The Foundation for Child Development’s Promising Scholars were Young Scholars Program applicants who demonstrated exceptional 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.

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 & 
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

“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.

NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellow, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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

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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

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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

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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.”