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McNair Scholar 2017Fralinda Zazay

Fralinda Zazay is a fourth-year student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She will be graduating in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She holds multiple leadership positions from volunteering, to executive and regional positions in student groups and Greek life. After graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school to study child psychology.

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My dream is to help disadvantaged children learn how to cope with life stressors and achieve their goals, with the hopes that they will prosper and help to uplift the communities they come from.

Research project

Resilience in Children Experiencing Homelessness: Does Preschool Attendance Predict Later Academic Success?

Abstract: This study examined whether preschool attendance was related to later academic success among children staying in a shelter for homeless families. Research on this topic is imperative for addressing inequality and achievement disparities observed among children experiencing homelessness. Prior research suggests that early childhood education fosters school readiness, particularly for children from high risk or marginalized backgrounds. Data were drawn from two studies conducted in the same shelters, including 216 children ages 4-6 and their caregivers. Parents reported on preschool experience during a shelter stay and after the children entered kindergarten or first grade, their teachers reported on school adjustment. The hypothesis that attending preschool for at least a year would relate to better school outcomes was not supported. The level of risk for these students may overwhelm effects of preschool or it may be important to consider the quality of preschool education. Additional research is needed to inform efforts to promote school success among children experiencing homelessness. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Ann Masten, Ph.D. is a Regents Professor and the Irving B. Harris Professor in Child Development in the Institute of Child Development. A graduate of Smith College, she completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Minnesota. She is internationally known for her research on resilience and she frequently gives talks around the world. She has authored numerous publications on resilience and also offers a free MOOC (mass open online course) on resilience to global participants. She has served as Director (chair) of the Institute of Child Development, President of the Society for Research in Child Development, and, for the U.S. National Academies, as Co-Chair of the Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally and a member of the Board of Children, Youth, and Families. This world renowned scholar is also an extraordinary mentor, story teller, and compassionate human being.