Dr. Gigliana Melzi
Gigliana Melzi, PhD is an Associate Professor of Applied Psychology at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and an Affiliated Faculty at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU. Dr. Melzi was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She came to the United States in 1985 to pursue her undergraduate degree at Clark University, where she double-majored in Spanish literature and psychology. She continued her studies in developmental psychology, focusing on language development, at Boston University, where she obtained her PhD in 1998. Her work has focused on the early literacy and language development of Spanish-speaking Latino children living in the United States and in their countries of origin. In one line of work, Dr. Melzi has conducted studies on various discourse and linguistic features of Spanish-speaking mother-child dyads from non-immigrant and immigrant Latin American families across various socio-economic groups. Her work on parent-child storytelling and book sharing practices, for instance, has shown that Latino parents from diverse socio-economic backgrounds are particularly sensitive to the larger narrative context, adopting styles that use diverse conversational roles. This approach is very different from what is found with parents from U.S. mainstream cultures who tend to use the same style across contexts, always encouraging child participation. In a more recent line of work, Dr. Melzi has examined the unique ways Latino parents support their preschoolers learning and development. Dr. Melzi and her colleagues have developed and validated with over 1000 families a new measure of family engagement for Spanish and English speaking Latino families of preschoolers. Her work has uncovered four dimensions of Latino family engagement that correspond to larger cultural practices and beliefs, as well as to the reality of being a Latino immigrant parent in the U.S and that are related to children’s school readiness skills. Dr. Melzi’s latest work has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, National Institute of Health, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, the Brady Educational Foundation, and the Brooke Astor Foundation.
Dr. Adina Schick
Adina Schick is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Dr. Schick’s work to date has focused on cultural variations in children’s language, literacy, and narrative development, with a particular emphasis on the individual and combined contributions of the home and preschool contexts on these school readiness skills. Her research has probed the role of continuity in home-school book sharing practices in supporting low-income Latino Head Start children’s emergent literacy development, and highlights the importance of promoting parents’ use of culturally-relevant practices. As a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at NYU’s Child and Family Policy Center, she worked on the creation of a Common Metric to link the three most commonly used preschool assessment tools, and has helped develop and supervise the implementation of a large intervention aimed at professional development of early childhood educators throughout New York City, as well as from across New York State. Dr. Schick’s research has been funded by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families as well as by the Brady Educational Foundation and the Brooke Astor Foundation. She received her doctorate in developmental psychology from the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University in 2012.