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Meghan Gowin, EdD is a third-generation educator originally from southwest Louisiana. Her lived experiences as the granddaughter of one woman who left the sixth grade to care for her family and another woman who earned her master’s degree while caring for two young sons influences how she views the relationship between formal institutions of education and the knowledge one learns from spending time in the world. Meghan has worked 15 years in the field of early childhood education as a pre-kindergarten to 4th grade teacher, an adjunct professor of early childhood studies, an anti-bias and anti-racist training facilitator, and as a co-facilitator of NAEYC’s Diversity and Equity Education for Adults (DEEA) interest forum. She has presented sessions at the International Symposium of Poetic Inquiry, the NAEYC Annual Conference, the NAEYC Professional Learning Institute, and the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry.

In 2022, Meghan earned her EdD in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Early Childhood Education from Texas A & M University-Commerce. Her research interests include the impact of teachers’ lived experiences on their use of cultural sustaining pedagogy and anti-bias and anti-racist early childhood education. Her scholarship centers Black feminist thought and endarkened feminist epistemology within early childhood settings, specifically highlighting the diverse lived experiences of BIPOC early childhood educators through arts based qualitative inquiry methods. Meghan’s forthcoming book chapter explores her intersectional experiences as a Black queer femme presenting educator in the forthcoming edited volume Stories of Resistance: Black Women Creating Their Own Seat at the Table (edited by Alissa Mwenelupembe).

As an arts-based qualitative researcher, she uses multiple modes of representation to reflect on her positionality as a researcher and to craft her story as a cis Black queer woman engaging in critically informed research methodologies within this time and space. By honoring her ways of being and knowing, Meghan brings herself into the research process in a way that feels authentic and valuable and decolonizes her chosen research methodologies “Qualitative educational researchers who seek to truly decolonize their research agendas must critically self-reflect and consider how we are showing up within minoritized communities,” she says. “We must be held accountable by the communities we serve and must aim to make our research texts accessible to our communities.”

Meghan Gowin, EdD is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Erikson Institute.

Juliet Bromer is a research scientist at Erikson Institute. Bromer’s research focuses on examining programs and systems that support the home-based child care workforce and quality improvement. Through her collaborations with researchers and local, state, and federal policy makers and quality improvement initiatives over the past two decades, she has developed a deep knowledge of the systems that shape the home-based child care landscape including subsidy, QRIS, accreditation, and licensing. Currently, she leads three national studies focused on home-based child care including: 1) a new federally-funded project to examine home-based child care supply and quality, 2) a multi-year national research initiative examining the quality of support offered by family child care networks to home-based child care providers, and 3) an exploratory study on the decline of family child care in four states.

Jennifer McCray earned both her master’s and doctorate degrees at Erikson Institute. A former preschool teacher, she has taught pre- and in-service preschool and elementary teachers for the past eight years.

In addition to directing the Early Math Collaborative, Jennifer conducts research on preschool teaching and learning.

Her dissertation, which focused on preschool teachers’ understanding of mathematics, recently won two national awards.


M.S., Ph.D., Erikson Institute

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.