Curry Education Research Lectureship Series Spring 2017

For the current Curry Education Research Lectureship Series, please visit our website.


Spring 2017

Quality Thresholds, Features and Dosage in Early Care and Education Settings: Initial Exploration and Implications 

Marty Zaslow, Director of Office for Policy and Communications, Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)
Friday January 27th 2017, 11:00-12:30 PM  


Bio: Martha Zaslow, Ph.D., is Director of the Office for Policy and Communications of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and a Senior Scholar at Child Trends. As Director of the SRCD Office for Policy and Communications, Dr. Zaslow directs the SRCD Policy Fellowship program, facilitates the dissemination of research to decision- makers and the broader public, and keeps the SRCD membership apprised of social policy and science policy developments related to children and families. As a Senior Scholar at Child Trends, Dr. Zaslow conducts research focusing on professional development of the early childhood workforce, and approaches to improving the quality of early care and education.  


The Science of Hope and Why it Matters for Children and Families in Poverty

Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., CAS, Psychologist, Author, and Motivational Speaker
Friday February 24th 2017, 11:00-12:30 PM 
Sponsored by Youth-Nex

Bio: Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., CAS has devoted her career to addressing the challenges of low-income and minority children and families.  From her early work as an educator to her current role supporting biomedical and behavioral sciences research, Dr. Maholmes calls attention to the short and long term psychological and health consequences of experiencing adversity early in life.  

Dr. Valerie Maholmes completed her Ph.D. at Howard University and was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center in the School of Medicine.  Upon completion of her post-doctoral training, she joined the faculty at the Yale Child Study Center.  After serving in numerous capacities including Director of Research and Policy for the Comer School Development Program, she was awarded  the Irving B. Harris Assistant Professor of Child Psychiatry—an endowed professorial chair in research and social policy.  She served two terms on the New Haven Public School Board of Education and was elected Vice-President/Secretary.  She also served as a minority visiting faculty at the Indiana University School of Education in Bloomington, IN. 

In 2003, Dr. Maholmes earned a sixth-year degree in School Psychology with a concentration in neuropsychological and psychosocial assessments from Fairfield University.  In that same year, she was awarded the prestigious Science Policy Fellowship sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS).  She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, lectured and through her work at the NIH has funded research and programs on factors that influence the health and development of low-income, minority children.  Notably, Dr. Maholmes co-authored a text on applied child development research published by Taylor and Francis, Psychology Press in 2010 and a comprehensive volume about the intergenerational effects of poverty titled Child Development and Poverty published by Oxford University Press in 2012.  This work was followed by a text titled Fostering Resilience and Well-being in Children and Families in Poverty:  Why Hope Still Matters published in February 2014 also by Oxford Press.  With her most recent book titled Post Dramatic Relationship Syndrome: How to Find Your Drama-Free Zone , Maholmes' joins the global network of independent book authors and uses her platform to call attention to the ways in which relationship dynamics have an impact on women's emotional wellbeing and overall health.

Abstract: This talk will review the factors that promote hope and resilience in poor children and families and will explore the focal question: 'Are We Wired to Hope?'    Case studies will be presented of individuals who experienced adverse events in childhood, but seem to fare well despite their circumstances.  The session will conclude with a discussion on the 'cost of resilience' and evidence-based strategies that help families manage the day-to-day complexities of their lives and achieve their most fundamental goal of providing a better life themselves and for their children. 


Natural Mentoring Relationships: Why They Matter and What We Can Do To Encourage Their Formation

Noelle Hurd, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia
Friday March 3rd 2017, 11:00-12:30 PM
Video of this talk is available online


Bio: Dr. Noelle Hurd has a scholarly background in clinical psychology, public health, and education. She has a primary appointment in the University of Virginia (UVA) Psychology Department (specifically, in the clinical and community psychology areas). She also has an appointment in the Curry School of Education and is a faculty affiliate of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at UVA. Her research agenda has primarily focused on the promotion of healthy adolescent development among marginalized youth.  Specifically, her work has focused on identifying opportunities to build on pre-existing strengths in youths’ lives, such as supportive intergenerational relationships. Using a resilience framework, she has assessed the potential of nonparental adults to serve as resources to marginalized youth, and she has investigated the processes through which these relationships affect a variety of youth outcomes (e.g., psychological distress, health-risk behaviors, academic achievement). Currently, she is investigating the role of contextual factors in promoting or deterring the formation of intergenerational relationships and shaping the nature of interactions between marginalized youth and the adults in their communities. She also is further examining the mechanisms that drive the promotive effects of natural mentoring relationships and developing an intervention focused on enhancing positive intergenerational relationships between adolescents and the nonparental adults in their everyday lives. She runs the Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development (PHAD) Lab at the University of Virginia. She is a current William T. Grant Scholar and a Spencer/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2015, she was recognized as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. She has published her research findings in a host of journals including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, the American Journal of Community Psychology, the Journal of Research on Adolescence, and the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Her research is currently funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences (U.S. Department of Education), and the National Science Foundation.

Abstract: Using a resilience framework, my research to date has demonstrated the potential of natural mentoring relationships (i.e., naturally-occurring, supportive, intergenerational relationships between youth and nonparental adults) to influence positively the psychosocial outcomes of adolescents and emerging adults. This presentation will focus on current and future directions of my research. These directions are guided by the following primary research questions: 1) What are key moderating and mediating factors that determine the success of these relationships in promoting more positive developmental outcomes? 2) How do the broader contexts within which youth are situated influence the formation of natural mentoring relationships? and 3) How can we intervene to encourage the onset of natural mentoring relationships among youth who are lacking these supportive ties? 


Pathways from Research to Policy: Implications for Researchers

Cynthia Coburn, Professor of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University
Friday April 14th 2017, 11:00-12:30 PM 
This lecture is also the keynote for the Curry Research Conference (CRC)
Video of this talk is available online

Cynthia E. Coburn is professor at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. She specializes in policy implementation, the relationship between research and practice, data use, and scale up of innovation. She has studied research use in schools and districts since 2002, including co-directing a six-year cross-case study of innovative approaches that reconfigured the relationship between research and practice for educational improvement (with Mary Kay Stein), a study of research-practice partnerships in three urban districts (with William Penuel), and a study of the role of research in school-district policy making in four urban districts (with Jim Spillane). She serves as co-Principal Investigator of the IES-funded National Center for Research in Policy and Practice. In 2011, Coburn was awarded the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association in recognition of her contributions to the field of educational research in the first decade of her career. In 2015, she was elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, honoring “exceptional contributions to and excellence in educational research.” Coburn has a BA in philosophy from Oberlin College, and a MA in Sociology and a PhD in Education from Stanford University.

Abstract: In the last decade, there has been renewed interest in how policy makers in various fields use research in their decision making. Researchers wonder why some research ends up being influential in policy making while other research does not. Funders want to find ways that their investment in research can be more influential. Advocates argue that policy makers should be using the best information available to inform consequential decisions, especially when it affects children and youth. In this talk, I discuss what we know as a field about the ways in which research informs policy making. Rather than taking a normative stance, I discuss the nature of decision making in public agencies and the ways in which research enters into these practices, and the role of researchers and research-practice partnerships in these processes. I illustrate the discussion with evidence from my own studies of instructional decision making in urban school districts. I discuss implications for researchers, paying particular attention to new ways of conceptualizing the relationship between researchers and policy makers.

Former Lecturers