Announcing the 2022 Scholars and Mentors for the Towards 2044: Horowitz Early Career Scholar Program

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SRCD is pleased to announce the 2022 cohort for the Towards 2044: Horowitz Early Career Scholar Program!

Previously known as the Frances Degan Horowitz Millennium Scholars Program, the new iteration of this mentorship opportunity takes its name from the year when the adult population of the United States is estimated to become a diverse majority.

The Towards 2044: Horowitz Early Career Scholar Program will provide educational and professional development for scholars from underrepresented groups, giving them a launching point for a career in the field of child development with the guidance and mentorship from more advanced scholars. The selected scholars and mentors will pair up and participate in a series of monthly seminars and one-on-one meetings through December 2022. These experiences will enable the rising scholars to gain valuable exposure to the field and allow them to network not only with their mentors, but also with other scholars and professionals. 

The program is led by the Advisory Committee chaired by Dr. Michael Cunningham (Tulane University) and includes Dr. Mayra Bámaca (University of California, Merced) and Dr. Charissa Cheah (University of Maryland, Baltimore County).

Please join us in welcoming this year’s Towards 2044: Horowitz Early Career Scholar Program cohort of scholars and mentors! 

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Scholars

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Shedrick L. Garrett

Shedrick L. Garrett

Description

Shedrick L. Garrett is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). He received his B.S. in Psychology and Neuroscience with an area of emphasis in Behavioral Neuroscience from West Virginia University. Garrett’s program of research explores the digital contexts and social forces that facilitate positive development and resilience for marginalized and underrepresented students. He currently contributes to the examination of social interactions mediated through digital technology working in the Developmental Social Neuroscience (DSN) lab and the Winston National Center on Technology Use, Brain, and Psychological Development. He bridges the DSN lab’s expertise in adolescent digital media use with the Strengths, Assets, & Resilience (StAR) lab’s extensive knowledge in examining the broader racial and socio-contextual factors that shape adolescent development, including focusing on how online racial discrimination, digital peer racial socialization, and exposure to violence via media (e.g., social media; television) impacts well-being and positive youth development.

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Kriss-Ann Gayle

Kriss-Ann Gayle

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Kriss-Ann Gayle's  family immigrated from Jamaica in 2005. Her parents valued education but, because they only completed high school, they often did not have the tools to support her education. She applied to university and was happy to be the recipient of a Fellowship that gave her the financial support that she needed to go to school. This fellowship also connected her with a support network that helped her to be successful as a first-generation student. In her undergraduate career, she worked in multiple Psychology labs because she knew she wanted to conduct research. Through her participation in child development and social psychology labs, she was able to ascertain my research interest. Without the support of her formal and informal mentors that she gained throughout her academic career, she would probably never have gained these experiences or applied to graduate school. She believes that one of the primary benefits of the Horowitz Early Scholar Program is the mentoring and social support that it will provide. As a first-generation student and a Black woman, she believes that having a mentor who understands her background, as well as the special challenges that she faces, would help her to be successful in graduate school and beyond.

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Deborah Han (Seok)

Deborah Han (Seok)

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Deborah Han (Seok) is a second-year graduate student in the developmental psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Denver. She received her B.S. in Human Development with a concentration in neuroscience at Cornell University in 2017. During her time at Cornell, she worked in two research labs on projects that examined how parent-child interactions shape language, attention, and spatial cognition in young children. Before graduate school, she worked for three years at a non-profit called Child Trends where she conducted policy-relevant research on early childhood topics such as child care access and quality, positive parenting practices, and social-emotional development. Her current research interests include the effects of stress on children's physical and mental health, as well as the protective role of social contexts and relationships. She ultimately aims to use this research to inform the development of interventions and public policies that promote positive outcomes in children and families.

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Briana Lopez

Briana Lopez

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Briana Lopez is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). Prior to beginning her graduate studies, she graduated from the University of North Florida (UNF) with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and concentration in child psychology. At UNF Briana worked as a research assistant in various labs where she studied child and adolescent health in relation to contextual risk factors, discrimination and stereotyping, and parent-child relationships. These early research experiences helped her hone her primary research focus, which centers on understanding how contextual, familial, and cultural factors influence child well-being and academic achievement. She places particular attention to the experiences of marginalized and under-represented racial/ethnic groups and approaches her research through a strengths-based, resilience lens. Briana utilizes both community and nationally-representative samples and employs both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Her current research projects examine the relation between school cultural and language supports, parental involvement, and academics during elementary school using large-scale, nationally-representative data from ECLS-K. Another key project seeks to illuminate the role of school transition supports and kindergarten students’ transition challenges on their short-and long-term achievement and socioemotional well-being.

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Stephanie Navarro

Stephanie Navarro

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Stephanie Navarro (she/her) is a first-year doctoral student in the School Psychology graduate program at the University of Houston. She is originally from the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at the University of Texas RGV in 2019. It was in her hometown where her research interests in Latinx child development developed. Her immediate family includes herself, her older brother, and her parents. Like most families from the RGV, her parents were born outside the U.S and only speak Spanish. They also did not attend college. Due to their different experiences, her parents were not always able to help or advise her to become the person she is now. As a younger sister, she believe her older brother’s successful endeavors were salient in her development since she found herself emulating him in school, shaping her future goals. For these reasons, she is interested in examining familial and cultural influences on children’s socio-emotional development. As a first-generation college educated Latina, she is committed to assessing these influences among Latinx populations to narrow research and psychological care gaps.

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Zina Noel

Zina Noel

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Zina Noel (she/they) is a pre-doctoral graduate student and IES fellow in the Human Development and Social Policy program at Northwestern University. Drawing from her international policy and early educator background, Zina explores the intersection of early childhood development and civic society by studying interactions between public and social institutions and young children, their families, and their communities. Zina's research currently centers on the identity development processes for mixed preschoolers, first-time parents, and early educators and how these identities influence and are influenced by the U.S. family and child policy environment. 

Zina is also deeply interested in developing interdisciplinary collaborations and community-based research partnerships that seek to bridge emergent developmental science, family and child policy, and the day-to-day of raising a young child in America. Previously, Zina worked in research, policy, and strategy development for various educational organizations and initiatives in the U.S. and abroad. She earned a master's in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, a post-bac certificate from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and a bachelor's degree from Lewis and Clark College.

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Diane C. Placide

Diane C. Placide

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Diane C. Placide is a first-year Applied Developmental Psychology doctoral student committed to empowering Black populations through research, promotion of educational equity, and ethnic awareness. Her research interest in Ethnic Identity development, academic achievement, and Colorism, particularly among Black populations, is foundational to her goals to advocate for improved educational policy and ethnic identity development in schools. Diane’s research experience includes co-presenting at the 2018 Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) Conference on a study titled “Ethnic identity, decision making, and academic success.” This study explored psychosocial factors associated with ethnic identity development for African American college students attending a historically Black university. She also assisted with writing a manuscript “The psychosocial aspects of ethnic identity development among African American college students. ” It is published in the Journal of Science and Exploratory Studies. As a current graduate student, she assists in the Children and Families, Schooling and development lab led by Dr. Susan Sonnenschein at UMBC (University of Baltimore, County). Her assistance has earned her a second opportunity to co-present at the 2022 EPA’s annual conference. Her master’s thesis will analyze whether college students’ ethnic identity moderates the relationship between parent academic socialization and academic outcomes: GPA and academic efficacy.

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Erika Lisette Roach

Erika Lisette Roach

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Erika Roach is a rising third-year doctoral student in Clinical Science at UC Berkeley. She received both her B.A. in Psychology and Human Biology and her M.A. in Psychology from Stanford University. At UC Berkeley, she works under the mentorship of Dr. Qing Zhou in the Family & Culture Lab. Erika's research interests focus on emotion, stress, and developmental psychopathology. Specifically, her work aims to elucidate the relationships between race and culture-related stress, emotional processes, and mental health in youth and their families. Prior to beginning her Ph.D., she served as Associate Director of the Office for Inclusion, Belonging, and Intergroup Communication at Stanford, taught in the university's Department of Psychology, and managed youth mental health community outreach efforts at Stanford's Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing.

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Carlos Roryver Sanchez

Carlos Roryver Sanchez

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Carlos Roryver Sanchez was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, where he completed much of his elementary education. At the age of nine, he immigrated to Miami, Florida, to continue his education and ultimately earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Florida International University (FIU) in 2019. His early experiences set into motion a path of resilience and, over time, appreciation for individual differences within human socialization, which aligns with his research interests and long-term career goals. Carlos is currently a clinical psychology student at Texas Tech University. His research interests include investigating factors that influence social wellness among children, especially in terms of their relationships. He is also interested in understanding how different risk and protective factors may contribute to outcomes associated with peer victimization. Lastly, Carlos is interested in examining methods to improve intervention programs for victimized youths.

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Tracy Zehner

Tracy Zehner

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Tracy Zehner is a doctoral student in Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University, under the advisement of Dr. Sara Schmitt. After earning her bachelor’s from the University of Illinois and master’s from the University of Hartford in music education, her professional career from 2008-2020 was spent working in public schools in Illinois, Connecticut, and Indiana as an elementary music teacher. She was active on social-emotional learning (SEL) committees at each school she taught, which led her to pursue a Ph.D. where she researches the mechanisms underlying children’s self-regulation and social skills and the implications these skills have on student success. She is interested in designing and evaluating early childhood self-regulation and culturally sensitive social-emotional learning (SEL) interventions that would help reduce academic risk for children entering school as well as the differential outcomes of these interventions. Her long-term goals include establishing research-practitioner partnerships with schools and state agencies regarding children’s social-emotional well-being and working with preservice teachers in equipping them with resources and strategies to educate children while implementing self-regulatory and SEL practices in the classroom. Outside of her Ph.D. program, she enjoys teaching piano and seeking adventure with her husband and three children.

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Mentors

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Stephen Chen

Stephen Chen

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Stephen Chen is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Wellesley College, where he directs the Culture and Family Development Lab and teach courses in Asian American Psychology, Cultural Psychology, and a seminar on Culture and Emotion. He completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at UC Berkeley and his clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at UC San Francisco. Prior to graduate school, he worked for six years as a K-12 counselor and administrator at an international school in Shanghai, China. His research examines how culture and family processes influence mental health and development across the lifespan. One line of investigation examines the interplay of emotion, language, and self-regulation in the development and well-being of Asian American immigrant families. A related line of investigation examines children's developing concepts of social status and social mobility and their effects on socioemotional well-being. Within SRCD, he has previously served as a mentor and program director of the Millennium Scholars Program, and currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Asian Caucus and the Teaching Committee. He is an Editorial Board member for Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and the Asian American Journal of Psychology.

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Perla B. Gámez

Perla B. Gámez

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Perla B. Gámez is an Associate Professor of developmental psychology at Loyola University Chicago. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Gámez leads a program of research focused on the language and literacy development of bilingual children (also referred to as dual language learners, English learners). Her current research examines how variations in the features of language that children are exposed to at home and in school impact their language and literacy skills (Spanish, English). Currently, her work is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Her work has been funded by the William T. Grant Foundation and the National Science Foundation. She also received a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship and an Institute for Education Sciences Dissertation Year Fellowship. Dr. Gámez’s teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students has earned her the Sujack Award for Teaching Excellence at Loyola University. 

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Melinda A. Gonzales-Backen

Melinda A. Gonzales-Backen

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Melinda A. Gonzales-Backen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Florida State University. She earned a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Arizona and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Family and Human Development at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on the individual and joint contributions of cultural, familial, and developmental processes influence adolescent adjustment among Latinx adolescents, and she has published over 30 academic articles on this topic. Currently, she is an associate editor at Developmental Psychology and a member of the editorial boards at the Journal of Youth and Adolescence and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. As a Latina first-generation college student, her academic career has been supported by mentoring programs and supportive mentors each step of the way. As such, she is passionate about mentoring future developmental scientists from historically under-resourced backgrounds. During her time at FSU, she has chaired seven doctoral supervisory committees, three master’s supervisory committees, and been a member of numerous others. She has participated in several mentoring programs at FSU and through national organizations, including serving as co-chair of the Undergraduate Scholars Program at the 2022 Society for Research on Adolescence.

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Rachel Gordon

Rachel Gordon

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Rachel A. Gordon is Professor of Sociology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Gordon’s research broadly examines contextual, social, and policy factors that affect children and families. Her current intellectual pursuits aim to develop sustainable approaches for continuous measure improvement that engage multiple stakeholders in culturally sustaining co-creation. Throughout her career, she has studied early child care and education, parental employment, multigenerational families, neighborhood dynamics, youth peer groups, and appearance-related identity cues. Her research has been funded by numerous sources including IES, NIH, and NSF. She is the author of two textbooks (Regression Analysis for the Social Sciences; Applied Statistics for the Social and Health Sciences, both published by Routledge) and has published her research in leading academic journals including the American Journal of Evaluation, Child Development, Criminology, Demography, Developmental Psychology, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Journal of Marriage and Family, and Journal of Research on Adolescence. Trained as a developmental scientist and public policy scholar, Gordon works at the intersection of academic research and social policy, exemplified by directing the Illinois Family Impact Seminars for a decade.

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Brenda Jones Harden

Brenda Jones Harden

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Brenda Jones Harden is the Alison Richman Professor for Children and Families, at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She directs the Prevention and Early Adversity Research Laboratory, where she and her research team examine the development of young children who have experienced early adversity, such as poverty and trauma. A particular focus is preventing maladaptive outcomes in these populations through early childhood programs. She has conducted numerous evaluations of such programs, including early care and education, home visiting services, and parenting interventions. Dr. Jones Harden uses research to improve the quality and effectiveness of child and family services and to inform child and family policy, especially in the areas of home visiting, early care and education, and child welfare. She has served as an SRCD Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and has mentored many SRCD policy fellows since that time. She is currently the President of the Board at Zero to Three, and serves on various federal, state, and local advisory boards. She received a PhD in developmental and clinical psychology from Yale University and a Master’s in Social Work from New York University. 

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Fantasy T. Lozada

Fantasy T. Lozada

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Dr. Fantasy T. Lozada is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University where she is the director of the School, Home, and Internet contexts of EmotionaL Development (SHIELD) Lab. She completed her Ph.D. in Lifespan Developmental Psychology at North Carolina State University and postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context. Her work explores the interplay of culture, race, and emotions within parenting socialization practices and indicators of socioemotional competence among Black and Brown families across cultural contexts. Her current research projects include (1) Action Research Teams for Culturally Responsive Teaching among middle and high school teachers, (2) Understanding emotional code-switching among African American youth, and (3) YPAR methods for investigating race, emotion, and positive youth development. Her work can be found in various academic journals including: Child Development, Emotion Review, Journal of Black Psychology, and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

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Alan Meca

Alan Meca

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Alan Meca is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology in the University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his Ph.D. in Developmental Science from Florida International University in 2014 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Miami. Broadly, his expertise is in identity development, acculturation, cultural stress, and positive youth development. Although his research has focused broadly on identity development, most of his work has been on cultural identity development and acculturation among ethnic/racial minority youth, particularly among Hispanic/Latinx populations. Towards this end, his research agenda has focused on identity development and cultural stressors and their effects on health risk behaviors, mental health, and educational achievement. In pursuit of this research agenda, he has published over 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts focused on personal, ethnic/racial, and national identity and on the cultural dynamics among Latinx families. Currently, his research agenda is focused on refining measures of cultural identity, understanding the processes that govern how ethnic/racial minority navigate their cultural environment (e.g., code-switching, cultural frame switching), and identifying ways we can support youth experiencing cultural stressors such as discrimination, bicultural stress, and negative context of reception.

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Misaki Natsuaki

Misaki Natsuaki

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Misaki N. Natsuaki, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at University of California, Riverside. Originally from Japan and raised in Belgium and the US, she received her BA and MA from International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, and her Ph.D. in Human Development from University of California, Davis. She held a postdoctoral appointment at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota.

Guided by the developmental psychopathology framework, Dr. Natsuaki’s research emphasizes the importance of biology-context interplay in understanding the development of (mal)adjustment during the transition from childhood to adolescence. In particular, she examines how, why, and for whom puberty is linked to youths’ psychological health. Her research suggests that the effect of puberty must be understood in the contexts in which it occurs. The recent project is an interdisciplinary study of acne – a neglected hallmark of adolescence – and mental health. Dr. Natsuaki is part of the investigative team of the Early Growth and Development Study, a longitudinal adoption project that follows adoptees and their birth and adoptive families from birth to now adolescence. The project aims to unpack family influences on child development by attending to both biological and environmental mechanisms underlying the growth and changes of family members.

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Leoandra Onnie Rogers

Leoandra Onnie Rogers

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Loeandra Onnie Rogers is an Assistant Professor of psychology and faculty fellow for the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) at Northwestern University where she directs and the Development of Identities in Cultural Environments (D.I.C.E) research lab. Trained as a developmental psychologist and identity scholar, Rogers is interested in the mechanisms through which macro-level structures of inequality are both perpetuated and disrupted at the micro-level of identities and relationships. Her projects examine how children and adolescents make sense of their racial, ethnic and gender identities; how cultural ideologies and stereotypes shape the development and intersectionality of these identities; and the ways in which multiple identities influence social-emotional and academic outcomes. Rogers received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and holds a BA in psychology and educational studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

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Jingjing Sun

Jingjing Sun

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Jingjing Sun's research has centered on children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development in middle childhood with an emphasis to reduce inequity among racially and ethnically minoritized children. In particular, she is interested in examining how learning and development unfold during collaborative dialogue. The privilege to work with Indigenous communities in the Flathead Nation, as well as schools in urban and rural settings in both China and the United States, has profoundly shaped her research agenda. Collaborating with community members and interdisciplinary colleagues, her work examines the impact of broader ecological systems, such as culture, land, community and tribal sovereignty, on learning and students’ social and emotional development. Further, she have expanded this research to examine teacher learning and wellbeing as they engage in extended professional development embedded within critical group reflections. She specializes in designing mixed-methods research to understand child development from different strands of data. She is grateful for having participated in many early-career scholar training programs, including an AERA-SRCD Early Career Research Fellowship and a prestigious Early-Stage Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health. These opportunities have significantly advanced her career development. She is committed to giving back and supporting future early-career scholars.