Expert Answers to Emerging Scholar Questions

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Discover answers and advice from social science experts who answered questions from early career and graduate school scholars. Answers to questions on this page range from ways to find an academic or non-academic job, to methodologies for conducting Hispanic family research, to journal publication. If you don’t see an answer to your question below, please feel free to ask our experts by tweeting your question to #EmScholars. We’ll respond as soon as possible.

Please see information on our list of experts after the answers to your questions.

Question: I have a high teaching load on top of service demands. How do I carve out time for research in a teaching institute?

Agustina Laurito

I have a writing group and it has been a great way to stay accountable and make sure I have protected writing time. We are on Zoom and it still works. I block research time on my calendar. It may seem obvious to others, but I wasn’t doing this until a senior mentor suggested it. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Some weeks there is more time than others, but at the end of the week even if I only got a couple of hours of research done, I feel good about it.

Julia Mendez

This is a challenging situation. Mark off the writing time and try and write 30 minutes every day. There are free webinars at National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development  about this. Talk to your chair about your writing goals, and get their support or buy-in. Maybe you can teach 2 sections of the same course to minimize preparation or get some assistance with grading so you can meet your writing goals.

Minimize new preparations, think about online teaching which may be more flexible with your schedule and give you that time you need to write. Collaborate. Writing with someone else lessens the load on everyone.

Write about your teaching, there are some great ways to feature your pedagogy in publications, so maybe this can be a strategy. Recognize demands on your time and figure out how to put research time into your schedule so it doesn’t get taken away from you. Try to say no to extra service.

Colleen Vesely

Find synergy between your research and teaching by studying an aspect of your courses or using your research to inform your teaching. Seek out collaborations with other scholars at your home institution or at other institutions. These can be new projects or joining a project that is underway. Try to negotiate within your teaching load limited new preps, smaller sections, teaching multiple sections of the same course, and teaching experiential learning courses.

Seek out grant opportunities through collaboration with other scholars or independently to “buy out” a course or two and release yourself from teaching. Seek mentorship and advice from others in your department or college with similar teaching loads, who are successfully engaged in research.

Be planful and have strong boundaries regarding your time. Consider the percentage of your time that should be spent teaching based on your contract, consider that number of hours across a week and how to stack these hours on 3 or 4 days. Set expectations for your students regarding when you and will not answer emails/meet with them/ have their assignments graded. Institute an “ask three, then ask me” policy in your courses. Create a semester work plan, starting with your scholarship goal for the semester, and work back to create weekly plans, being realistic about how much time each week you can dedicate to research given your teaching load.

Question: What are the key components of a strong grant application?

Koraly Perez-Edgar

For a strong grant application you should clearly explain the problem and describe why it is important. Remember there are a lot of important issues that need to be addressed, convince reviewers that your issue should be near the front of the line. Explain why you are the team to tackle this issue. You can draw on your prior work, current training, or note how you will be trained while doing the work. Show that the work is feasible. Do not propose a million dollar study on a $100,000 budget. Let them know that you have all the intangibles and resources in place to support the work that will emerge with grant support.

Have multiple people reviewed the grant? People who know your subfield will catch important details. People removed from your research area can report back if they follow the argument and can see the big picture issues. Remember that a grant reviewer is a highly trained individual but may not be an expert in your specific sub-field. Give them the tools they need to understand your work and how you will carry it out. Remember that grant reviewers are tired. Make it easy on the reviewer. Write clearly with easily followed (short) sentences. Add a figures or tables to synthesize information. Add subsections and subheadings throughout. Finally, when useful, point the reviewer to specific sections with more details or that build off each other. Allow some white space on the page so that reviewers can rest their eyes.

Agustina Laurito

Make sure you read and understand the RFP and show that your project is great and a good fit. Write clearly and in a way that non-experts can understand and highlight why your project is important. This is a fantastic resource regardless of your specific field.

Question: I’m starting to work on my dissertation proposal, and I am looking for population-level datasets that have large Latino sample sizes. What data sources are available? Where can I find publicly available datasets?

Krista Perreira

There are many excellent sources of population data on the Latino population in the U.S. One great place to start is the American Community Survey produced by the U.S. Census Bureau, The National Center for Health Statistics also has several sources of data like the National Health Interview Survey, IPUMS also is a great place to access several different datasets. For a recent review of data available on Latino children, check out this article.

Question: How do you negotiate tenure roll-backs and maternity leave with your chair/dean?

Melinda Gonzales Backen

In my experience, most policies are pre-established and challenging to change. Because of that it is important to ask questions about them before you take a job. You can search on the university’s website and/or contacting someone in HR with your questions. HR will not discuss your questions with anyone within the department.

Important questions you should consider are: Is there paid parental leave? If relevant to who does this apply? (Fathers, mothers, birthing parent only, adoptions)? If your spouse or partner is in academia, can they take leave for the same child? What are the requirements for taking leave (e.g., time in job, time with the university after leave, accrued sick leave)? Can you take prenatal leave for multiple children? Can you take a tenure extension for multiple children? What are the policies and expectations related to that extension? Can you take a tenure extension without leave and vice versa? What is the timing of leave? At many universities it is by semester, rather than based on when you have your baby.

Lisa Gennetian

Be well informed about precedent and university rules and guidelines. Find internal champions who are senior scholars, then speak to your dean.

Colleen Vesely

Some institutions, including my university (George Mason), have tenure clock stoppages as well as releases from teaching for new parents are faculty. In addition, these tenure clock stoppages can be used if a family emergency happens. Having these sorts of policies is important because it lessens the inequitable treatment of parents seeking leave across the university.

When first interviewing at an institution it is important to ask about formal leave and tenure clock stoppage policies. You can ask administrators or HR about the details of the policies; however, it is also important to ask faculty at varying levels about their experiences with parental leave and general institutional supports for faculty who are parents.

Once at the institution, it is important to understand the policies, as well as how the policies are being implemented and experienced by faculty across the university.  Seek out tenured allies to help navigate the process and conversations with your Chair or Dean. Not only can they guide you, but they can join the actual conversations as an ally and advocate.

If there are not robust parental leave policies and supports at your institution, be part of the change. When I was a junior faculty member, I was part of a group, spear-headed by tenured faculty members, that was instrumental in building parental leave for faculty at George Mason.

Question: How to incorporate community service into your service load and get recognized for it (very tricky at the junior level depending on your field of study)?

Colleen Vesely

Align any community work with your scholarship and/or teaching — that is, find synergy between your scholarship, teaching, and service. Write or publish articles related to your community service or incorporate what you are learning from your community service into your teaching.

Engage in an approach to research that includes a form of community service, like CBPR which includes both research and action/advocacy with communities. Build collaborative working relationships with colleagues who share your values and commitment to working in communities and meeting the benchmarks of academia related to scholarship and teaching.

Question: What is the job application and interview process in non-academic jobs?

Marianne Bitler

For interviews, most places I am aware of follow the same process that academic places do. For academic positions they screen at the ASSA meetings and then follow up with flyouts. Some non-academic jobs might have coding tests or have shorter talks. or government jobs you apply through USA jobs and fill it out comparing yourself to the general population, thus you are an expert. Think Tanks are more like the academic process, they are trying to assess which projects you could fit into. One common theme is that your ability to work with others may be more important than for some academic jobs.

Question: How to communicate research with the public and/or participants?

Daniel Lichter

Public engagement and outreach are more important than ever. At your university, connect with the media relations office, which acts as a liaison to local, regional, national, and international media organizations. They will help you distribute your research, prepare press releases, and provide training for writing and placing op-eds.

Question: How can you develop cross-cultural or international research with Latino population?

Gigliana Melzi

Find research partners in the Latin American country of interest, professional conferences like SRCD can help make initial contact. Present at a Latin American University or invite Latin American researchers to your university. Find small grants that fund international collaborations.

Question: What is the difference between T and R grants?

Koraly Perez Edgar

T grants are given to a school/Principal Investigator to help support the training of graduate students, postdocs, Research Assistants, etc. T grants revolve around a theme, often building on expertise already in place at the training site. There will be a structured training system in place for all of the individuals support by a T grant. The T PIs will have a group of mentors in place to link to each of the trainees Trainees are supported by the T grants and this support can be very competitive and prestigious, but they are not the PIs of the grant.

R grants are research grants provided to a PI to carry out a specific grant. R grants typically do not have a training component and are most often awarded to PIs who are established (e.g. already in a faculty position) F grants are training grants, like T grants, but they are awarded to the specific trainee. The trainee is the PI of the grant. For an F grant, the training component is designed by and specifically set up for the PI, in collaboration with their mentors. There is not the larger already-in-place structure you see with T grants.

Question: How does your university support students whom have been historically excluded? 

Juan Perdoza

UC Santa Cruz funds undergraduate research opportunities via fellowships for underrepresented students, I also use my research budget to hire students.

Question: What do you wish you would have known prior to going on the job market? interviewing for a job? Accepting a job offer?

Kevin Ferreira van Leer

I wish I knew more about the difference btw different types of institutions (e.g. R1, R2, teaching-oriented institutions) & what the tenure-track expectations are at each as well as what the nonacademic options are. To this end the Hispanic Center recently came out with a Guide on Resources for Social Science Students Navigating Graduate School & the Job Market that has fact sheets on postdocs, academic jobs & nonacademic jobs.

Another way to get this info is informational interviewing can be tricky but I wish I had done more of it with folks across the academic & nonacademic spectrum to learn more about what the day-to-day & expectations of different types of jobs are on job offers the advice will differ depending on the type of position/institutions (eg start-up packages). Reach out to mentors & people who recently went on the market for advice. Also seek out folks who share your social positions & have landed similar types of jobs.

On interviewing – become familiar with the faculty, chair & dean of your program. Be prepared to discuss research & teaching plans. Consider the inst’l context – for teaching-oriented how do you plan to conduct research at an institution w comparatively fewer supports.

On interviewing out of a doctoral program I found it hard to shift my frame as someone trying to prove my deservingness & scholarship to having to talk & see myself as a potential colleague. Making this cognitive shift can be difficult.

Koraly Perez-Edgar

Remember that departments are hoping to hire a colleague.  Like long-term colleague.  If it all goes well, you will be there for 10, 15, 20 years.  Show the committee & the faculty that you can sustain a career.

It’s OK to need mentoring.  Good departments SHOULD provide mentoring.  But, it takes a different form that working with a trainee.  You should be ready to.

Question: Are there options in academia for scholars doing research about Latin America (not restricted to Latinos in the US)? If so, where? 

Hispanic Center

A good place to start is this website, which lists institutions conducting Latin American Studies. This website could also be helpful.   

Question: What advice would you give to graduate students who relocated far from their families and are dealing with feelings of guilt? 

Gigliana Melzi

I relate so much! Thanks for this question. This is what I did and worked for me. Maintain contact with your family as much as possible. Share with your family your work and progress to keep them involved and connected. It’s a great way to practice sharing your work with diverse audiences! Go home as much as possible to keep you grounded. Find comfort in the fact that your success, despite the sacrifice, is your family’s and community’s success.

Question: How can one identify research labs —either independent or university based—who are studying issues affecting Hispanic populations at a national level? I would love to have that information available not only for work, but also as I assess opportunities for future learning. It’d be helpful to know which labs are nested within certain universities. 

María A. Ramos-Olazagasti

A good place to start is the NIH reporter, a catalogue of all NIH-funded projects. You can add search terms like “Hispanic”, “Latino”, “Latinx” and it will provide all funded projects that include those terms in the title, abstract, or project key terms.  You can further limit by state, award type, organization, PI, etc. This website is also a great place to look. Lastly this website is also useful.

Question: Do you have any suggestions for best methodological practices when studying undocumented LatinX/Hispanic families? Specifically to protect their identities. 

Colleen Vesely

Consider securing a Certificate of Confidentiality from NIH.  We have used this in our work with undocumented women from Central America. This provides additional protection for participants as it prohibits sharing identifiable, sensitive information. Issuance of these certificates, since 2017, are automatic for NIH-funded work. However, they can be issued for research that is not NIH funded, upon application.

In addition, think about using participatory methodological approaches like Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) such that undocumented Latinx families are helping guide the work through a Community Advisory Board, and thus further leading you in terms of protection of identities.

A practice we use on our data collection processes is to never gather first and last names of participants connected with their current address. Instead, we collect participants’ first name, initials of last name, the street that they grew up on back home, and year of birth. This information is what is linked to the ID number and kept in a password protected file.

Daniel Lichter

One approach in demography, especially for Mexican immigrants, is to use a residual approach that first identifies from official census sources all likely legal immigrants (e.g., high education, professionals) living in a particular state or county. Then, any observed difference between all Mexican-origin immigrants and all estimated legal immigrants is equal to the unauthorized immigrant population. For details, see the article “Can we spin straw into gold? An evaluation of immigrant legal status imputation approaches.” 

Question: Are there any specific journals you recommend in this area of research? 

Daniel Lichter

I have usually found the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies to provide compelling treatments of ethnicity and immigration around the world.

Question: What directions in research, practice, policy, etc. are compelling to you all? I follow much of your work but wonder what connections you all see as critical work for emerging scholars?

Daniel Lichter

In the U.S., research on “new destinations” in rural areas is an unappreciated topic.  Rural settlement patterns are highly concentrated, for example, in small towns with meatpacking plants, a vibrant hospitality industry (because of local amenities), or corporate or dairy farms. Each new destination is unique, providing great opportunities for ethnographic case studies and the basis for comparative studies of immigrant integration and ethnic conflict.

The big question is how the new second generation in rural areas is doing, in peer networks, in primary and secondary schools, and later when they decide to remain or leave for job or educational opportunities. For example, see Lichter, D. T., & Johnson, K. M. (2020). A demographic lifeline? Immigration and Hispanic population growth in rural America. Population Research and Policy Review, 39(5), 785-803.

Question: How to sustain mentoring relationships especially when people are busy or zoomed out?

Julia Mendez

Try and find multiple mentors, e.g., a mentoring team, so you aren’t going to the same people all of the time. Realize that busy people are often very effective within the context of multiple demands, so be clear about what your own needs are – even sending questions ahead of time can be helpful trick, so you can use your “face time” effectively. Create a peer group so that you can share tips you get with others from your senior mentors, and collectively you can share advice as you start out your careers. Peer mentoring can be really great, especially during graduate school and the postdoc years.

Colleen Vesely

I agree with Julie. My thoughts are that those who mentor typically find great joy and opportunities for learning within these relationships; still, recognizing the constraints on everyone’s time is important. So, have multiple mentors for different aspects of your career (and life), so you are not always calling on the same person.

Begin to notice the moments when you are most seeking mentorship (early in a new career endeavor, during promotion, when seeking a grant or new collaboration, etc.) and plan ahead for when and what you might need from a mentor. Ensure any mentor knows why you are seeking out their mentorship specifically, and once they have mentored you/ provided advice/ support/ etc. let them know how you have used their mentorship. Consider sharing your recent publications via email with your mentors just as an FYI. This will also help widen the reach of your work as your mentor may cite or share your work more broadly.

Marianne Bitler

I agree with July and Colleen. In addition, make sure you and your mentors have a clear sense of what both of your expectations are. Many official mentoring programs (e.g. run by professional organizations) have contracts. Take the initiative to set up meetings, not too often but not too infrequently. Try to meet in person when you can, even if just for a shorter period.

Question: How do I find the right journal for my manuscript? And do you have tips for a successful revision and resubmission?

Krista Perreira

First, look at the journals you cite in your references. Second, review the scope of the journals you are considering and make sure your article fits the scope. Finally, make sure that you format your article to the journal’s requirements.

For a successful revision, show appreciation for the reviewer’s review. Then, answer each of the reviewers’ concerns succinctly. Do not ignore a comment. If you will not make a suggested revision, then explain why matter-of-factly.

Koraly Perez-Edgar, Ph.D.

To find the right journal for your manuscript look at the articles you are citing that are core to your paper, the journals they were published in may be a good match for your topic! Look through the previous few issues of journals you are considering, do you see work that matches your paper tin topic, scale, or tone? Many journals have a specific “voice” and fill a niche in the publication world. There are online services that help suggest journals. For example, you can use the website.

For a successful “revise and resubmit,” list out every point from the editor and reviewers. Address every point, this doesn’t mean you agree with every point or make every requested change. If you do make a change, tell the reviewer what the change was and where they can find it in the revision.  If you didn’t make the change, make sure you justify why you did not do so and why it does not diminish the manuscript. Don’t sound defensive or truculent. This can be hard, but you want this to be a cordial conversation with the reviewer. You shouldn’t be trying to one-up each other.

Melinda Gonzales-Backen

In addition to asking for and taking your mentor’s advice, a great way to identify journals is to pay attention to where the papers you are citing were published. Those journals are likely to be interested in the work you are doing. Look through recent abstracts from the journal, this will give you a better idea of the focus and scope of the journal. Pay attention to content as well as methodology, some journals require things like longitudinal data whereas others may value a mixed methods approach.

For revisions, I create a table with the editor’s and reviewers’ comments on the left and how I addressed each on the right. When you write your response letter it is important to address each comment. In addition, I also include the actual text that is relevant to the comment to make it easy to find for the reviewers.

Question: What are the advantages of doing a postdoc versus starting a tenure track position immediately after graduation?

Krista Perreira

A postdoc gives you time that is protected from teaching and is focused on research. A postdoc gives you time to publish and write a grant application, both critical to success!

Gigliana Melzi

A postdoc allows you to develop further your research skills and interests (and time to publish). It also diversifies your perspective on and experience in the profession (you are learning from other scholars). Finally, it widens your network of colleagues and collaborators.

Melinda Gonzales-Backen

Postdocs are advantageous because they provide you with dedicated research time. It is a great way to build up your publication record and pipeline to be more competitive for later academic jobs. Having a healthy publication pipeline is critical for getting an academic job, getting tenure, and getting external funding for your research. If you don’t complete a postdoc your first evaluation in a tenure tracking job is going to be evaluating how productive you were in graduate school due to how long it takes to publish a paper. Some postdoc awards are a great way to collect your own data. This gives you important experience and puts you in a great position to publish. However, postdocs are not a great fit for everyone. I chose not to do one because I did not want to uproot my family twice.

Koraly Perez-Edgar, Ph.D.

While doing a postdoc you will enhance your training in new areas, which may expand your scientific knowledge and skills and make you more competitive in the job market. You will also have more dedicated time for research than you will as a faculty member. The papers you write as a postdoc can help propel your research. Depending on the Principal Investigator, you can still work on papers after you end the postdoc. This allows you to show productivity even as you get your own lab/research up and running. Finally, a postdoc allows you to gain new skills that could help you decide if you want to take an academic or non-academic career path.

Question: I’m exploring non-academic career options. What are the main differences between academic and non-academic careers? How do I prepare for non-academic careers?

Krista Perreria

Academic careers engage in teaching, research, and service. Where as most non-academic careers do not require teaching.  For both academic and non-academic careers you should prepare by developing your research skills. You should get good at conducting either qualitative or quantitative analyses or both, writing and presenting research, and developing grant applications.

Juan Pedroza

Focus on what you want to accomplish in your career, regardless of the path. If you enjoy teaching & publishing research, academia requires both — although you can teach and publish whether you’re an academic. Pay varies tremendously by career, too.

Everyone of us has our own criteria we value. For me: PRACTICAL: what mix of things do I get to do? PERSONAL: where do I see spending my time with family & friends? MY INSTINCTS: which opportunities speak to me in tangible and hard-to-articulate kinds of ways?

Question: What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever received?

Lisa Gennetian

Focus on publishing in peer-reviewed journals, even if you are in a nonacademic position/job.

Juan Pedroza

The most useful piece of advice I have received is to find a career path where you’re excited to go to work — and to also cultivate robust autonomy (with family, friends, hobbies) from your chosen career path.

Julia Mendez

Take care of the people closest to you, and leave the rest of the burdens of your career until later, when you have potentially more security, influence and perspective. For me, this has always meant prioritizing my own students, close colleagues, and my family.

Daniel Lichter

Develop a thick skin, everyone’s research is criticized and often rejected. Learn from that rejection. A colleague once told me that “big shots” were just “little shots” that shoot a lot. Be persistent.

Question: What are the benefits and limitations of research comparing Hispanic populations against other racial/ethnic groups?

Melinda Gonzales-Backen

Comparing Hispanic samples to those of other racial/ethnic groups can give us important information, however you need to be very careful about how and why you take this approach. For one thing, to whom are you comparing Hispanic people and why? Often studies compare BIPOCs to white, middle class Americans in a way that implies that the later are norm. That implication is incredibly harmful.

Additionally, by taking a comparative approach you will capture less of the within group variation that exists among Hispanic people. As a pan-ethnic group, Hispanic people include many cultures with diverse histories with a variety of experiences and identities. Within group designs do a better job at capturing that.

All that said, comparative studies can be important for identifying meaningful differences. Those differences are important in informing applied approaches efficiently. For instance, it would be important to have evidence that you would need to adjust an intervention for a specific group or if what is established is appropriate.

Gigliana Melzi

Comparisons allow for cross-cultural similarities and differences to emerge; they also provide insight into the differential impact of measured variables on outcomes. Comparisons, however, obscure within-group variations and the heterogeneity of Latines (racial, socio-historical, linguistic). Comparisons do not allow for culturally-grounded constructs to emerge or diversity in the operationalization of the constructs. Comparisons might lead to essentialists views of culture; researchers need to be careful about their interpretations of results.

Daniel Lichter

Americas Hispanic populations is the largest ethno-racial population in America. It also is a disproportionately young population that will redefine America’s future for decades to come. However, it is also a difficult population to study and draw easy generalizations because it is highly heterogeneous – by race, generation, national origin, residence, and socioeconomic status.

Question: Besides NIH, what are other sources of funding?

Krista Perreira

There are many excellent government and nongovernment funding sources. Consider the National Science Foundation, the Department of Justice, and the Institute of Educational Sciences. All are sources of government grants. Many nonprofit foundations also offer grants. Consider the Russell Sage Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation.

Agustina Laurito

Foundations. For example, Russell Sage has two programs that I think are great for emerging scholars. One is focused on educational inequality and the other is the pipeline grants competition. They are small grants and it’s a good way to start and receive feedback.

Professional organizations. For example, the American Education Research Association  funds dissertation research and has a small grants program. The Society for Research in Child Development has a small grants program for early career scholars.

For professional development related to grants and grant writing, Russell Sage Foundation sponsors a Proposal Development Summer Institute. I participated last year, and it was great!

Julia Mendez

There is a wide array of sources, but some fields are better funded than others. For example the Institute of Education Sciences and National Science Foundation fund education related topics. Developmental studies could be funded by sources such as Foundation for Child Development or William T. Grant Foundation.

Look for grant programs that target early career scholars. Examples include Head Start and Child Care Dissertation Awards, or some programs like the Ford Foundation or Society for Research in Child Development have early career small grant awards. Show your grant objectives to others, and contact those who have been successful at a particular mechanism and ask to see copies of their funded grants. Most funded scholars will generously share their successful applications!

Lisa Gennetian

There are so many! Federal agencies such as NSF, OPRE, U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Energy. A few philanthropy organizations that haven’t been mentioned such as the Spencer Foundation,  the Hewlett Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are great places to look for funding.

Question: What led you to your current career?

Marianne Bitler

I was a math undergraduate major, with minors in physics and history. I started a Math PhD program, where I quickly realized that I wanted to do work more connected to the world around me. I signed up to take some economics courses in the Department of Applied Economics, and a professor there encouraged me to take a job as a research assistant so I could see if I wanted to go to graduate school in economics. I ended up working at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and then going to graduate school in economics. Throughout this, I have always been interested in the social safety net and how people form families.

Juan Perdoza

While working on my sociology Ph.D., after years of working in public policy research in DC, I had an opportunity to continue my research on social demography and immigration at UC Santa Cruz as a professor in the sociology department.

I started as a history and conflict studies double major in undergrad (humanities and social science) then moved to public policy (in a master’s program), worked for years honing my skills and interests, and then completed a Ph.D. program… that was my path from 1999 to 2018

Question: Do you have tips on how to build collaborations across institutions and tips on how to approach folks you want to write with but don’t know personally, only academically through reading their work?

Colleen Vesely

Don’t hesitate to reach out via email to let them know your interest in their work, desire to collaborate, and any ideas you have for collaboration. Invite them to be a part of a paper symposium as an author or discussant for an upcoming conference.

Seek them out at professional meetings, introduce yourself, and share what you see as synergy between your work. Even if there is no immediate collaboration opportunity that comes from these initial meetings, you have made a connection such that as they consider new writing opportunities you will be in their mind as a potential collaborator.



Agustina Laurito, Ph.D. (@la_agustinaAR), is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration at the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is an applied policy researcher who uses administrative and survey data and quasi experimental methods to answer questions at the intersection of social, education, and health policy. 

Colleen Vesely, Ph.D., (@colleen_vesely), is an associate professor of Human Development and Family Science and Early Childhood Education in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. Her work examines the experiences of diverse, marginalized, and minoritized young children and families.  

Daniel T. Lichter, Ph.D. (@LichterDT), is the Ferris Family Professor emeritus of Life Course Studies, in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. His recent work, focuses on changing ethnocidal boundaries, as measured by changing patterns of interracial marriage and residential segregation.  

Gigliana Melzi, Ph.D. (@GiglianaMelzi), is an associate professor of applied psychology at New York University. Her work focuses on the intersection of cultural and linguistic practices and their relation to children’s early development and learning, in particular that of dual-language learners from immigrant Latine/x communities.  

Juan Manuel Pedroza (@ijuanathesaurus), Ph.D., is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California Santa Cruz. He studies the changing landscape of immigration in the United States, he has examined the vast inequalities of immigrants’ access to justice, the social safety net, poverty, and segregation.  

Julia Mendez, Ph.D. (@DrJMSmith25), is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She has research and teaching interests related to the impact of poverty on the development of young children, parent involvement in children’s education, risk and resilience, and clinical interventions for ethnic minority children and families.  

Kevin Ferreira van Leer, Ph.D. (@DrKevinFvL), is an assistant professor in child and adolescent development at California State University, Sacramento. He studies social and cultural contexts that promote positive development, and liberation for immigrants of color and their families with an emphasis on how contexts influence the educational and caregiving experiences of Latinx immigrant families.

Koraly Perez-Edgar, Ph.D. (@Dr_Koraly), is a professor of child studies and psychology at Pennsylvania State University. She is interested in the relationships between temperament and psychopathology. In particular, children with the extreme temperamental trait of behavioral inhibition and shyness show increased risk for social anxiety. Her next projects examine the emergence of attention to threat in the first two years of life and use mobile eye-tracking technology to observe social behavior in young children.  

Krista M. Perreira, Ph.D., is a professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine as well as a faculty fellow in the Carolina Population Center. Her research focuses on the relationships among family, migration, and social policy, with an emphasis on improving health equity and eliminating racial, gender, and socioeconomic disparities in health.

Lina Guzman, Ph.D. (@linaguzman) , is a vice president of strategy and special initiatives and director of Child Trends’ Hispanic Institute. She is a family demographer and qualitative researcher, her substantive research focuses on reproductive health and union formation among minority teens and young adults, in particular Latinos.  

Lisa Gennetian, Ph.D. (@Gen_Pov), is a Pritzker Professor of Early Learning Policy Studies at Duke University. She is an applied economist who research straddles a variety of areas concerning child poverty from income security and stability to early care and education with a particular lens toward identifying casual mechanisms underlying how child poverty shapes children’s development.

Marianne Bitler, Ph.D. (@mpbitler), is a professor of economics at the University of California, Davis. She has expertise in public economics, labor economics, health economics and applied microeconomics. Her research focuses on the effects of government safety net programs on disadvantaged groups, economic demography, health economics, public economics, and the economics of education.  

Melinda Gonzales-Backen, Ph.D. (@DrGonzo_Backen), is an associate professor at the College of Health and Human Sciences at Florida State University. Her research focuses on the psychosocial well-being of Latino youth and families, specifically she is interested in how cultural stressors, cultural strengths, adolescent development, and family processes intersect to predict adolescent adjustment in the areas of self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and substance use.