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Samantha Melvin

Samantha Melvin

Assistant Research Scientist

Education
  • PhD in Early Childhood Education Policy, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • MA in Education Policy, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • BA in Psychology with a Cognitive Science Concentration, Wesleyan University
Training Experience
  • Early childhood policies and systems
  • Quality teacher, family, and child interactions
  • Childcare equity and access
  • Home-based childcare
  • Caregiver stress and well-being
Professional Highlights
  • 2022 – Represented Erikson Institute on planning committees for the Early Childhood Research Alliance of Chicago (EC-REACH)
  • 2022-2024 – Co-investigator for the Pre-K in Family Child Care Project (Foundation for Child Development & Home Grown Child Care Collaborative, PIs: Juliet Bromer, Rena Hallam, Jason Hustedt, Iheoma Iruka)
  • 2021-2023 – Managed and co-directed the Comprehensive Services in Family Child Care Project (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Equity-Focused Policy Research: Building Cross-Cutting Evidence on Supports for Families, co-PI: Juliet Bromer, co-I: Crystasany Turner)
  • 2021 – Received Strategic Poster for Policy Research Award from the Society for Research in Child Development (“They don’t ask anything about this:” Family child care providers’ perceptions of quality, alignment, and engagement)
  • 2020-2022 – Received Child Care Dissertation Grant from U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Policy Research and Evaluation (Mentor: Sharon Lynn Kagan)
  • 2019-2020 – Received Early Career Scholar Award by the NYC Early Childhood Research Network

Recent publications

Journal Articles

  • Souto-Manning, M. & Melvin, S.A. (2022). Early childhood teachers of color in New York City: Heightened stress, lower quality of life, declining health, and compromised sleep amidst COVID-19. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 60, 34-48. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2021.11.005
  • Melvin, S.A., Landsberg, E., & Kagan, S.L., (2020). International curriculum frameworks: Increasing equity and driving systemic change. Young Children, 75(1), 10-21.
  • Reid, J.L., Kagan, S.L., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Melvin, S.A. (2021). Promoting quality in programs for infants and toddlers: Comparing the family child care and center-based teaching workforce. Children and Youth Services Review, 122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105890
  • Rojas, N.M., Yoshikawa, H., Gennetian, L., Lemus-Rangel, M., Melvin, S.A., Noble, K.G., Duncan, G.J., & Magnuson, K. (2020). Exploring the experiences and dynamics of an unconditional cash transfer for low-income mothers: A mixed methods study. Journal of Children and Poverty, 26(1), 64-84. https://doi.org/10.1080/10796126.2019.1704161
  • Reid, J.L., Melvin, S.A., Kagan, S.L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2019). Building a unified system for universal Pre-K: The case of New York City. Children and Youth Services Review, 100, 191-205.

Book Chapters

  • Melvin, S.A., Landsberg, E. & Kagan, S.L. (2019). Informed, individualized, and continuous pedagogy. In S.L. Kagan (Ed.), The Early Advantage: Building Systems That Work for Children. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Kagan, S.L., Melvin, S.A., Landsberg, E., Kumpulainen, K., & Reid, J.L. (2019). Knowledgeable and supported teachers and families. In S.L. Kagan (Ed.), The Early Advantage: Building Systems That Work for Children. New York: Teachers College Press.

Reports and Briefs

Recent presentations

  • Fletcher, K., Gibbs, H. (hosts), Melvin, S. (2022, February 28). Early childcare policy (No. 002). In The Kids’ Table Podcast.
  • Ragonese-Barnes, M., Melvin, S., Porter, T. & Bromer, J. (June 2022). To stay or to go: How challenges faced by family child care educators may influence their consideration of exit from the field. Symposium presented at the National Research Conference on Early Childhood, virtual.
  • Melvin, S.A. (June 2022). Family Child Care Educators’ Experiences of (Dis)Engagement in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Stories from three states. Poster presented at the National Research Conference on Early Childhood, virtual.
  • Melvin, S.A. (April 2021) “They don’t ask anything about this:” Family child care providers’ perceptions of quality, alignment, and engagement. Poster accepted for presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development, virtual.
  • Melvin, S.A., Bromer, J., Porter, T., & Ragonese-Barnes, M. (December 2020). Examining the factors that contribute to the decline in family child care: A review of the literature. Poster presented at the National Research Conference on Early Childhood, virtual.
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Related Professional Experience

  • Research, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement Consultant, 2014-2022
  • Toddler Room Substitute Teacher, Rita Gold Early Childhood Education Center, 2017-2019
  • Research Manager, National Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, 2016-2017
  • Lab Manager, The Neurocognition, Early Experience, and Development Lab, Columbia University, 2013-2016
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Samantha (Sam) Melvin, PhD joined Erikson’s Herr Research Center as an Assistant Research Professor in 2022 after completing her PhD in Early Childhood Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. She brings over a decade of experience as an interdisciplinary researcher, early childhood educator, and adult learning facilitator to the Erikson community.

At Erikson, Dr. Melvin directs and collaborates on community-engaged, policy-relevant research projects focused on understanding and transforming early childhood policies and systems to equitably meet the needs of diverse children, families, and educators, with a particular focus on elevating the voices and value of home-based childcare professionals. Her work leverages mixed methods and fuses knowledge from developmental science, early childhood education, sociology, and policy analysis to inform systemic change.

Raised by a single parent, a family childcare provider, a cooperative preschool, and public schools, Dr. Melvin is a fierce advocate for community-centered learning and enriching early childhood experiences as vehicles of social justice and joy for young children and those who care for them.