Inside Erikson | January 2021 Newsletter

January, 2021 – Happy New Year and welcome to the first installment of the Erikson Institute monthly newsletter for 2021!

2020 certainly had its fair share of changes and challenges, but we are looking forward to a new year filled with new promise. During this holiday season, we hope you were able to take time to recharge and reconnect with what is most important to you. We are grateful to our dedicated staff, faculty, students, alumni, donors, and trustees, whose continued support keeps us going during the tough times. 2021 holds exciting opportunities for our work with children and families to reach new heights.

And speaking of children, this difficult previous year has reminded us that children are some of our greatest treasures. In the spirit of celebration, please say hello to the babies born to Erikson staff and faculty members across the last year. We know this time has been, and continues to be, unprecedented for us all. But seeing the world through the clear, bright eyes of a baby can remind us what is truly important in life.

Keep reading to stay in the loop as we start a new year of updates, events, and media coverage.

Erikson Updates


Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas named to Illinois State Senate

Erikson Institute’s Associate Vice President of Policy Cristina Pacione-Zayas, PhD, has been appointed to the Illinois State Senate. The seat was vacated by Iris Martinez, the newly elected Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court. Dr. Pacione-Zayas stepped down from her role at Erikson, effective December 21, 2020, and will continue consulting as Senior Policy Advisor providing counsel and subject matter expertise. Read the announcement here.

Tonya Bibbs

Congratulations to Associate Professor Tonya Bibbs

Congratulations to Erikson Associate Professor Tonya Bibbs, PhD, LCSW, who has been named a Robert Woods Johnson Social Work Health Futures Fellow. The program, launched out of Portland State University, will convene 26 social work experts from across the country to take on topics from social media to climate justice. Specifically, Dr. Bibbs will be exploring the application of social work futures on new forms of policy making and democratic belonging.

Thank You

Fundraising Success

Thanks to Erikson’s generous supporters, our Giving Tuesday efforts achieved 281% of our goal for a grand total of $5,685 raised in support of young children and families. Whether you shared our fundraiser on social media, tagged us in photos, or made a generous contribution through our website, we are so grateful for you. Please enjoy this video of thanks.

Fussy Baby Dad

Fussy Baby Network Service

If you’re struggling to care for a baby who is fussy, crying excessively, or has difficulties sleeping or feeding, consider reaching out to Erikson’s Fussy Baby Network. One of our skilled infant specialists will be happy to connect with you, and we have waived fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is here.

January 2021 Events

Graduate Program Virtual Information Session

On January 12 from 5-6 p.m., join Erikson’s admission team for a virtual information session exploring our graduate program offerings.

Master of Social Work Virtual Information Session

Learn more about Erikson’s Master of Social Work program on January 28 from 5-6 p.m. when reps from our Enrollment Management team host a virtual information session. Register here to attend here.

Erikson in the News

January 2021 newsletter

Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas transitioned covered

The Chicago Sun Times, Univision-TV, and Lawndale News covered Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas’s transition to the Illinois State Senate.

Erikson research brief cited

“A recent policy brief from the Erikson Institute called home childcare providers the ‘unsung heroes in the COVID-19 crisis,’ but noted ‘the crisis exacerbated conditions for an already vulnerable workforce’.” Check out this LAist article exploring the challenges child care providers have faced during the ongoing pandemic.

WBEZ story featuring Erikson alumna and adjunct professor

WBEZ profiled Erikson alumna Olga Contreras (MS Early Childhood Education, ’09) and her second grade class based in the Little Village community for a story exploring how they have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. Erikson Senior Instructor Rebeca Itzkowich, MA was also quoted in the story.

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About Erikson

Erikson Institute Entry

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, click here or email our admissions team.

Clinical and Community Services

As we adapt to these unexpected and challenging times due to COVID-19, Erikson’s Center for Children and Families is offering virtual mental health services to parents, caregivers, and children, as well as crisis counseling and consultation to support first responders and early childcare providers and teachers. Services can be provided in both English and Spanish, and are available to families regardless of their ability to pay.

We have also re-opened our River North clinic for services that require in-person assessments, including Early Intervention Medical and Neurodevelopmental Diagnostic Evaluations.

Our Fussy Baby Network, which helps families struggling with their infants’ crying, sleeping, or feeding, has also pivoted to provide more of its services, like home visits, in a virtual environment.

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

Every gift made to Erikson supports work that has limitless influence, translating directly to innovative programs that empower early childhood professionals, provide services, and shape policies and practices — all helping children and families achieve their full potential. Make a gift to Erikson today.

More Ways To Connect

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