Two Curry Post-Docs Win AERA-SRCD Early Career Fellowship in Early Childhood Education, Development

In a joint collaboration, American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD) have announced their early career fellowships in early childhood and development, and two Curry School of Education post-docs have been selected.

Anna Markowitz, a post-doc at EdPolicyWorks, and Arya Ansari, an IES post-doctoral fellow at CASTL, are being recognized for their early childhood research background and skills. They are part of the inaugural cohort for this award that provides a collaborative opportunity for early career scholars to participate in a research network focused on early childhood education and development.

"The fellowship will provide an invaluable opportunity to build collaborations with scholars with similar interests but varying expertise," said Markowitz. "I am honored to be selected, and look forward to this opportunity pushing my research forward and hopefully early childhood research more broadly."

Currently, Markowitz is working on a variety of projects related to early childhood, including research probing the assumptions underlying popular early childhood policies and the potential unintended consequences of these polices, as well as work that explores how the early home environment, and particularly food insecurity, may influence children's school readiness. 

"To advance the field, we need to work across teams, organizations, and silos," explained Ansari. "We need to share ideas with one another so that we can understand how best to invest in our youngest children, and ultimately this fellowship does just that."

At this time, Ansari is working on a variety of projects geared at understanding the underlying reasons why early childhood programs may or may not have long-term benefits for children, with a growing focus on children's subsequent educational experiences.

"I am excited to be a part of this inaugural group of early childhood scholars," said Ansari.

Markowitz and Ansari are also collaborating on a project exploring patterns of teacher characteristics, classroom activities, and student growth in Head Start over the past 15 years, during which substantial policy changes were made to the program. The research should inform broader dialogue in the early childhood field around how these programs are changing, and how regulatory policies impact early childhood settings.

"It is a real honor to have two of our early career scholars selected for this fellowship," said Robert Pianta, Dean of the Curry School of Education and founding Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). "This award recognizes the quality research happening here in early childhood and development, and the power of our cross-discipline work."

Markowitz and Ansari will receive travel support to attend and present at two professional conferences this spring as part of this fellowship.


EdPolicyWorks is a joint collaboration between the Curry School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. EdPolicyWorks brings together researchers from across the University of Virginia and the State to focus on important questions of educational policy and implications for the workforce.

The Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) is an interdisciplinary research center situated within the Curry School of Education. The center provides leadership on effective teaching and learning through scientific study in educational settings from infancy to higher education.