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McNair Scholar 2013Natisha Alicea

Natisha Alicea is a senior at the University of Minnesota, studying child psychology. She is most interested in studying parent-child relationships, including assessing the effectiveness of parenting programs, as well as working with community organizations and agencies to promote programs that support disenfranchised populations towards effective parenting. Natisha plans to pursue a dual Master's degree in Social Work and Public Policy, and later pursue her Ph.D. in Community Psychology.

Natisha Alicea photo
My dream is to affect change on a macrosystem level, where parents are provided with the resources and support needed for effective and healthy parenting. I long to see parents who thrive to be effective in their parenting techniques, and where children are safe, nurtured and loved. It is my belief that the home can either be a place where dreams are nurtured and valued, or where dreams never have the ability to live.

Research project

Parenting Education and Support for Imprisoned Mothers

Abstract: The number of incarcerated women in the United States increased by 25% between 2000 and 2007. Today there are more than 200,000 women incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails. Most incarcerated women are of childbearing age and approximately 6-10% of incarcerated women are pregnant when they enter prison. The current study examines incarcerated mothers' participation in a 12-week, prison-based parenting program. In particular, changes were assessed between the start and the end of the 12 weeks in participants' reports of parenting confidence and knowledge, levels of stress related to parenting, support received from other parenting and pregnant women, and support received from staff. After 12 weeks, participants reported significantly more confidence as a parent, t(38)=2.27,p=0.3 as well as receiving more support from other incarcerated mothers, t(38)=3.46,p<.001, and prison staff, t(38)=2.75,p=.009. The increase in women's confidence as parents and the support gained from other women by participating in the New Moms Group can be invaluable, as women in prison are among the most vulnerable women in society. Future research would benefit from incorporating objective measures of mothers' behavior such as systematic observations, as well as including reports by prison staff about the impact of the program Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Rebecca Shlafer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics (Division of Adolescent Health) at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Shlafer received her Ph.D. in child psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. Prior to coming to Minnesota, she received her Masters and Bachelors in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Most of her research focuses on understanding the developmental outcomes of children and families with multiple risk factors. Dr. Shlafer is particularly interested in children with parents in prison, as well as the programs and policies that impact families affected by incarceration