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.
Katie is a first year Masters student in the Human Development and Social Intervention program at NYU. She is interested in how ethnic identity and socialization influence civic engagement for immigrants, as well as the role teacher professional development can play in transforming classroom settings. Upon graduation, she plans on working in a community-based setting and possibly pursuing a Ph.D in developmental psychology.
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.