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McNair Scholar 2010Elizabeth M. Ongeri

Elizabeth M. Ongeri is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in family social science with a business minor in human resources. Her research interests include couple relationships, parenting styles, and family resource management, particularly in immigrant families. Ms. Ongeri plans on pursuing her Ph.D. in family social science.

Elizabeth M. Ongeri photo
My dream is to research and apply what is learned from my research to help parents and children in immigrant families build strong relationships. I hope that obtaining a Ph.D. in family social science will give me an opportunity to teach and research the topics of parenting and family management in immigrant families.

Research project

School Readiness: Do Parenting Classes Make a Difference?

Abstract: Getting children zero to five to be ready for kindergarten is one of the state’s top priorities, given the widening achievement gap between racial/ethnic minority and Caucasian students. This study evaluated a parenting program that tries to get Lao children ready for kindergarten by working with Lao parents and grandparents on their parenting skills. Fifty-one parents and grandparents participated in three parenting classes for eight weeks. Results show that participants who took the classes have significantly changed their beliefs about pre-kindergarten children and become more involved in the monitoring of their children’s activities. The retrospective indicators revealed that, on average, 89% of the participants reported that they changed their parenting knowledge, confidence, communication, and techniques “a little bit” or “much more” compared to before they started the program. Implications of the findings and lessons learned from administering the program are discussed. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Zha Blong Xiong is an associate professor in the Department of Family Social Science in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. His research includes adolescent development in immigrant families, school readiness, and community engagement models on tobacco use in the Southeast Asian communities. He co-authored a highly respected research-based parent education curriculum called Helping Youth Succeed: Bicultural Parenting for Southeast Asian Families and serves on several organizations’ boards. Dr. Xiong is the first Hmong tenured professor at the University of Minnesota and has been mentoring McNair students for the past seven years.