Jennifer Renick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am a doctoral student in the School of Education specializing in Human Development in Context (HDiC). I graduated with honors from Pitzer College in 2015 with my BA in Community Mental Health: Schools and Youth. After graduating, I worked for Promesa Boyle Heights as their Community School-Achievement Coordinator at Hollenbeck Middle School. My current research interests include adolescents’ sense of school belonging, factors that impact positive school climate for traditionally marginalized youth, and community engaged research methods.
Fun fact: I attended an arts high school as a part of the school’s theater conservatory.
Joanna Yau <email@example.com>
I am a doctoral student at UCI’s School of Education specializing in Learning, Cognition, and Development. My research focuses on how adolescents use technology-mediated communication to meet their developmental needs of intimacy and identity exploration. I use both qualitative and quantitative methods to study patterns of interaction and behavior norms across a variety of platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I am also interested in the effects of e-books on reading development in preschoolers. I received my B.A. in psychology and a minor in sports media studies from the University of Southern California.
Fun fact: I am an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes, both the books and the BBC series.
Jennifer Cabrera <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am a first-year doctoral student in the Human Development in Context discipline in the School of Education at UCI. I received my B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development with a minor in Psychology at the California State University, Northridge where I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2017. As an undergraduate student, I was introduced to research exploring the relationship between peer social interactions, self-presentation, and self-esteem among young adults from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Specifically, I focused on exploring peer relationships among adolescents via social media and how their expressed identities shaped who they became both online and offline. My current research focuses on the social support received by underrepresented women of color in academia.
Fun Fact: My first job was in middle school as a balloon artist which means I know how to make balloon figures! Anything as simple as a dog to something as complex as a Super Mario. My favorite, however, is balloon party decor (balloon columns, centerpieces, or arches).
Melissa Dahlin <email@example.com>
I am a doctoral student in the School of Education specializing in Human Development in Context and Education Policy and Social Context. This is my third round of study at UCI (zot, zot!) – I received my BA in History and took my teaching credential coursework here. I taught internationally for five years.. Following this I received an MA in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and then worked in national early education policy for several years. My experience in teaching, policy, and research have informed my interest in all things early childhood. My main interests are how home numeracy environments shape children’s math trajectories, the connection between programs and families, and early education workforce development.
Fun fact: I intended to live in Taiwan for a year but wound up staying for five years!
Wendy Ochoa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wendy Ochoa is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education at UC Irvine with a specialization in Human Development in Context. Wendy’s experience of being raised by two-hard working and loving immigrant, Mexican parents who did not often have access to the resources they needed to optimize her and her sibling’s learning shaped her research interests. She is interested in understanding the contextual and demographic factors that relate to the development of children from diverse families, such as SES, race/ethnicity, and parenting. Moreover, she aims to use this research to provide low-income and linguistically diverse parents of young children with a set of culturally sensitive tools that empowers and supports them in fostering their children’s academic success and socio-emotional wellbeing. Her dissertation studies focus on investigating the role of smartphones and tablets on the quality of caregiver-child interactions, and on understanding the ways in which socioeconomically and linguistically diverse Latino mothers and fathers use this technology, along with their attitudes and beliefs about the ways in which it supports and or hinders their parenting and children’s learning. Findings will be used to inform future efforts that seek to use mobile screen technologies as a tool to enhance parenting practices and children’s learning among diverse Latino families.
Fun Fact: I’m not sure I have any facts that would be considered fun about myself, but I do enjoy to joke around and laugh, especially in Spanish 🙂
Jessica Oviatt <email@example.com>
Jessica is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education’s Human Development in Context (HDiC). Her research interests include the effects of chronic illness and treatments on academic success, peer development, and school connectedness. She is also interested in examining how parents of youth with a chronic condition teach their children to manage their own health in adulthood and prepare them for transitioning to adult care. She received her B.A. in Biology, cum laude, from Truman State University. She also earned a M.A. in Human Development and Family Studies and MEd with emphasis in Health Education and Promotion from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Jessica worked at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) as a certified child life specialist for six years, providing children and families with education and support during their hospitalization.
Maritza Morales-Gracia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am a doctoral student in the School of Education at UCI with a specialization in Education Policy in Social Context and Human Development in Context (EPSC/HDiC), graduate minor in Chicanx/Latinx Studies. I earned my master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and received dual Bachelor’s in Psychology and Human Development (Child Development Emphasis) from California State University, San Bernardino. My research interest have been shaped by my previous work as a researcher within the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center, The National Center for Children and Families, and the Neurocognition, Early Experience, and Development (NEED) Lab. Additionally, my personal bicultural/bilingual upbringing further motivate my research interest in anti-poverty policy, parenting, child development, and educational equity. Through my research I aim to effectively advocate for—and inform evidence-based family policies as a means to increase upward mobility and to lessen-poverty related disparities within Latinx families.
Fun Fact: I used to be a Theatre Arts-Dance major and traveled to Surin, Thailand to represent the U.S.A in an annual International Folklore dance festival, now I enjoy taking Salsa and Bachata dance classes as part of my self-care routine!