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.
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
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.
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
“I am honored to be chosen as a Promising Scholar by the Foundation. This program offers an incredible opportunity to continue to develop my line of research, to build relationships with scholars working in other disciplines, and to gain new skills. I look forward to continuing to develop my research agenda to better understand how to best support diverse populations of early childhood educators, working in varied auspices of care, in the identification and inclusion of young children with developmental needs and/or disabilities. Including the voices, perspectives, and experiences of early childhood educators in the design of professional learning experiences is key to building truly responsive systems of early childhood professional education.”
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
“I am honored to be chosen as a Promising Scholar. I appreciate the opportunity to strengthen my research skills, hone my focus on supporting the home-based child care workforce, and connect with others who conduct implementation research in early care and education.”
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
“I am honored to be chosen for the Foundation’s Promising Scholars Program, which will strengthen my research and grant writing skills! My research is committed to disrupting the generational harm associated with biased and inequitable teaching. As a Promising Scholar, I look forward to the networking and mentoring opportunities and exploring how my research can inform early childhood policy.”
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
“I am genuinely honored to be selected as one of the Foundation’s Promising Scholars. As a champion for social justice and an advocate for historically marginalized children and families, I am committed to advancing equity through early care and education. This program will support me in this endeavor by strengthening my research and grant writing skills and connecting me with like-minded scholars and researchers.”
Sheresa Boone Blanchard, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Human Development &
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
“I am elated to be chosen as a Promising Scholar because the program will provide support to help me hone my skills and become a stronger researcher. The possibility of digging into my research area to uncover systemic barriers in the pipeline of early educators of color has an enormous potential of impacting the lives of early educators in my state and beyond and rippling into lives of their young children and family partners for generations.”
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
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Foundation’s Promising Scholars Program! As a Promising Scholar, I will be afforded networking and mentoring opportunities that will strengthen my research agenda. I look forward to participating in the program and learning ways to reduce inequitable learning opportunities between white and racially minoritized children.”
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
“I am so honored to be part of the Promising Scholars Program at the Foundation! I look forward to cultivating relationships with an amazing inter-disciplinary group of scholars who are committed to doing equitable research. This pandemic has magnified the essential role that the early childhood workforce plays in our economy, yet they are not always ‘seen’ or ‘heard.’ This opportunity will allow me to sharpen my research skills and learn from and with others so that my research can inform local policies to elevate the early childhood workforce.”
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
“I am excited to be a part of the Foundation’s Promising Scholars Program because it will provide an opportunity to connect with mentors in my interest area and strengthen both my research and grant writing skills as an early career scholar.”
Jayanti Owens, Ph.D.
Senior Assistant Professor, International and Public Affairs and Sociology
Research Interest Area: Racial/ethnic disparities in elementary school disciplinary practices and professional development methods to reduce bias in teaching and disciplinary practices
“I’m so excited to be part of this incredible group of multidisciplinary, policy-oriented scholars who care deeply about improving the lives of young children. I look forward to learning from and with the talented researchers and practitioners that the Foundation will be bringing together.”
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
“I am so honored to be included in the Foundation for Child Development’s new Promising Scholars program. I believe participation in the program will strengthen my research agenda and provide helpful opportunities for professional growth, networking, and mentorship. I look forward to taking part in the program and am greatly appreciative for this opportunity and honor.”
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
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Foundation’s Promising Scholars Program. At a time when it seems like the rest of our nation is finally realizing how critical our early care and education workforce is, it is exciting to be a part of a community that is already actively working to build capacity, increase diversity, and create effective systems to support these essential members of our society.”