Ph.D. in Education, 2016
School of Education
October 1, 2012
Studies Parental Interactions with Children in the Earliest Years of Life
Elizabeth Miller is a second year Ph.D. student in the School of Education specializing in Educational Policy and Social Context. Her research interests include looking at parental interactions with children in the earliest years of life, and how these interactions, combined with high quality early care and education, can contribute to positive socio-emotional development and academic achievement. She is also interested in strengthening the pathways between research, policy, and practice in education.
Elizabeth’s research interests in education began as an undergraduate in Columbia University, where she majored in economics. While there, she took a course on the “Economics of Education” in which she needed to write an educational policy brief on any issue of her choosing. Because her mother was a New York City kindergarten special education teacher in the Bronx, Elizabeth decided to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of elementary inclusive education.
It was a fascinating experience in which I saw firsthand the disjoint between what academics were writing about inclusion and the way it was being carried out in NYC classrooms.
While a senior at Columbia, Elizabeth continued pursuing her interest in education with a microeconomics seminar on poverty and inequality and wrote her final paper analyzing the relationship between poverty and educational attainment in New York City’s Region 1 concentrated in the Bronx.
After obtaining her B.A., Elizabeth decided to continue her studies surrounding education policy. She attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she received her masters in education specializing in Education Policy and Management. There she honed her interests in early care and education in particular and studied a host of social policy issues including Head Start, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), Progresa-Oportunidades, immigration, and international comparisons.
After graduating from Harvard, Elizabeth served as a research assistant for New York University’s Center for Research on Culture, Development, & Education (CRCDE) headed by Professors Catharine Tamis-LeMonda and Hiro Yoshikawa. There she was part of a longitudinal research study on emergent literacy among low-income Mexican, African-American, and Dominican children in New York City. A poster presentation on this work was presented at Society for Research in Child Development’s (SRDC) 2011 Biennial Meeting in Montreal, Canada.
From there, she worked at the Center for Early Care & Education at Bank Street College of Education, assisting the director with CDA trainings for Head Start, Early Head Start, and nursery school care givers. Through her work at Bank Street, she visited various New York City child care centers, forming close relationships with directors and care givers alike.
In this context as well, I once again saw the disjoint between what academics defined as developmental milestones and age-appropriate curriculum and what was being taught in child care centers.
Elizabeth decided to pursue a doctorate in education to really delve into her interests and promote greater understanding among the early care and education community at large. Currently she is a graduate student researcher (GSR) for the Irvine Network on Interventions in Development (INID)’s P01 grant on Human Capital Interventions across Childhood and Adolescence. She works closely with Professors George Farkas, Deborah Vandell, and Greg Duncan on Project I – Early Childhood Programs, and is presently collaborating with them on a study of parental pre-academic stimulation and Head Start using the Head Start Impact Study. Elizabeth hopes to submit this manuscript for publication in the next few weeks and feels incredibly grateful to have received hands-on guidance with her project.
As a new resident to the west coast, Elizabeth enjoys exploring California with her high school sweetheart and husband of 15 months, Jonathan. While enjoying their new environment, they still long for the best of New York – bagels, pizza, public transportation, and the Yankees & Giants.