Professor and Associate Department Head
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1999
Dr. Mendez has research and teaching interests related to the impact of poverty on the development of young children, parent involvement in children’s education, risk and resilience, and clinical interventions for ethnic minority children and families. In 2001, she received a five-year federal grant to develop and test a preventive intervention designed to promote home-school connection and parent-child interactive learning for children attending Head Start programs. Her current research, also funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, is a three-year project examining parent involvement and barriers to school readiness for children from English Language Learner families.
Did you know?
Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the country, and states like North Carolina have experienced a 400% increase in Hispanic populations in the past two decades.
To foster awareness, and timely research, three investigators at UNCG have joined with a team of national experts in Hispanic issues, as part of the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families to form a hub of research to improve the lives of Hispanics across three priority areas
- poverty reduction and self-sufficiency,
- healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood, and
- early care and education
Dr. Julia Mendez Smith in Psychology, Dr. Danielle Crosby and Dr. Heather Helms, both in Human Development and Family Studies, are collaborating on a series of projects in priority area 3. This multidisciplinary team is committed to conducting high quality, impactful research, as well as mentoring the next generation of researchers who are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate training at UNCG.
The Center was established in 2013 with a $5.2 million, five year cooperative agreement from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families to Child Trends in partnership with Abt Associates and three university partners. They are: University of Maryland-College Park, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the Institute for Human Development and Social Change at New York University
The Center is grounded in a four-pronged approach:
- A programmatic and practice focus. The Center’s activities are driven by how research can generate new knowledge and inform programming and policy decision-making, and how to better support the well-being of Hispanic families.
- An applied focus. The Center will translate emerging research into recommendations for providers, programs, policymakers, and researchers.
- An asset-based framework. The Center will leverage strengths of the Hispanic community to provide opportunities for responsive and effective service delivery strategies.
- An eye on both national- and local-level issues. This is critical as many services are designed, delivered, and financed at the state or local level, and because the characteristics and needs of Hispanic families vary by region.
Watch this site for more updates on initial projects related to a better understanding of the access to early care and education for Hispanic/Latino children. Check out this blog post featuring some of the center members who presented cutting-edge research on approaches to diversity at the Society for Research in Child Development in March, 2015.
Also, please join our Linkedin Group for the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families to hear about the latest research on this population.