As director of the playLab, Professor Astuto creates “spaces of reflection” for team members to explore their role as a community-based researcher. The core pillars of her mentoring approach involves addressing issues of social justice, power and privilege which emerge through scientific inquiry, as well as focusing on strong work ethics and productivity. With Professor Astuto’s support, the team works passionately and collectively towards the goals of the playLab while having fun along the way.
As director of Professional Development at the playLab, Cristina Medellin-Paz develops partnerships with organizations and creates research-based content to meet the needs of each community partner. As a developmental psychologist, her work focuses on school readiness and culturally relevant educational opportunities for ethnically and linguistically diverse young children living in an urban context. Her research interests center on identifying effective teaching strategies that support bilingual children in early childhood classrooms through play. Rather than focusing on the gaps in school readiness, her work takes a strengths-based approach to examine the role of context and culture in understanding how development unfolds within different settings. Through her professional development work, she applies a critical lens to identify and promote social justice.
Kalina is a Doctoral Student in the Educational Psychology program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her work takes a constructivist perspective to address educational issues in early childhood. More specifically, she is interested in learning trajectories and academic achievement in mathematics.
Olivia graduated in May 2018 with a B.S. in Biology Education from Steinhardt’s Teaching & Learning program. She is interested in research at the intersection of educational psychology and teacher practices in the science classroom. Olivia is currently teaching at a NYC public high school and pursuing a Masters in Supervision of Science Education.
James holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from Queens College, City University of New York. He has been a part of playLab since the fall of 2017. His interests include studying mental health counseling and working with at-risk populations to understand developmental theories through a clinical lens. He plans on to pursue graduate education next fall for Clinical Psychology. He speaks English and Spanish.
Paige is a senior in the Applied Psychology program with a minor in Economics at New York University. She has been a part of playLabNYU since September 2017. Passionate about education and social policy concerning women and children, she plans on going to law school in the future.
Anthony holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Hunter College, City University of New York. He has been a part of playLabNYU since the Fall of 2017. His research interests focus on ethnic identity development in children and adolescents, and he plans on attending graduate school to pursue a Master’s and a PhD in clinical psychology.