The Foundation for Child Development’s Promising Scholars were Young Scholars Program applicants who demonstrated strong potential to conduct rigorous high-quality implementation research focused on the early care and education workforce. Over the course of their professional development year, they will receive resources and supports to assist in further refining their research skills and knowledge. The Foundation is proud to invest in their scholarship.

2023 Promising Scholars (Cohort 4)

Jessica Amsbary, Ph.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Education
UNC Chapel Hill

Research Interest Area: Investigating ECE providers in early intervention as they implement evidence-based practices for toddlers with Autism and their families

“I am so grateful and honored to be a recipient of this award and to capitalize on the opportunity for continued professional development in meeting my goals as a researcher and scholar. Continuing to study methodology, including implementation science frameworks, principles, and practices, can strengthen my abilities to truly contribute to closing the research-to-practice gap in early intervention.”

Erica Coates, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Clinical Psychiatry
Georgetown University Medical Center

Research Interest Area: Parents’ and teachers’ discrimination experiences and ethnic-racial socialization practices, young Black children’s development, and culturally specific interventions

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as a Promising Scholar! I look forward to working with mentors over the next year to advance my professional development and strengthen my grant writing skills. I am also excited to join a network of amazing scholars dedicated to supporting young children’s optimal development.”

Andrew Gadaire, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor
Psychology Department
Davidson College

Research Interest Area: Developing accessible career pathways in early childhood education for emergent bilingual and immigrant teachers to promote equity for dual language learners

“I am honored and excited to participate in the Promising Scholars Program. I look forward to connecting with talented researchers and practitioners doing impactful work related to early care and education. I am also excited to receive support and mentorship to strengthen my capacity to conduct action-oriented research that promotes equitable systems and equitable outcomes for diverse children and families.”

Natalia Rojas, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Population Health.
NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Research Interest Area: Collaborating with educators in understanding and developing planned language approaches for emergent bilingual learners

“I am thrilled and honored to be chosen as an FCD Promising Scholar. The Promising Scholar Program offers an incredible opportunity to continue developing my research line, build relationships with other scholars, and strengthen my skills. I look forward to the numerous opportunities this award will provide me as I seek to advance equity through my early care and education research.”

2022 Promising Scholars (Cohort 3)

Katherine K. Delaney, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, Department of Teacher Education
University of Toledo

Research Interest Area: Supporting early childhood educators’ professional practices to facilitate access to and utilization of early intervention evaluation and services for children with potential developmental delays and disabilities, and their families Read More.

Alison Hooper, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction
The University of Alabama

Research Interest Area: Understanding and supporting the relative child care provider workforce and their participation in child care subsidy and professional development systems Read More.

Naomi Jessup, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Georgia State University

Research Interest Area: Critical examination of equity-oriented teaching practices and professional development methods to support equitable, culturally responsive discourse in math instruction with historically marginalized children Read More.

2021 Promising Scholars (Cohort 2)

Tameka N. Ardrey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Birth-Kindergarten Teacher Education
Georgia Southern University

Research Interest Area: Professional development strategies that effectively support teachers in creating and sustaining equitable high-quality and culturally-affirming early learning environments Read More.

Sheresa Boone Blanchard, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Human Development & 
Family Science
East Carolina University

Research Interest Area: Identifying and addressing gaps in the pipeline of early educators of color and in rural areas related to educational preparation, attainment, and licensure Read More.

Kamilah Legette, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology 
University of Denver

Research Interest Area: Racial/ethnic disparities in children’s academic group placement, discipline experiences, and professional development methods to reduce teachers’ racially biased decisions Read More.

Cristina Medellin, Ph.D.

Career Development Coordinator, New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute 
The City University of New York

Research Interest Area: Examining the systems and structures that support the early childhood workforce through professional development and stackable credentials for Latinx family child care providers Read More.

2020 Promising Scholars (Cohort 1)

Tia N. Barnes,  Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Sciences 
University of Delaware

Research Interest Area: Professional development training and coaching in inclusive preschool classrooms to improve teacher-assistant teacher collaboration Read More.

Jayanti Owens,  Ph.D.

Senior Assistant Professor, International and Public Affairs and Sociology 
Brown University

Research Interest Area: Racial/ethnic disparities in elementary school disciplinary practices and professional development methods to reduce bias in teaching and disciplinary practices Read More.

Margaret F. Quinn,  Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Child and Family Studies 
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Research Interest Area: Supporting preschool teachers in the promotion of children’s early writing skills using an online professional development platform Read More.

Katherine Zinsser,  Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Community and Prevention Research Program
Department of Psychology
University of Illinois at Chicago

Research Interest Area: Teacher preparation models to better support children’s social-emotional learning and continued validation of a classroom observational measure of emotion-centered teaching practices Read More.