional development of early childhood educators, family engagement
Gender Role Beliefs of Teachers in Orthodox Jewish Early Childhood Programs
Ilana is a 5th year doctoral student at Erikson Institute and Loyola University. Ilana has been an adjunct instructor at a variety of programs over the last 6 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.
B.A., Eastern Connecticut State University
M.S. in Human Development and Social Policy, University of Utah
Early Childhood policy, teacher preparation and development, parent-child interaction, play, culturally-relevant pedagogy
Erika recently relocated to Chicago after living in Salt Lake City for five years, where she worked in a variety of childcare 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.
Sabrina Altagracia Mendez
A.A. in Psychology, Miami Dade College
B.A. in Psychology, Florida International University
M.S. in Mental Health Counseling, Florida International University
Parent-child interactions, infant mental health, child development, social-emotional development, trauma
Sabrina moved to Chicago in 2015 to pursue a doctorate degree at Erikson Institute. 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. Currently, Sabrina is working as the program manager and evaluator for the Making Futures Bright project, a trauma-informed training initiative for early intervention professionals serving children and families throughout Chicago, and a research assistant for Fussy Baby Network® New Orleans and Gulf Coast Research Initiative
BA in Early Childhood Education with IL teacher licensure, Concordia University Chicago
MA in Early Childhood Education, Concordia University Chicago
Teacher preparation, Early Childhood professional development, engaging adult learners, the Reggio Emilia Approach, human development
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.
B.A., DePaul University
M.S.Ed., Northwestern University
Empowering educators, improving professional development, the whole teacher approach, early math teaching and learning, culturally-relevant pedagogy, early childhood STEM, identity development, restorative justice
Lauren currently conducts research and facilitates professional development with the Early Math Collaborative, and also coordinates the Early Childhood STEM Working Group. In addition, she serves as an Instructor and Advisor in the Education and Child Development Master’s Programs at Erikson. Previously, Lauren taught kindergarten and served as her school’s Early Childhood Team Leader. She is a 2014 Illinois State Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and an alumna Accelerate Institute’s Teacher Leadership Academy. Baby sloths are her favorite anima
B.A., Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
M.P.P., The University of Chicago
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.
While pursuing her doctoral studies at Erikson Institute and Loyola University Chicago, Kandace is a senior program officer at the Irving Harris Foundation where she works to build developmentally-appropriate, trauma-informed equitable systems of care for young children and their families. In this capacity, Kandace manages a grant portfolio of organizations working in infant mental health professional development, policy, advocacy, training, leadership development, reproductive health, justice, and domestic violence. Kandace was central to the creation of the Diversity-Informed Tenets of Infant Mental Health, ten guiding principles outlining equity standards in the infant mental health field. She also conducts local and national trainings on the tenets. Kandace is cofounder of Camp Sojourner Girls’ Leadership Camp, and her other experiences include policy and program development work on behalf of under-resourced families and communities.
B.A., University of Pennsylvania
M.S.W., University of Pennsylvania
M.S.Ed in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development, University of Pennsylvania
Social-emotional development, early childhood trauma, complex trauma, risk and resilience, early intervention, parenting interventions, humor development, humor as a protective factor.
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.