Associate Professor of Cognitive Development
Melissa's research interests center on memory development, particularly memory for personal experiences. She has been exploring how parental verbal support may contribute to children's ability to recall the past.
In addition, she is interested in how emotion may affect reports of past experiences and how parents and children talk about these events.
She is currently examining autobiographical memory from a cross-cultural perspective to study how different socialization experiences may relate to the detail included in memory reports.
Social relationships and social understanding are important parts of our lives from infancy onward. In this course, we will explore the developmental significance of parent-child and peer relationships from infancy into childhood and adolescence. We will also discuss children's understanding of theory of mind, gender, emotions, and self. In particular, we will focus on age-related changes in these skills and how they impact social relationships. We will also consider cross-cultural difference in patterns of social behavior. Evaluation will be based on participation, a series of short papers, and a longer final project. Students will read research articles and be responsible for class presentations.
The majority of adults are able to read fluently. However, when children learn to read, the process is dependent on a number of skills and requires a great deal of adult guidance. In this course we will discuss the cultural importance of literacy across societies and throughout childhood. We will focus on the development of the complex skill of reading, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and higher-order processes that contribute to decoding and text comprehension. Because instruction can play a determining factor in children's acquisition of literacy skills, we will study early reading materials and examine strategies that are employed in the classroom to facilitate the acquisition of these skills. Evaluation will be based on class participation, a series of short papers, and a longer final project.
This course will prepare students to become peer mentors for the Knowledge Commons. Although there is some mentoring this semester as assignments in the course, students must be willing to commit to being peer mentors in the Fall of 2019. We will engage research on student learning and the value of mentoring relationships, explore how to facilitate learning in these relationships, develop an understanding of what it means to be in a mentoring role, and observe and learn from mentors in action. In smaller groups, students will apprentice as mentors for a specific Knowledge Commons program, choosing among: Gallery (curatorial and installation support), Holistic Learning Program (help students respond to a desire for academic self-improvement through support with academic tools and strategies, goal-setting, and problem-solving), Library Media Labs (media production and maker space support), Quantitative Resource Center (peer tutoring in mathematics, statistics, and coding), or Research and Technology (support with research and technology use for academic projects).