A Project of the Child Trends News Service Supported by the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences

Advisory Panel

An advisory panel of experts contributes to Positive Parenting News Service in various capacities. The panel includes experts in child development, children and technology, dual language learners, education and special education, and communication science. The panel also includes a news professional, philanthropy partners, and practitioners who provide services to families and children.

Informal STEM learning/ communication science research

Brian Southwell, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in Communication and is an expert in the relationship between communication and human behavior. He currently serves as program director of Science in the Public Sphere at RTI International and holds professor positions at Duke University and University of North Carolina. His work has looked at public understanding, attitudes, and perceptions of the public on a variety of health and scientific topics. Dr. Southwell’s expertise informs our science communication research.

Federico Subervi, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in Mass Communication. He is an expert on issues related to mass media and ethnic minorities, particularly Latinos in the United States, and also on media and journalism in Puerto Rico, his home country. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Communication and is Honorary Associate/Fellow of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Subervi’s vast experience and expertise informs our science communication research.

Practitioners

Sandra Gutierrez is the founder and national director of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, the nation’s first evidence-based training program for Latino parents with children under age six. She has more than 40 years of experience with children’s advocacy and community service organizations: she founded the first service organization to assist Central American refugees, developed a series of training programs with Parents Action for Children to support children and families involved in the child welfare system, and was a founding member for First 5 California where she established the Advisory Committee on Equity. In 2014, the White House recognized Ms. Gutierrez as a Cesar E. Chavez Champion of Change for her contribution to Latino early childhood development.

Dana Suskind, M.D., is a Professor of Surgery and Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program at the University of Chicago. Inspired by research that shows the importance of early language exposure on the developing child, Dr. Suskind was inspired to create Thirty Million Words, an evidence-based initiative that helps parents enhance the home language environment to optimize their young children’s brain development. She is also the founder and director of Project ASPIRE, which supports disadvantaged parents of children with hearing loss in order to close the achievement gap.

Jenny Radesky, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School. Her research examines use of mobile technology by parents and young children and how it relates to child self-regulation, parent mental health, and parent–child interaction. Her clinical and medical-education work focuses on developmental and behavioral problems in low-income and underserved populations, family advocacy, parent–child relationship difficulties, and autism spectrum disorder. She was the lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statements Media and Young Minds in 2016 and Digital Advertising to Children in 2020.

Child Research Area

Linda Espinosa, Ph.D., is an expert in education research and dual-language learners. She has previously served as co-principal investigator for the Center for Early Care and Education Research—Dual Language Learners (CECER-DLL) at Frank Porter Graham CDI at the University of North Carolina; co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University; vice president at Bright Horizons Family Solutions; and as a school administrator and program director working with low-income Latino children and families in California. Dr. Espinosa’s extensive experience informs the child research area of the project.

Rosemarie Truglio, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist and the senior vice president of Curriculum and Content at Sesame Workshop, where she oversees the curriculum on which Sesame Street is based. She has been at Sesame Workshop since 1997 and has become an expert in curricula and media that inspire preschoolers and the adults in their lives to incorporate STEM concepts into everyday life. She brings her expertise in child research to the project.

Rachel Barr, Ph.D., was trained as a developmental and clinical psychologist in New Zealand. She has been director of the Georgetown Early Learning Project (ELP) since 2001. The ELP shows that babies, toddlers and young children pick up information from a variety of sources, from television, from books, from computers, from touchscreens, from siblings, and across contexts. She is currently a reviewer for peer journals including: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Infant Behavior and Development, Developmental Psychobiology, Developmental Psychology, Child Development, Infant and Child Development, among others.

Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her research in the areas of early language development and infant cognition has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and Human Development, and the Institute of Education. Kathy has a strong interest in bridging the gap between research and application. She was an investigator on the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, is on the Advisory Boards of the Boston Children’s Museum, Jumpstart, and Disney Junior.

Ann Segal, M.Ed., has decades of experience working on programs that serve low-income children and families, including 22 years at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ann led efforts to implement the proposed HHS childcare regulations; directed the Division of Children and Youth Policy at the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation; worked as a foundation senior manager focused on funding to advance policy issues related to low-income children and youth; funded the Abriendo Puertas evaluation; and currently consults with foundations and non-profits and serves on three boards focused on child welfare, foster care, and juvenile justice.

 

Education and Special Education Experts

Michael Yudin brings the expertise of a career spent advocating for equitable opportunities for educationally disadvantaged children and youth to his role as principal at The Raben Group. Prior to joining the firm, Michael worked on behalf of the Obama administration at the U.S. Department of Education for six years, serving the secretary in a number of capacities, including assistant secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and acting assistant secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

Chad Rummel, M.Ed., CAE, is the executive director for the Council for Exceptional Children, a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the educational success of children and youth with exceptionalities. Chad served as an educator for six years prior to a career working in professional membership associations. Chad has expertise in education initiatives, board and volunteer management, digital communications, events management, advocacy, and sponsorship/development initiatives. Prior to joining CEC, he held positions at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), the American Psychological Association, and the National Scholastic Press Association.

Philanthropy

Laura Speer brings her leadership in philanthropy to this project. For the last 13 years Ms. Speer has served as associate director of policy reform and advocacy at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she has developed expertise in the areas of early childhood and education philanthropy. At The Annie E. Casey Foundation Ms. Speer also serves as senior associate and coordinator for the national KIDSCOUNT network and has overseen the international KIDSCOUNT initiative to support the development of data-based advocacy projects across the United States and 12 Latin American countries.

Alejandro Villanueva is a Spanish-language business expert. He serves as the executive director of Televisa Foundation that addresses Latino education issues through innovative solutions. Mr. Villanueva is the founder and executive director of Posible Mexico, a program that supports entrepreneurs who strive to solve social and environmental issues and has vast business experience having worked with the financial sector, social projects, public philanthropies, and private organizations. He brings his business acumen and experience with Spanish-language organizations to this project.

Tracy Costigan, Ph.D., is the senior learning officer in the Research-Evaluation-Learning (REL) unit at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Dr. Costigan is responsible for leading organizational learning and coordinating institutional knowledge in support of effective and responsive strategies and programs. She has managed a research and evaluation portfolio related to creating healthier school environments and supporting early childhood development. Dr. Costigan has also supported research related to building community resilience, particularly in the context of achieving equity and addressing impacts of environmental change on health and well-being.

News Professional

Wayne Lynch is an Emmy award-winning media executive who brings more than four decades of innovation in local and regional television news and programming. Throughout his career, Mr. Lynch has held various positions from on-air reporter and anchor, television news manager, and vice president of news and programming at NewsChannel 8 in Washington, D.C. He is currently a part-time lecturer at the University of Washington, Tacoma. Mr. Lynch contributes knowledge and experience that he has acquired throughout his long career as a news professional.

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