Tufts University, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development

Eliot-Pearson’s Ongoing Commitment to Young Children

(This report was requested by the editor – to address alumni concerns that Eliot-Pearson might not be as committed to serving young children as it has been in the past.  As this report indicates, that commitment is alive and well today; it just shows itself differently.)

From its inception, Eliot-Pearson has maintained a strong commitment to and been a leader in the field of early childhood education. Young children are the reason for our existence, and early childhood education has always been an important signature, if not always the centerpiece, of the department. Throughout our history, we have sought to both prepare and support early childhood teachers and provide developmentally appropriate learning experiences to young children. As our department has grown, so too have our efforts to be responsive to the changing landscape of children and families served in early childhood settings across our country and around the world. Today, our focus on early childhood, as a critical period of human development, includes our efforts to: develop evidence-based curricula; create community-based research partnerships with entire systems that provide services to young children and their families; provide in-service support and professional development to teachers in urban public schools; deliver direct prek-2nd grade education through our Children’s School; as well as prepare professionals across a wide range of early childhood careers, including advocacy, health and human services, children’s media, applied research, administration, and policy. Though we no longer provide an early childhood teacher licensing program, our continued commitment to promoting an early childhood agenda, particularly centered on equity in education and opportunity, has not diminished and continues to thrive.

In this article, we hope to share with you highlights of our early childhood work and, in turn, hope that you will share our enthusiasm for continuing to positively influence the early childhood field both locally and nationally. We discuss our work in five different areas – all having to do with young children.

School Readiness

One area in which Eliot-Pearson efforts have been focused is on understanding how best to support children’s school readiness and the readiness of schools for young children. Tufts Interdisciplinary Evaluation Research (TIER; http://ase.tufts.edu/tier/) is conducting an evaluation of United Way’s Summer Learning Collaborative (SLC), an initiative which focuses on decreasing “summer slide” for young elementary school students. School readiness is also the topic of a study titled “Preschool, Family, and Community among Mexican Immigrants” conducted by EP faculty. This study examined factors that lead children from Mexican immigrant families to be enrolled in preschools, and their subsequent school readiness.  The goal of this project was to understand possible actions to increase access to early educational opportunities for children of Mexican immigrants. Moroever, Project RISE (Readiness Through Integrative Science and Engineering; http://rise.as.tufts.edu/), a curriculum development and research project which focuses on dual-language learners served by Head Start, is creating science, technology, and engineering (STE) curriculum and professional development resources for preschool teachers that build their confidence and practice concerning STE. Preschool teachers know that young children have an innate motivation to explore the world, figure out how it works, and make interesting things happen. In the RISE project, EP faculty acknowledge that as adults, we honor children by nurturing their natural curiosity and exploration, not just because it helps children get ready for school, but also because it shows them that their interests matter.

Parent-Child Relationships

Eliot-Pearson has a special focus on understanding and strengthening parent-child relationships in early childhood – as seen in its several applied research and direct service initiatives. The Tufts Interdisciplinary Evaluation Research (TIER) team uses evaluation of local programs to support parents and children in early childhood, by helping programs improve practices as well as increase understanding in the field at large. For the last decade, TIER has been following the Healthy Family Massachusetts newborn home visiting program, and is now gathering data on children as they begin school. TIER has followed many of these families since before the birth of their children, and now looks to the parent particpants and their five-, six-, and seven-year-olds for data on parenting, children’s social emotional well-being, and executive function. Additionally, TIER is working with Smart from the Start to develop and implement a program evaluation. Smart from the Start serves families with children 0 to five years by providing resources for family support, community engagement, and school readiness. Work from the TIER team has been published in the American Journal of Public Health and The Journal of Adolescent Research, among others, and has increased understanding in the field about child maltreatment, the role of parental trauma, and the diversity of experiences of young parents.

Parent-child relationships are also central to Project RISE. RISE supports teachers to engage with parents, learning from parents as true experts on their children and communities. The Home School Collaboration component of RISE supports parents to contribute to their children’s classroom by sharing their knowledge through discussion groups and joint activities with teachers, and by creating strong relationships between programs, families and curriculum that brings children’s out-of-school contexts into the classroom.

At the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School (EPCS; https://ase.tufts.edu/epcs/), the focus on parent-child relationships goes beyond the community of the school’s families to include collaboration with Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. EPCS contributed to a conference at Fletcher that featured immigrant families, specifically, how to support families through policy and practice. EPCS also works with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, contributing valuable information about families and providing trainings and leadership development. Reaching far beyond the Tufts community and the local community, the school invites international educators, most recently from South Africa, Ethiopia, Singapore, and China, to visit the school to learn about early childhood, anti-bias education, and building an inclusive school community.

The Ensuring eXperiences for Children’s Early Learning Success (EXCELS; http://ase.tufts.edu/epcshd/mcwayne/excelslab/) Research Team's work is about fostering better understandings of the early social and learning successes of young children growing up in urban poverty by understanding more about the adult supports available to children in their homes and classrooms (i.e., parents, teachers). The EXCELS team seeks to learn from parents about their conceptualizations of parenting strengths through parent conversation groups, individual interviews, and videotaped observations of interactions with their children. The EXCELS team has developed new tools to assess parenting and family engagement that are strengths-based and grounded in the beliefs and values of parents and their communities. As the team members learn more about positive parenting across communities, they are learning more about how we can influence positive outcomes for children, like school readiness. To date, the EXCELS lab has created family engagement measures in both Spanish and English and has developed strengths-based tools to understand positive parenting among socioculturally diverse families.  These tools have been published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Early Education and Development, Journal of Family Psychology, and Developmental Psychology and are being used by others in the field to document family strengths in relation to children’s early school success.

Developing and Creating New Materials

Eliot-Pearson is developing and creating new materials to encourage developmentally appropriate use of technology for young children. The Evelyn G. Pitcher Curriculum Resource Lab (http://ase.tufts.edu/pitcherCurriculumLab/) serves as a community gathering site for both the Tufts community and the local community where educators come together to design, refine, and disseminate new practices and tools to support young children’s learning. For example, students at varying levels in the department are creating early childhood science kits to loan to teachers, and working with experts to develop both the kits and the accompanying Spanish-English guides. In addition, DevTech (http://ase.tufts.edu/devtech/) has recently created a makerspace in the Curriculum Resource Lab. This new space is packed with materials and ideas to encourage children and educators to explore technology and create new projects, including a digital design studio and programming and robotic tools. This also serves as a space for the Tufts community to pilot new resources, such as a child-friendly vacuum former and an electricity kit. It is open to be investigated by all, and children from EPCS enjoy this space as part of their collaboration with DevTech. The lab regularly partners with early childhood educators to develop their practice and share their work as a resource for others.

DevTech has also developed two early childhood technologies that support young children’s learing how to program: ScratchJr and KIBO Robotics. Recently, DevTech has focused on disseminating these technologies, translating the ScratchJr app into 20 languages, holding professional development workshops and family days, and conducting studies across different populations, including families with children on the autism spectrum. DevTech is also working on a project to develop new technologies to teach young children biological engineering concepts. Other projects focus on expanding positive uses of technology, while mitigating and understanding any negative effects. In one project, students are developing STEM apps for infants and young children, as well as programs to increase communication between parents and pediatricians. Other students are investigating the guidelines about screen time from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and considering if Eliot-Pearson could write its own set of guidelines. In addition, EP faculty recently published a book, entitled, Debating Early Child Care: The Relationship between Developmental Science and the Media (Cambridge University Press), a book which examines not just the science behind child care, but also the ways messages are transmitted to parents, including recommendations to bridge the gap between scientists and the media. 

In-Service Teacher Professional Development

Eliot-Pearson provides opportunities for professional development and support for in-service teachers. In addition to the makerspace and technology supportive activities mentioned above, the Pitcher Curriculum Lab has been organizing professional development around mindfulness, to bring attention to the benefits for self-regulation and stress management among teachers and students. In the past two years, more than 150 local teachers and staff have been trained in mindfulness through the Curriculum Lab, and many participate in monthly mindfulness meet-ups. Based on the success of this program, the curriculum lab is piloting a Level 2 course to build the capacity of teachers as mindfulness-trainers within their own schools. The lab also hosts workshops  and institutes for the greater community on topics including “Integrating Science in PreK-2nd Grade Settings,” “Children’s Literature in the Early Childhood Classroom,” and “Project Approach in Early Childhood,” which are open to Somerville Public Schools, local non-profits, and alumni and current Tufts students.

Project RISE provides professional development through workshops, individual coaching, and peer learning communities on-site at Boston Head Start programs. For the past four years, EP faculty have been working with two programs to develop, with teachers and families, the RISE approach to supporting science, technology, and engineering inquiry in preschool classrooms and family-teacher partnerships. Beginning in the Fall 2017, RISE will be implemented across several more classrooms. To examine whether or not the RISE approach works, 90 Head Start classrooms will participate in a randomized controlled trial. Of these 90 classrooms, 45 will be selected to receive the full RISE experience., and the remaining classrooms will serve as comparisons and will go about “business as usual.”  The focus is always on the design of inquiry-based, connected sets of learning experiences that incorporate children’s out-of-school lives in meaningful ways, and teachers have the support of project staff and other teachers as they develop these skills.  

Developing EC Professionals for a Variety of Fields

Eliot-Pearson continues to develop early childhood professionals for a variety of fields. For example, students in EP’s Masters of Arts and Ph.D. programs complete fieldwork in the community. This fieldwork happens in a variety of settings, including, but not limited to: EPCS, public schools, museums, hospitals, NGOs, children’s publishing, in children’s media settings, and applied research centers. Recent MA students have completed applied internships in Applied Behavioral Analysis, Somerville’s Early Education Department, Early Intervention, and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. These students plan to continue to a wide range of careers, from policy and advocacy to direct service, in a variety of settings, from WGBH (the local PBS affiliate in Boston) to working in schools as occupational therapists. Recent PhD graduates have gone on to work in a variety of settings, including the Adminstration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, DevTech began its new Early Childhood Technology graduate certificate program in Fall 2016. This program is a blended on-line and in-person program designed to introduce developmentally appropriate and playful learning using technology in early childhood.

Continuing the Tradition

We hope that this brief report provides clear evidence that Eliot-Pearson’s hallowed tradition of serving young children lives on.  And we hope, too, that our devoted alumni will continue to take pride and satisfaction in the work we are doing – and join us in working to meet the many challenges facing families of young children today.

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the many faculty and staff in the department and in the Children's School who contributed to this piece, through their writing, interviews, and conversations.

Spring 2017 NEWS

Eliot-Pearson's Ongoing Commitment to Young Children

Fran Jacobs to Retire

Julie Dobrow Joins the EP Faculty Full-Time

Professor David Henry Feldman elected President of the Society of the Study of Human Development

Advocating for Student Success

Student Awards and Accomplishments

In Memoriam – Barbara Littman

Alumni Stories

Send Us Your Story



Throughout our history, we have sought to both prepare and support early childhood teachers and provide developmentally appropriate learning experiences to young children.




The Tufts Interdisciplinary Evaluation Research (TIER) team uses evaluation of local programs to support parents and children in early childhood, by helping programs improve practices as well as increase understanding in the field at large.




RISE supports teachers to engage with parents, learning from parents as true experts on their children and communities.




DevTech has also developed two early childhood technologies that support young children’s learning how to program: ScratchJr and KIBO Robotics.




The Evelyn G. Pitcher Curriculum Resource Lab …serves as a community gathering site for both the Tufts community and the local community where educators come together to design, refine, and disseminate new practices and tools to support young children’s learning.




Eliot-Pearson continues to develop early childhood professionals for a variety of fields.




We hope that this brief report provides clear evidence that Eliot-Pearson’s hallowed tradition of serving young children lives on.







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Fran Jacobs to Retire

Fran Jacobs

At age 21, Fran Jacobs didn’t start her post-college life thinking she would someday become a leader in the fields of child and family policy and program evaluation. She started as a teacher in a child care center — eager to serve children directly and, in the process, serve families and their communities. But life has a way of recruiting its own, and after a short stint as a teacher, Fran was moved up to direct the center — a position that brought her face-to-face with the issues she would later take on as a scholar and leader.

The main issues in those early days had to do with the inadequate set of public policies for children and the equally inadequate ways that programs for children were being evaluated. Even then, as a very young director of a large early childhood program, Fran experienced the contradiction between what she saw and admired in the poor and working families trying to make ends meet while raising small children and the paucity of policies to help those families. In her own words, Fran came to see our country’s approach to serving children and families as a “constrained, stingy posture toward its children and their parents.”

Furthermore, around this time when Fran was directing the early childhood education program, the Westinghouse report came out, a report that cast doubts on the worth of Head Start by showing that Head Start had minimal effects on raising young children’s IQ’s. Fran took the report’s claims as saying more about its inappropriate ways of evaluating and very little about the quality of Head Start — and thus began Fran’s life’s work to correct the deficiencies in the ways programs for children were being evaluated. 

Fran worked in state government, and in other early childhood settings, and then arrived at Eliot-Pearson in 1986, only for a short stint, or so she thought. More of a “hands-on, in the world” person by inclination, she had never seen herself as a professor, but Eliot-Pearson’s broad interdisciplinary approach to educating young people to “do things and make change” — its commitment to solving real problems for children…well, maybe the academy wasn’t so bad after all.

For Fran, the main deficiencies had to do with failures to evaluate the needs addressed by a program, how a program’s design is implemented, and the strengths and weaknesses of that implementation. Addressing the needs, implementation, and strengths and weaknesses would, thought Fran, help young programs develop and avoid being unfairly punished for not producing significant, long-lasting effects right away. And so, she developed a “five-tier” system for evaluating, one whose first three tiers avoid questions about outcomes and concentrate on needs, implementation, strengths and weakness, leaving the remaining two to concentrate on short- and long-term outcomes. 

In areas having to with child and family policy, Fran’s work has provided a prophetic voice in areas where children and families have not been well-served — especially those who are victims of unjust treatment by society. Indeed, just under the surface of a good deal of Fran’s policy work has been a direct and powerful message that we, as a society, have fallen far short of being just and caring.

Over the years, Fran’s writings and presentations have followed three main themes designed to help us collectively become more just and caring. The first theme has been to have our public policies reflect support that is not just child-centered but family-centered as well — by providing economic support to those in need but also by providing support for caregiving. The second theme has been to have not just policies that target a sub-group but also policies that are ‘universal’ and address the needs of all families with children. The third theme has been to have not just policies related to treating problems, but also to have policies related both to preventing  problems and promoting strengths.

Fran’s work for justice and care is also shown in her pointing out the quite damaging and unfair narratives that a good many hold to be true — for example, the narrative that parents of juveniles in the juvenile justice system are “bad” and so shouldn’t be partners in the rehabilitation process.  Such narratives not only distort the truth, they make conditions even worse for children. 

Fran’s work has, then, been about ‘real’ life, with all its drama, contradictions, and complexities. Ann Easterbrooks, Fran’s colleague and co-worker on the Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation, a long-standing project evaluating programs for teen moms writes, “Fran opened up opportunities to explore the “wonderful messiness” of natural contexts of development — homes, schools, and the range of “real life” circumstances that are not only the backdrop, but the real fabric, of development.”  “Messiness!” Not a word one generally hears used in scholarly efforts to clarify — but one that evidences the intellectual humility needed to be truthful in those endeavors.

Fran has also served the department well as a colleague taking on the collective responsibility of managing the department and, for three years, as an active and effective chair.  During her years as chair, she worked closely with the then Dean of Arts and Sciences, Susan Ernst, who writes, “I still remember our first meeting.  Fran…. went through the list of faculty and their areas of teaching and research and the centers and major projects and how they interconnected. She walked me through the undergraduate and graduate programs. It was impressive, but what impressed me most was that with each new person or unit Fran talked about, she built up a picture of a department dedicated to the betterment of the lives of children and families. In those years we worked together, that was always the guiding principle of all discussions about the department.”  Fran’s contributions in helping run the department are all the more remarkable given that, once tenured, she held a joint appointment with the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (or UEP, as it is generally referred to). Fran eventually chaired that department as well.

As for Fran’s teaching and mentoring, Judith Scott, one of Fran’s master’s students in UEP who, at Fran’s urging, became a doctoral student at Eliot-Pearson, said this about what it was like being mentored by Fran: “Fran was always in my corner, and always she found the resources to help me succeed. And once, when I was really sick, she offered to bring chicken soup to my house. Without Fran, I would never have gotten my Ph.D..” Judith recently successfully defended her dissertation and, in the Fall, will be an Assistant Professor of social work at Boston University — where she will continue to pursue her interests in program evaluation and child and family policy inspired by her mentor, Fran Jacobs.

Fran Jacobs has, then, had a profound effect on a great many – to be sure, on students and faculty but also on the members of the fields she has addressed, fields that are making a difference in the lives of children and families. We surely will miss her.



The Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development

Please take this opportunity to consider a donation to one or more of the following funds:

  • Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development General Fund
  • Eliot-Pearson Children's School Scholarship Fund for Children
  • Evelyn Pitcher Curriculum Lab Resource Fund
  • Feinburg Fund for the Arts in Child Development

Please Include Your Name, Degree, and Graduation Year.
Thank you!



The Trustees of Tufts College


Indicate your chosen fund(s) in the MEMO section on your check. Unspecified gifts will go to the Eliot-Pearson Dept. of CSHD General Fund



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co/ George Scarlett

Eliot-Pearson Dept. of CSHD
105 College Avenue
Medford, MA 02155


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Julie Dobrow Joins the Eliot-Pearson Faculty Full-Time

Julie Dobrow, Senior Lecturer

Julie Dobrow came to Tufts in 1994 – to help start a new media studies program, and every year since then, she has taught a very popular “Children and Mass Media” course as one of Eliot-Pearson’s offerings. But along the way, and heavily influenced by her raising four children of her own, she more and more focused her career on the challenges our society faces to improve the media our children are exposed to and that engage so much of our children’s time. And so, last year, Julie joined the EP faculty as a full-time Senior Lecturer — much to the delight of all.

In college, Julie got interested in sociology and anthropology — disciplines that share a common focus on understanding the inequities that come from negative portrayals and treatment by one group of another. Her graduate work enabled her to apply her training in anthropology and sociology to the study of media. And to this day, Julie has maintained that focus and heightened our awareness that from their beginnings, movies, television, and other broadcast and social media have portrayed our collective selves in skewed and unjust ways — particularly with respect to people of color, people with disabilities, people who are older, and women. For example, Julie points out that in children’s media, including television cartoons, males outnumber females at least three to one — and that, she says, is “an improvement from what it used to be!” Even in children’s media, “it’s been rare to find many characters who aren’t white, straight males, though the televisual landscape is improving.”

Furthermore, the negative stereotyping found in children’s media comes not only from how characters appear, but how they speak: those who speak with non-American dialects are often portrayed as the “bad guys.”

Julie’s work in media literacy (learning to become more careful and critical consumers and producers of media) has also helped us better appreciate that there are no easy ways to prevent children from being exposed to ‘developmentally inappropriate’ content that permeates media — but there are ways to help children navigate their way through this content.

As a researcher, Julie’s first goal has been to see what’s out there — by developing measures to provide an accurate picture of the kind of stereotyping and inequities that may be sensed by any thoughtful viewer but that need to be identified systematically in order to understand the true extent and persistence of stereotyping and inequities. And so she, fellow faculty member Chip Gidney, and their students have been developing ways to measure stereotyping and inequities in children’s media. To begin to understand why image inequalities persist in the 21st centry, they have also begun to interview media producers (including writers, directors, vocal casting directors and actors) here in Boston and in Hollywood. 

With respect to why media producers continue to produce children’s media with negative stereotypes and inequities, the interviews have established that from a  producer’s perspective, it makes sense to continue practices that “sell”. There is, then, a lot of work yet to be done to produce children’s media that can succeed without following the usual practices that leave out whole groups and that contain negative stereotyping.

As a way of shining light on media producers who make children’s content that is free from stereotypes and exemplifies positive, developmentally appropriate and education media, Julie is also responsible for creating the Eliot-Pearson Awards for Excellence in Children’s Media (affectionately known as “the Abby’s”), offered every other year. Past award winners have included some of those responsible for the development of the most important children’s television shows — including Sesame Street and Between the Lions. Award winners have also included Scratch (a software children can use to do their own programming) creator Mitchel Resnick, longtime children’s media advocate Peggy Charren and other leaders who have significantly contributed in ways other than by producing television programs for children. 

For a number of years Julie has taught both an undergraduate and graduate course on children and media in the department. This year, she added a new course that has students producing children’s media and ‘pitching’ their productions to established producers in the field. She says, “I’ve had students storyboard ads for kids, and I’ve had them find a children’s book that hasn’t been optioned and create a pitch for making it into a film; they recently finished writing an 11 minute spec episode of a television show of their own creation.” She adds that by having students develop children’s media, they often gain a deeper understanding of children’s media than if they are simply are asked to analyze children’s media — in short, to make is to know.

One of the greatest satisfactions for Julie has been having a good many of her students graduate from Tufts and go on to jobs in children’s media — either as producers or as researchers. She says, “Probably the most rewarding thing about my work at Eliot-Pearson has been seeing a whole little army of my students go off and get jobs at places like WGBH, Nickelodeon, Scholastic and Sesame Workshop”.

Eliot-Pearson has always had a broad mission to serve diverse groups of children and families. Furthermore, the broadness of its mission has allowed for important shifts in focus as the changing times demand it. In the past several decades, one such shift in focus has been because of the incredible increase in the time children spend engaged in media. The mission is, then, being well-represented by Julie Dobrow’s appointment.


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Professor David Henry Feldman

Professor David Henry Feldman at the Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development 50th anniversary celebration in 2014.

(Scott Tingley for Tufts University)


Professor David Henry Feldman Elected President of the Society of the Study of Human Development

Professor David Henry Feldman of the Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development was elected President of the Society for the Study of Human Development (SSHD), a scientific society dedicated to research and applications for human development policies and programs. "David Henry's election underscores his national recognition as an eminent development scientist and reflects the esteem in which he is held by his peers," said his colleague Professor Richard Lerner, Chair in Applied Developmental Science.

SSHD is a professional society formed by a group of scholars from multiple disciples (e.g., medicine, biology, psychology, sociology, economics, and history). The central focus of SSHD is to provide an organization that moves beyond age-segmented scholarly organizations to take an integrative, interdisciplinary approach to ages/stages across the life span, generational and ecological contexts of human development, and research and applications to human development policies and programs. SSHD currently includes over 200 members.

David Henry began serving a two-year term as President Elect in October 2015. He will serve as President from fall 2017 through fall 2019 and as Past President for the subsequent two years.

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Advocating for Student Success

Lauren Mims

Lauren Mims, M.A. 2014, appointed Assistant Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (WHIEEAA).

Lauren Mims, M.A. ‘14, has been appointed Assistant Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (WHIEEAA). Mims received her Master of Arts from … Eliot-Pearson …and is pursuing her doctorate in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science at University of Virginia’s Curry School.

The Initiative, established by President Obama’s executive order in 2012, is designed to strengthen the nation by improving the educational outcomes for African Americans of all ages and to restore the United States as a global leader in education.

Mims began her tenure at the Initiative as a summer intern and then served a fellow. As assistant director, Mims will manage the Initiative’s projects, focus on youth voices, support interagency relationships, and develop research-based publications and resources for students.

Tufts’ graduate education, says Mims, underscored the importance of rigorous evaluation of programs and research. “I keep my coursework documents from Tufts in a binder to reference the core aspects of what my professors taught,” she adds. Mims credits Associate Professor of Child Study and Human Development Tama Leventhal with providing a foundation in qualitative research that has been essential in her work…

Mims is passionate about education reform and strategies that close opportunity gaps for African American youth. African American adolescent girls, in particular, she says, “face a double jeopardy of race and gender as they must define themselves as black and as women.”  A pivotal project she undertook at Tufts helped prepare Mims for her current work. She developed, implemented, and evaluated an eight-week intervention, Girls Rising Above Circumstances to Excel (GRACE) designed to improve psychological and educational outcomes for African American high school girls with a 2.5 grade point average or lower. “The goal was to emphasize each girl’s unique identity to promote positive youth development,” says Mims.

Her thesis advisors and mentors—Associate Professor Ellen Pinderhughes, Professor Leventhal, and Karen Craddock, Ph.D. ‘07—were enthusiastic about the project. “Dr. Pinderhughes took me under her wing and provided great insight on challenges and barriers that students face, guiding me to important research and providing constant feedback on my program design and evaluation plans,” recalls Mims…. Complementing her studies with this successful real world teaching experience, says Mims, was the ultimate joy. “Through GRACE, I saw the power of meeting students where they are and highlighting their strengths. The experience underscored the importance of speaking to students and hearing their stories. “At the Initiative, we want every student to feel and know that they matter,” she explains. “Caring and concerned adults are important. None of us have gotten to where we are without somebody believing in us.”

Mims looks forward to working with individuals throughout the country to support the success of African American students. “GRACE was a small classroom,” she says. “Now, I work to support students on a national scale.”


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Student Awards and Accomplishments

Mary Buckingham will be the keynote speaker at the Saint Joseph College (SJC) Psychology Department fifth annual Undergraduate Student Symposium.

Melissa Colón received a fellowship from the office of the former Chief Diversity Officer for a pilot project linked to the Women of Color Initiative out of that office. The funding covers some of her dissertation work. 

Lisette DeSouza accepted a  Post-Doc at the Wellesley Centers for Women in the fall. This post-doc enables her to do a mix of collaborative work for the Center and initiate projects of interest for her.

Sarah Gottleib has been published for the third time as result of her internship through the Pediatric Headache Program at Boston Children's Hospital. Her latest publication is titled "Headache Tools to Stay in School: Assessment, Development, and Implementation of an Educational Guide for School Nurses."

Sarah Grill at the Graduate Research Symposium, presented "Gender-Differences in Repots about Attitudes/Beliefs about Avoiding Alcohol Use and Receipt of Clinical Guidance among Adolescents with Chronic Medical Conditions."

Elise Harris has won Tufts University’s Presidential Award for Civic Life. 

Elana McDermott received one of the American Psychological Foundation's 2016 APF/COGDOP Graduate Research Scholarships.

Elise Murray has been selected to be a participant at the University of Chicago’s prestigious and highly selective summer seminar for young scholars 

Jessica Pappagianopoulos and Sarah Coburn are presenting at Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference "Medical Encounters for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review of Environmental Considerations and Interventions."

Judith Scott recently accepted an offer to join the BU School of Social Work as an assistant professor in fall, 2017.

Elizabeth Shuey was recently featured on the SRCD website for her social policy post-doc fellowship.

Natalya Zaika received funding through the GSAS Graduate Student Research Competition for a qualitative research project on community resources for Latino youth in STEM.

Emily Zhang and HeeJae An presented at the Graduate Research Symposium: "Neighborhood Matters: Understanding Adolescent Mental Health in a Community Context."


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Barbara Litman

Barbara Litman

In Memoriam — Barbara Littman

We mourn the passing of Barbara Kagan Littman, devoted alumna and, for many years, supportive of the Department. Barbara had a highly successful career as an architect, designer and teacher of interior design. Her strong aesthetic sense and love of the arts were central in her life. 


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Alumni Stories

Send Us Your Story

In the last issue of the EP News we did something different than we did before — we put together a much, more extensive list of alumni news and alumni stories, one that filled us in about the lives of a great many. We would like to do this again, not in this issue, obviously, but in the next issue.  Please send your news and stories to George.scarlett@tufts.edu and make others who know you happy for being “caught up” with your news.

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